March is here and the sap is flowing! There is nothing like the taste of warm maple syrup just collected from the evaporator in a "sugar shack"! If cabin fever is getting to you, now is the time to check out our local maple syrup and taste the sweetness of an otherwise often dreary and moody time of year. Learning about the sugaring process through direct experience is lots of fun.
There are maple sugaring events this month at three state parks in Massachusetts near Boston. Access for people with disabilities is generally good in each location, but somewhat dependent upon snow and mud conditions, so I recommend you call the park of interest and get an update.
In Uxbridge at Riverbend Farm (part of Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park), you'll find a completely wheelchair accessible visitor center with heated bathrooms and exhibits on local history, as well as a petite little sugar shack across the street. Even if you can't get into it, you can usually get a good peek in with your tasty sample. The park has been working to make its shack more accessible, so call 508-278-7604 for the latest info. Free Tours will be offered to the general public on a first come-first serve basis during the first three weekends in March, from 11:00 am to 3:30 pm when the last tour starts. Tours last one and a half to 2 hours, with both indoor and outdoor elements. Visit http://www.blackstonevalleysugaring.org/ for more info and click here for directions.
DCR and Mass Audubon are co-hosting Maple Sugar Days March 13 and 14 in the Blue Hills in Milton south of Boston. The event starts at Trailside Museum, where you can see maple trees being tapped, meet costumed characters, and learn about the history of maple sugaring. This event has a $5 admission fee for adults, $3 for kids ages 3-12. A trolley will take sugar enthusiasts over to Brookwood Farm, where the sugaring operation is based and other fun activities will be offered. Trolley rides depart from each location every 15 minutes or so and one trolley is wheelchair accessible. Brookwood Farm is on level terrain. The entire event is billed wheelchair accessible. If you have more specific questions about accommodations for people with disabilities, call (617) 698-1802 or (617) 333-0690.
At Breakheart Reservation in Saugus (north of Boston), you'll find a beautiful accessible visitors center, with sugaring demonstrations and a sugar shack just outside. Public sugar demonstrations will take place March 20 and 21 from 10am to 2pm. Call 781-233-0834 for more info.