Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Create a self-guided Maple Experience this summer

Spring wildflowers
If you missed the New Hampshire Maple Experience earlier this spring, don’t fret! You can create your own self-guided Maple Experience this summer at The Rocks Estate. A walk on our Maple Trail leads you along old stone walls, through our sugar orchard, and to the sugarhouse and Maple Museum. Along the way you’ll spot wildflowers, birds, and mountain vistas.

The sugarhouse and museum reopen June 1 (the same day as our 33rd Annual Wildflower Festival), but the trails at The Rocks are open year-round, every day, from dawn to dusk.

The Maple Trail begins at the parking area, where you’ll head up the grassy path to the right of Fanny’s Playhouse and turn left into the woods. The wide trail leads visitors through the forest and past the site of the Glessner Family’s “Big House.” John Jacob and Frances Glessner created The Rocks in the late 1800s, and their family spent summers here for many years. While the 19-room mansion designed by Isaac Elwood Scott no longer stands, the Maple Trail passes by the bee house, where Frances kept bees for a time. (Read more about the fascinating history of The Rocks here.) 

Beyond the bee house the Maple Trail turns left through a break in the stone wall and meanders down through the sugar orchard. Look for the blue and black sap lines running through the trees. Interpretive signs along the trail explain the process of maple sugaring, a springtime ritual at The Rocks and throughout New England for many generations. You’ll learn why sap flows in sugar maple trees during the warming days of early spring, how to identify a sugar maple from other trees in the forest, and some of the history of sugaring

The trail ends at the former sawmill/pigpen building, constructed in 1906 and carefully restored for use as The Rocks’ sugarhouse and Maple Museum. (Take a look inside the Museum with our online panoramic view.) In the sugarhouse, you’ll see some of the equipment used to boil sap into maple syrup and sugar and view a video of the sugaring process. The interactive museum features both modern and historic sugaring equipment. Both open June 1. The magnificent view from the building is of Mt. Washington and the Presidential Range.

To return to the parking lot, head up the road (to the left, as you’re looking at the mountains) a bit and follow the signs back into the woods. The trail winds up the hill and back to Fanny’s Playhouse, where you’ll find maps and information about some of the other trails at The Rocks.

A walk along the Maple Trail takes 15 minutes to an hour, depending on how long you spend taking in the scenery, reading the signs, and enjoying your time in this beautiful place. Leashed pets are always welcome at The Rocks.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gift shop at The Rocks offers everything maple… and then some!

When you walk into the main building at The Rocks Estate to start your New Hampshire Maple Experience, you’ll notice a unique gift shop filled to brimming with locally made gift items and maple everything!

Gift shop manager Carleen Quinn says she brings in new items each season, along with longstanding customer favorites. This year she points out the life-sized wooden bears carved by a local artist as the latest and greatest.

Here’s her list of maple offerings at the shop, a boon for all lovers of maple:

* Maple syrup, one of a kind, made only here at The Rocks – all sizes in stock.
* Freshly made maple kettle corn – popped right here by the folks from Kingdom Kernels Kettle Corn Co. in Vermont.
 *Any kind of maple product anyone could want, including maple candy, moose maple pops, maple bites, maple cream, and maple sugar.

Be sure to take a wander through the shop during your Maple Experience!