A week ago this past Wednesday we 'fabulous four' girlfriends went to Dumfries Maples in Dumfries, NB. This is on Route 102 west of Fredericton along the St. John River. We had a dusting of snow on the ground the night before and it was a cloudy morning with a few squalls at first but the sun came out around noon and it was a gorgeous spring day.
The drive along the St. John River is very scenic and, if you have the time, you should get off the Trans Canada Highway and slip on over to the 'old road' along either side of the river. (Route 105 is on the northerly side of the river) We often take these routes when we go for a day trip and I have shared views from the 105 many times on here.
Outside the building is a kettle used for boiling down the sap the old fashioned way. Sometimes they make 'candy on the snow' on weekends.
Nathan Scott, a forester, moved back to New Brunswick in the late 90's and started the maple syrup business and sugar shack in the sugar woods that have been a part of the family farm for 4 generations. Much of the farm was expropriated for the building of the Mactaquac Dam in the 60's (the river valley floor was flooded behind the dam) and the family left the community. When Nathan returned the business went from hobby to commercial, with his sister Jane's help, with over 2000 trees tapped for the sap to syrup operation.
Inside there was a fire going in the wood stove to heat the large room. I should have taken a photo of the room itself as it is very casual with picnic tables and benches.
The old woodbox filled at the ready.
Our meals were delicious! They cooked our food to our specifications even. Pancakes (they also serve gluten free ones) are their specialty along with ham, bacon, eggs and biscuits. And.... real maple syrup and maple butter made in their sugar shack up the hill.
I ordered the scrambled eggs, and biscuits with maple butter. Yum!
I must say that our hostess, Jane, was so sweet and kind and patient. She even offered to take a photo of us.
Jane Scott, our lovely hostess/server.
After our brunch we went out into the beautiful spring sunshine and walked up the hill to the 'sugar shack'. They weren't boiling sap that day but we went in and chatted with the owner a bit.
Inside the sugar shack with the large vat where the sap is boiled down into syrup.
The sap is tapped the old fashioned way with spigot and pail, and also the new way with plastic tubing.
There was quite a lot of snow in this north facing woods that day. I'd like to go up again and take a walk in the sugar woods but our next 2 weekends are busy.
The view across the road to the other side of the river.
We had a wonderful visit and enjoyed catching up on each others news. One of my friends, Jill, had broken her foot just a few days before and was using crutches. She was able to drive herself though as it's her left foot that is in a 'boot' and her car is an automatic. We helped her in and out of the building which is on the level with no stairs. I parked her car for her and fetched it afterward.
The drive home - with beautiful blue skies and sunshine. That is the still frozen St. John River on the left.
Heading home across the Mactaquac Dam.
This is me showing you the best way to eat maple syrup.....
straight out of the bottle onto a spoon! :)
Click on DUMFRIES MAPLES (www.dumfriesmaples.ca) for more information or visit their Facebook page for more information and directions on how to get there. They are open all year around for their pancake breakfasts.
We are getting rain here this afternoon and the temperature is 13C. I just went to fetch the mail and newspaper from the mailbox and couldn't believe how warm it is out. I heard that the dreaded Polar Vortex is dipping down over us from Monday to Wednesday next week to put us in to winter cold temperatures again and make it feel like early March rather than April for the whole week. I will try not to get depressed over this but I am rather envious to see spring blooming on some of your blogs. It will happen. Just later than soon. :)
Thanks so much for your visits and comments. I hope you all have a great weekend. Enjoy!