Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Custom Maple Tours at The Rocks Estate

On weekends during maple sugaring season, syrup lovers flock to The Rocks to enjoy the New Hampshire Maple Experience. But sometimes folks are passing through during the week and miss out on the fun.

A young visitor from Texas learns how to tap a tree.
To accommodate those mid-week visitors, we’re offering private custom Maple Tours at The Rocks. The tours started quite by accident, really, when a few people called last year looking for a maple tour during the week. They ended up getting a two-hour private maple excursion with Rocks Estate manager Nigel Manley, and a new adventure was born at The Rocks.

“The thing I like the best when I’m on vacation is usually something that happens by mistake. You manage to meet the owner of a place, or you run into people who are really enthusiastic and knowledgeable about something you’re doing, and you learn from them,” says Manley. “People want that happy coincidence, and these custom tours allow us to make sure they get it.”

During the custom-made private Maple Tours, small groups – generally 2-5 people – get the full Maple Experience – in a timeframe that meets their specific scheduling needs. While the program can be adjusted to accommodate each group, generally it includes a short video covering the intriguing history of maple sugaring, a discussion on how to identify and tap a maple tree, a visit to the sugar house to learn what happens there, exploring the interactive maple museum, and a sampling of maple syrup.

“Both my 9-year-old and my teenager loved our maple tour,” says Tara Edelman, whose family visited last week for a custom tour at The Rocks. “It was really fun and informative.”

Custom tour visitors leave with a half-gallon of maple syrup – and many happy memories. To help hold onto the latter, Manley sets up a Pinterest board for each group with photographs from the day.

While maple sugaring season is short-lived, the custom Maple Tour is available year round – even when the sap is not running and the sugar house is not in operation. “It’s really exciting for people,” says Manley. “Even if they get to tap a tree in October instead of March, that’s pretty cool for them if they’re coming from someplace where maple syrup is not a regular springtime ritual.”

Beyond Maple Tours, The Rocks offers custom experiential tours year round, covering topics from the Estate’s formal gardens and captivating history to the art and science of growing Christmas trees and informative wildlife adventures.

Custom tours are $250 per group for two hours (and the maple tour includes a ½ gallon of syrup). To learn more or book a tour, call The Rocks at (603) 444-6228 or email info@therocks.org.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

It's Maple Time!

We love winter at The Rocks Estate, but we’re also really excited to see the days growing longer, the sun making more regular appearances, and the sap buckets appearing on sugar maples around the property.

That’s right – its maple time! Maple sugaring season is always a favorite in this neck of the woods. Those buckets – and the more modern plastic tubing that reaches from tree to tree – are a sign that spring is on its way, and that our stores of maple syrup and sugar are about to be replenished!

A young guest helps tap a tree.
At The Rocks we love sharing the history, process, and pure deliciousness of maple season through our interactive New Hampshire Maple Experience. Visitors to the farm during maple season will hear about the long and intriguing history of this early spring ritual of the north woods, learn how to identify a sugar maple, and get a chance to tap a tree – the first step in collecting the sweet sap that is boiled down into maple syrup.

Other highlights of the Maple Experience include horse-drawn wagon rides through the estate and a visit to our working sugar house, where 4th-generation sugar maker Brad Presby shares an insider’s knowledge of all things maple.

The Maple Experience culminates in a syrup tasting, complete with a fresh donut to savor the sweetness, and a tart pickle for contrast. That pairing is as much a rite of spring’s arrival as buckets hanging from trees and smoke rising from the sugar house.

The New Hampshire Maple Experience comes to The Rocks Estate this year on March 14, 21-22, 28-29, and April 4. For more information, please call us at (603) 444-6228, visit the Maple Experience website, or check our online events calendar

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

2015 Spring Tours Begin March 14

The New Hampshire Maple Experience 2015 Spring Tour Dates are March 14, 21, 22, 28, 29 and April 4.
Join us at The Rocks for guided tours of our sugaring operation including horse drawn and tractor drawn rides, tap a maple tree with the group, tree ID, the history of mapling, tour the NH Maple Museum and sample maple syrup, pickles and donuts.  Find out more about this year's event here...



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

N.H. Maple Experience returns this summer, Springtime happenings at The Rocks

How sweet it was! Thanks to all of you who visited The Rocks during the 2014 New Hampshire Maple Experience. We hope you all had as much fun as we did learning about maple sugaring and exploring the farm.

If you missed the season – or just can’t wait until next year to return – don’t fret! Our self-guided New Hampshire Maple Experience returns to The Rocks July 1. The self-guided tour includes a walk along the Maple Trail and a visit to the sugarhouse and Maple Museum.

The Maple Trail begins at the main parking area of The Rocks and meanders along a grassy path through the forest, beside stone walls, and into the sugar orchard. Signs along the trail explain maple sugaring, from the earliest sugar makers and modern techniques to the tools of the trade and how to identify a sugar maple tree

The Maple Trail leads visitors to the sawmill/pigpen building, constructed in 1906 and artfully restored to serve as The Rocks’ sugarhouse and interactive Maple Museum, where visitors will learn more about the history and process of making maple sugar. (Read more about the intriguing history of The Rocks Estate here.) An arch between the sugarhouse and museum provides a stunning view of the Presidential Mountains.

There’s always something happening at The Rocks, and visitors are welcome in all seasons. Our trails are open daily, year-round. You’ll find more information about the trails here. We also host natural history discussions throughout the year, on a variety of topics. To see what’s happening, please check out our online calendar

We hope to see you soon at The Rocks Estate!