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!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The first sugar makers: Discovering the history of maple syrup at the New Hampshire Maple Experience

Who were the first sugar makers? Long before European settlers arrived in New England, the native people of the region had discovered the sweet sap of the sugar maple trees growing here. There are various legends about how Native Americans discovered that the sap could be boiled into various forms of sugar.

These legends and the history and evolution of maple sugaring are just one part of the New Hampshire Maple Experience at The Rocks Estate, which takes visitors through tales and techniques of early sugar makers right through to tasting some fresh, sweet New Hampshire maple syrup!

The Maple Experience includes a trip to the Maple Museum, where visitors can see and touch some of the tools used through the centuries in the springtime ritual of sugar making. One of these is a long, hollowed-out log once used to cook the sap. Native Americans would pour the watery sap into the log and add hot stones from the fire to gradually cook the sap into a taffy-like maple sugar.
Hollowed-out log for cooking sap.

(See a video explanation of the early sugar making process here.) 

When the first settlers arrived, they observed the natives’ ways of maple sugaring and gradually added new tools and techniques to the process.

Today’s plastic tubing, reverse osmosis systems, and high tech evaporators are a far cry from the wooden spiles, hollow logs, and hot stones employed by the earliest sugar makers. But the end result is just as sweet!

This Saturday, April 5, is the final day of 2014 New Hampshire Maple Experience. We hope you’ll join us for hands-on learning and fun. To read more about the Maple Experience, visit our website. To make reservations for Saturday’s maple tours, please email or call (603) 444-6228.