Tag Archives: tourism

Start to Thaw Out in the Enchanted Mountains of Western New York with the Annual Maple Weekends

Contributed by Cattaraugus County Tourism

People in a cafeteria area at maple weekends

[Image: Cattaraugus County Tourism]

Cattaraugus County has many tree-lined hills covered with maple trees. This makes March and April some of the best times of year. Why, you ask? Maple season! Time for some sweet, syrupy goodness! With all these beautiful maple trees around, you can bet that we have some of the best tasting maple syrup around as well as maple farms that range from family size to full-on, year ’round productions.

All of New York State shares in this splendid time of year when the world around us starts to thaw out and the sap starts to flow. Therefore, we devote two maple weekends each year to our maple farms. You can tour one of the participating farms, try samples, join in on fun activities, or just purchase some of this liquid goodness. So how does warming up with a hot pile of pancakes sound to ease the cold of winter?

March is the beginning of a season of tradition where local maple farms begin to tap the trees in hopes of some sweet sap flowing down into their buckets. The time period between winter and spring is best for collection, with temperatures around 40 degrees being ideal. Nowadays, trees are tapped with cordless drills and small plastic spouts are placed to run the sap into a hanging bucket. But technology is always changing the ways people do anything, exploding into this process as well. Some maple farms have intricate webs of tubing, going straight from the tree to the tank with vacuums to draw out that delicious sap. Each farm uses the same basic idea to get the sap, but have different techniques and processing systems to bring syrup to your table.

People in a cafeteria at maple weekends

[Image: Cattaraugus County Tourism]

During the maple weekends of March 19–20 and April 2–3 from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. each day, some of our maple farms open their sugarhouses, set out the samples, and invite all to share in their love of one of the sweetest products Mother Nature produces. This activity is great for families and is kid-friendly. So lose those winter blues by heading outdoors, learning about your surroundings, and thawing out with Maple Weekends!

Sprague’s Maple Farm in Portville

Offers wagon rides to their authentic old-fashioned Sugar Shack where they have delicious samples waiting for you to try! Have you ever tasted maple wine? Learn a little about the various grades of syrup, sample the different ranges, eat a maple donut, or just stand next to evaporator and take in the smell of boiling sap. You will be sniffing your coat the rest of the week! Starting out as a hobby over 30 years ago, this huge farm now boasts a restaurant serving all your maple favorites as well as free-range turkey dinners. Maple is used in almost every dish that is served, making anything you order sweet and savory.

Wright Farms in Farmersville

It’s worth a visit to see how they are able to manage 8,000 taps. Five generations of Wright’s have worked to maintain the tradition of producing maple syrup and maple products on the farm since 1840. In fact, one of those generations was inducted into the American Maple Museum’s Hall of Fame in 1978 for his contributions to the maple industry. Besides syrup, they make maple cream, which can be used as a topping for pancakes, waffles, french toast, hot cereal, fresh fruit, ice cream, and more!

Boberg’s Maple in Delevan

Known for their Maple Cream, visit Boberg’s for a tasty treat! Their process is more traditional, with older equipment adding to the charm of the Farm. Warm up to this family owned and operated business. Samples are available.

The Pancake House at Moore’s in Freedom

They’re still serving up “all you can eat” pancakes from January to mid-April! Their unique restaurant is also filled with a selection of antiques, including a washing machine, sleds, tools, chinaware, knickknacks, and other memorabilia. This year, they are offering wagon rides to the Sugar Shack, samples, and more fun! Discover why you will be travelling back to this Pancake House over and over again throughout the season.

Maple Glen Sugar House in Gowanda

About 40 miles south of Buffalo, they recently remodeled their sugarhouse. You can come in during Maple Weekends and see the evaporator at work, sample some goodies, and learn about their farm that started out 20 years ago and now takes care of over 4,000 taps! In the past, they had horse-drawn wagon rides, tours, and demonstrations as well as other food you can buy. See what surprises they have for you this year.

Bottles and decor at Cattaraugus County Maple Weekend

[Image: Cattaraugus County Tourism]

Whatever farm you decide to go to, admission is FREE and all are more than happy to welcome you to their sugarhouse with a sweet, warm aroma of heated maple syrup. Each farm takes pride in their product and are happy to be doing what they are. Come to Cattaraugus County and embrace our agricultural side—your stomach will thank you!

Are two weekends not enough? Then keep a heads up for the Franklinville’s WNY Maple Festival April 24–25—two days of pancake eating, craft items, a parade, and live demonstrations. Read more about these events and places on our website, or get more information by calling 1-800-331-0543 or emailing info@enchantedmountains.com.

Visit Acadia National Park This Year!

Rocky shoreline and girl walking in forest at Acadia National Park [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

Whether on the water or in the woods, there’s so much to see at Acadia National Park! [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

The state of Maine is affectionately known as “Vacationland.” Drive quite a-ways up I-95 North and you’ll reach the crown jewel of Vacationland: Acadia National Park. Acadia’s rugged beauty of craggy mountaintops, rocky beaches, and dense coniferous forest makes it an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. Here are a few must-see destinations within the park and some tips that’ll make your next visit to Acadia perfectly align with Maine’s state slogan, “The Way Life Should Be.”

Acadia was the first eastern national park, making it the oldest national park east of the Mississippi River. With so many granite peaks tucked inside the park, hiking is an immensely popular activity. A favorite hike is the short, but thrilling ascent to the top of The Beehive, which overlooks Sand Beach. To summit The Beehive, hikers scale exposed cliffs using iron rungs drilled into the rockface. Once at the top (and after you’ve caught your breath), set your camera to the panoramic setting so you can capture the far-reaching landscape of forest, ocean and mountains in all its glory.

Girl boulders up to the summit of Beehive at Acadia [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

Scramble up The Beehive for a thrilling adventure. [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

The park is also home to Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast and one of the first places in the United States to see the sunrise each day. To catch the sunrise and beat the crowds, make sure to set your alarm so you get there early. If you’re looking for a longer day hike, we recommend taking on the Bubbles, which offer arguably the most famous views in Acadia. Rising 700-800 feet above sea level, North and South Bubble overlook the picturesque Jordan Pond. On South Bubble, make sure to check out the Bubble Rock, a spherical, glacial erratic perfectly balanced on the summit’s edge.

See Acadia National Park from a sea kayak! [Image Credit: Tiffany Feldman]

See Acadia National Park from a sea kayak! [Image Credit: Tiffany Feldman]

With a number of well-established bike paths, biking is another excellent option for taking in the sights at Acadia. There are many options for affordable bike rentals in nearby Bar Harbor. The bike loop around Eagle Lake is mostly through forest, offering respite on those hot, sunny days. That being said, mosquitos and black flies tend to congregate in the shade, so wear bug spray in the spring and summer months. There are a few pull-offs along the route, perfect for snapping photos of the lake. If you’d rather be on the water, bring along a sea kayak or go through one of Bar Harbor’s kayaking outfitters. Acadia is just as beautiful off-shore, and kayakers get a unique perspective of the landscape. Out on the water, kayakers may catch glimpses of marine animals, such as seals.

In the summertime, head to Sand Beach, one of Maine’s most scenic beaches. It may be only 300 yards in length, but Sand Beach delivers enormous, southern views of the ocean. Just make sure to pack a sweatshirt. In New England, the Atlantic Ocean is notoriously chilly all summer long, and after that initial plunge, you may be scrambling back to shore to get warm.

Sandy beach at Acadia Maine with mountain [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

Don’t forget your camera! Here’s a shot of Sand Beach taken with a Holga camera. [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

The park can also be seen from the comfort of your car or truck. Carriage Road loops around the entire park, giving visitors access to scenic pullovers. If you’re strapped for time, this is the best way to see Acadia. We recommend pulling over at the legendary natural wonder, Thunder Hole. Depending on the tide and weather, massive waves and thunderous sound erupt from this tiny inlet. Take the walkway to the edge of Thunder Hole to see and hear for yourself! This pullover also offers great views of Otter Cliff, Sand Beach and Great Head.

Most of Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island, but portions of the park are scattered across Isle au Haut and parts of Baker Island, making them accessible only by boat. Since Acadia is a popular destination for summer tourism, those looking for more secluded camping spots should arrive at the national park’s campgrounds early. For early birds, quieter tent sites near the water may be available.

From your picnic table, take in the view of Jordan pond [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

From your picnic table, take in the view of Jordan Pond. [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

For good eats, we heartily recommend heading to the Jordan Pond House for a lunch out on the lawn. Taking its name from the pond it overlooks, this magnificent estate has been a dining tradition since the late 1800s. Start off your lunch with tea & popovers, followed by a bowl of the seafood chowder and a lobster. And don’t forget dessert! Since you’re in Maine, we recommend the Maine Wild Blueberry Sorbet. After lunch, stroll down to the lake or through the handsome gardens kept on the property.

A large schooner sails out of the harbor at Acadia National Park [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

A large schooner sails out of the harbor at Acadia National Park. [Image Credit: Jess Feldman]

Acadia National Park is a favorite escape for many summer tourists. If you’re looking for more tranquility, consider visiting the park closer to the off-seasons, such as late spring. And don’t forget to pack a camera! Photo opportunities abound within the park. Share your pics of Acadia with us on our Instagram and Facebook pages.

Stay tuned for the upcoming release of our new, free Pocket Ranger® National Parks Passport app!