Gite du Hu-art
QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC
Canada and maple trees go hand-in-hand (the leaf, after all, is the country's national symbol) and nowhere are sugar shacks more prevalient than in the eastern portion of the country, including Quebec Provence. The lovely Gite du Hu-art provides an ideal base for exploring the sugar shacks around Quebec City, and is far enough removed from the urban center to offer an added level of privacy. Each of its five guestrooms—most of them sporting country-style decor—has its own entrance for privacy, and three of them feature chromotherapeutic baths, which utilize colored lights to ease tensions. Innkeepers Pierre and Linda built the lakefront home from scratch, and their daughters' artwork adorns the walls. There's even a shared kitchenette where guests can whip up a little something to go with their souvenir syrup—a Quebec must during sugar season.
Orchard House B&B
Ohio is one of the top 10 maple syrup producers in the U.S. and its central portion is a hub of sugary-themed events from late February through April. During this season, Granville's Orchard House B&B is an easy drive to everything from pancake fests to tours of maple-making facilities. The 19th-century country manor is situated on 12 acres of farmland, so when you're not out watching the tapping of trees you can help tend to the animals, including sheep, pigs and chickens. The inn's four bright guestrooms (including a "glamping" property in the pine forest, open April through October) combine modern furnishings with antiques and artwork collected worldwide, and the innkeeper's family lives in a spearate Carriage House—giving guests full run of the manor.
Phineas Swann B&B
MONTGOMERY CENTER, VERMONT
Sugar tapping dates back generations in the area around pet-friendly Phineas Swann B&B. Each cozy and comfortable room at this inn has stylish perks like Oriental floor rugs and four-poster beds. There are also a couple of fully equipped lodge-style River House suites—perfect for longer stays. The inn offers a spring “Maple Syrup Lovers” package for guests, complete with personalized tours of local sugaring operations during which you can watch the boiling process in action. The package also includes a hot gourmet breakfast complete with locally produced maple syrup, and a full quart of pure Vermont maple syrup as a take-home gift.
Bear Mountain Lodge
BETHLEHEM, NEW HAMPSHIRE
As part of Bear Mountain Lodge's "Maple Experience" vacation package, guests not only learn how to identify different maple trees species such as red and silver, but also participate in the tree tapping process. Built in 2005, the inn resembles an old national park-style lodge and is set on 26 wooded acres. Each of its 10 guestrooms is individually decorated, some with fireplaces and others with rustic walls showcasing the same massive white pines as its exterior. Most of them even have a view of 6,288-feet-tall Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast. Bear Mountain's "Maple Experience" rounds things out with a horse-drawn wagon ride and a sampling of freshly made syrup. During the last three weekends of March and the first weekend in April, the package also includes two tickets to the nearby Rocks Maple Experience, as well as a goodie bag of sugary delectables to enjoy.
Hidden Serenity Bed and Breakfast
WEST BEND, WISCONSIN
Though not as well known as New Hamsphire and Vermont when it comes to maple syrup, Wisconsin is another state where sugar season is a big deal. The innkeepers of Hidden Serenity Bed and Breakfast are themselves hobbylist sugar tappers, and you can watch them at work when you're not off exploring the rest of the 24-acre wooded property. The inn is home to five luxurious guestrooms. While the Kettle Moraine Suite has a clawfoot tub ideal for soaking, the Timber Trails' century-old antique fireplace provides ample warmth on chillier days. Additional amenities include a lighted tennis court, a billiards table and a mini-spa, not to mention a myriad of nature trails. Expect your gourmet breakfast to be served with fresh maple syrup that was tapped, boiled and bottled onsite.
Blueberry Fields Bed & Breakfast
It may be named for the 10-acre blueberry field that is central to the inn's 120-acre property, but Blueberry Fields Bed & Breakfast also has its own sugar-maple grove. Guests while away lazy afternoons on the front porch rockers or enjoy nightly dinners (for an added fee) complete with a selection of local wines. The inn's five spacious en-suite guestrooms all sport natural wood features—along with their own refrigerators (great for storing that opened bottle of maple syrup) and easy access to the outdoors. Blueberry Fields is known for its assortment of visiting wildlife, including white-tailed deer, red-tailed hawks and a well-known moose that calls the area home. Pick up some maple treats at nearby Sweet Season Farm, or plan your trip to coincide with Maine's Maple Syrup Sunday—the fourth Sunday of the month; it's basically an open house for sugar shacks statewide.
Kiwassa Lake B&B
SARANAC LAKE, NEW YORK
Spend a weekend enjoying the rustic offerings of the Kiwassa Lake B&B in New York's Adirondacks. The 20-acre waterfront property offers plenty of outdoor activities, including hiking, canoe rentals and fishing. Breakfasts include a rotating menu of hearty main dishes, and is almost always served with Adirondack maple syrup that's been tapped and bottled on site. As an added treat, pre-order an Adirondack gift basket ($85) for your stay. It comes with an array of locally made goods such as wine, chocolate and—of course—mouthwatering maple syrup.
—by Laura Kiniry