Sunday, March 7, 2010

It's Sugaring Season!

A couple of weeks ago I posted about signs of Spring, one of which is sugaring season.  Here in New England and Eastern Canada we make maple syrup from the sap of the sugar maple tree. You can read more about it here.

The weather has finally started to cooperate and the sap is running. Last weekend the first of the sugarhouse restaurants opened up. So yesterday Trisha and I made plans to go to South Face Farm Sugarhouse.  I'd been salivating for weeks thinking about the waffle with blueberries and maple syrup that I'd have there. Since my lap band surgery, I have had lots of trouble eating breakfast, and usually manage to barely eat 1/4th of a waffle.  So we planned to go for lunch. I got up early enough to have a huge cup of decaf and a breakfast bar and get some housework done. When Trisha called and said she'd be right up, I took my book and sat outside in the sun. It felt so good when the wind was quiet! The sun was dazzling and the roof was dripping. We took off on our scenic ride to Ashfield.

Worried that it might be closed when we got there, I had an alternate plan. But there were cars in the yard and it was still open. We opened the door and went in. The front door takes you past the boiler, and the steam was rising furiously and escaping out of the roof vents. The smell of this steam is heavenly. Hopefully this is what clouds smell like, if I get to heaven!

There was no sign-up sheet, as they were not too busy on their first day. We got seated right away and perused the menu over hazelnut coffees. I ordered my long-awaited waffle with blueberries on top and Trisha ordered a waffle with bacon and eggs. We oohed and ahhed as food came out of the kitchen. It didn't take long for ours to arrive. I slathered butter into every hole in that waffle then smothered it in syrup. The blueberries covered the center and dyed it all purple.  That waffle absorbed the syrup and softened up to just the right consistency of butter, syrup and crispy cooked batter. Ahh, the first bite was Spring incarnate!  I very carefully chewed and chewed. Heavenly. Taking my time, chewing thoroughly, putting my fork down and resting between bites, I ate the whole thing! I was so happy.

The building looks like an old chicken coop to me. It is long and low and on a slight slant. They have whitewashed some of the interior walls and covered others with weathered barn-board. There are short gingham curtains on the windows. The room glows in the afternoon sun. The walls are hung with old kitchen or farm implements along with old pictures and posters of flora and fauna. The room gradually filled up with families with kids, older couples, friends getting together -- people from all over.  The waitresses were chatty and sweet. We could see someone walking around in the kitchen with an aluminum foil hat with horns on it.  The mood was easygoing and fun.

 After paying at the checkout counter, we looked over the displays in the "waiting" room, then we left for our ride.

All I have to do is look at Trisha and tilt my head north and she says "Let's go!" We drove through Shelburne Falls, Colraine and into Jacksonville, Vermont. There is a little store there we like to stop at. It smells like Patchouli and is filled with beads, peace flags, jewelry, incense, tarot cards, yoga mats, India bedspreads, "smoking paraphenalia," gemstones, smudge name it. The place takes us back to the Psychedelic Shop in 1968! We bought a few treasures and left to drive home a different way, (cause you gotta!) route 8A into Charlemont. Another little store, this one is the local bakery, deli, liquor and gift store. Another cup of coffee and a snack for the road. We chattered and laughed all day, making plans to go to Niagara Falls later in the year, telling stories about this and that. A lovely early Spring afternoon!

So, see? Spring is coming! The sap is flowing. Heaven is in the air!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this unique bit of Americana with us! It sounds so good my mouth is watering right now! I hope that one day I'm lucky enough to experience this one day.

  2. Oh~ I miss New England!! Thank goodness my mom lives in NY, or I would have to wait forever to get authentic maple syrup.
    Great pictures, as usual!! It was like we were right there with you!

  3. What a beautiful excursion! I love all the pictures.
    The last store you stopped by seems like a paradise to me. A scent of patchouli, jewelry and tarot cads? You would not be able to get me out of there.;)
    Have a lovely Monday,

  4. Your post and photos were wonderful! Makes me want to buy a ticket right now to visit New England. I closed my eyes and tried to smell Heaven with you..

  5. Wow! That sounds like a fun adventure you and Trish had!! You are such a gifted story teller, it felt like I was right there....except that I am still craving some good maple syrup and that tin foil hat ;)

  6. Your header is lovely. And South Face Farm looks like a wonderful place to visit. Yum! Waffles with blueberries. Looks like it was a beautiful day of friendship and weather. Many blessings to you, Tammy

  7. Crispy waffles, a little shop that smells like Patchouli, the vibrant colors of India, hazelnut coffee, and scenic drives all shared with a funloving friend - it just doesn't get any better than that! Wish I could have been there to share the day with you girls. Thank you for sharing your wonderful New England world with us...I am really enjoying it.

    A trip to Niagara Falls - I've always wanted to go...I must add this destination to my places to go list... blessings - Julie

  8. Waffles, REAL maple syrup, and an aluminum foil hat with horns on it? Sounds like my kinda place! :)
    Glad you had a great time, and soooo glad you brought us along, Sherry!

  9. What a great day, Sherry! Mmm, I can imagine the heavenly aroma of maple syrup being made. Along with the scent of coffee brewing, oh yeah. I'm proud of you for finishing that whole waffle :) DH and I would love to someday travel around Vermont/the NE and enjoy all the scenic routes.
    Thanks for sharing that. p.s. love the llamas pictured in your sidebar

  10. Oh yum! Now my mouth is watering thinking about waffles with blueberries and maple syrup! Is sounds like you had a wonderful day!

  11. Hi Sherry, so nice to meet you. Before I did my kitchen over it was yellow with the red accents. Yup we sound like kindred souls. At the very least, your down in Mass and I am up in Maine, we could be neighbors. I love maple syrup. We have Maple Syrup sunday coming right up, and there are 2 places right in town, just minutes away from my house, that will be doing an open house for the day. I can't wait. I am so glad that you are joining me on my journey into the wonderful world of blogging. By the way, of course you see my name is with the ie on the end. But when my mom was yelling for me, it would be the full Sherrie-Lynn. Have a good day.

  12. Reading about your waffle made my mouth water! :)

  13. Gosh, you all make me want to eat more waffles! Maybe I'll make some for breakfast tomorrow. My brother is boiling up some sap here at the house, and the taste is marvelous.
    Sherrie, My mom hollered SHARON ANN when she was mad, though with 3 younger brothers, she wasn't mad at me too often!
    Y'all have a lovely weekend!

  14. What a great place to visit, I love stuff and have a fair bit to spread around my place. Then you can never have enough either.


Please stop in and say Hello ~ I love to hear from you, my friends!