Celebrate maple syrup season in New Hampshire by visiting a sugar shack on Maple Weekend!

It’s maple syrup season in New Hampshire!

Celebrate maple syrup season in New Hampshire this Maple Weekend! This year, from March 16–17, 2024, sugar shacks all over the state throw open their doors to visitors. This is your chance to see how maple syrup is made and to pick up high-quality maple syrup and maple products directly from the producers. Sponsored by the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association, this statewide event is a sweet way to welcome spring.

New Hampshire celebrates Maple Month all March long, and many producers have open doors throughout the month, but to be sure to catch one in action, plan your visit for New Hampshire’s Maple Weekend.

New Hampshire's Maple Weekend

Maple syrup season is a harbinger of spring in New Hampshire

With the return of the sun, the combination of warmer days and cooler nights causes the sap to run in sugar maples. When collected and boiled down (preferably over a wood fire), that sap becomes maple syrup, one of my absolute favorite things. Complex and sweet, with a unique flavor all its own, maple syrup is not just for pancakes. It lends a delicious note to everything, from pastries to salad dressings. I use maple syrup in my cooking all year long, but it tastes the sweetest to me this time of year.

Maple syrup producers large and micro

Not far from the lake where I walk Ollie Dog most days, a neighbor has taken to boiling his own sap. He has a few sugar maples on his property, and he taps them. He’s set up a little wood-fired boiler, and, Dear Reader, it just smells amazing. I admire his dedication, but I would be absolutely stunned if he gets enough syrup for a good batch of pancakes or French toast. His is an operation that you can watch, but, alas, probably wouldn’t be able to taste.

About Maple Syrup

Vintage maple syrup can

Maple Weekend in New Hampshire

I’ve written before about maple syrup season in New Hampshire, and my childhood trips to Windswept Maples in Loudon, New Hampshire, each spring to see maple syrup get made and to eat Sugar on Snow, a quintessential Northern New England treat. In addition to sugar on snow, I also have fond memories of visiting the farm animals, and the aroma of the sap boiling takes me right back to those happy memories. Sugar shacks (a common name for where maple syrup is produced) hold a dear place in my heart.

A true family farm

Windswept Maples dates back to 1780, with eight generations of the Moore family farming on the same land. In this day and age, that’s impressive indeed. This generation of Moores have modernized their operations—their shop accepts credit cards (you can also order online from their website) and they have Instagram—but this is a family farm through and through. They still produce maple syrup using wood fire.

A sweet return

Last year, I returned to Windswept Maples as part of the Maple Weekend celebration. Times have changed (I highly doubt that sugar on snow is something that any farm can offer now), but not everything. We saw baby ram lambs and cows and got to chat with the farmers. We then went into the sugar shack to watch the operation. One man loaded wood into the furnace, and another handed out maple syrup samples. I was as enthralled as the kids, and, if they’d let me, I would have stayed in that sweet-smelling room forever.

We then stopped in the shop, where my dad chatted with Mr. Moore, and I got maple syrup, maple crème, and maple candy. I have my priorities straight.

Visit other local maple producers

It turned out that Windswept Maples was just down the road from another maple syrup producer, Ridgeland Farm, and so we went and checked out operations there as well. Unlike Windswept Maples, which has been in the same family for generations, we understood this farm to be fairly new to the people operating it. They had a sophisticated technological operation, where they could find leaks in their lines and such, and they produced their syrup with a modern gas-fired tank from Canada.

However, they also had a glorious old barn and lots of snacks to try. Perhaps they had found the best of both worlds, because their syrup is very good indeed.

Have you visited a maple sugar shack before?

Maple syrup season holds a special place in a New Englander’s heart. Have you ever visited a sugar shack before? What did you love about it? Share in the comments below!

Plan your New Hampshire Maple Weekend!

  • Maple Weekend is sponsored by the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association, and members are registered on their website.
  • Given that these are small, often family-run producers, and some of these locations are quite rural, I suggest confirming that individual producers will be open, either by calling or checking websites. While NH Maple Producers Association has updated their website for the 2024 Maple Weekend, I did notice some listings that advertised events for last year’s Maple Weekend.
  • Check directions and consider having your map available offline. Depending on the location, cell service might be spotty.
  • Wear boots. We had a mild winter in New Hampshire, but this is still mud season.
  • Bring cash. Many of these producers accept credit cards, but not all of them.
  • Maple syrup is costly to produce and expect prices to match. Trust me, it is worth it.

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