After a long, cold winter, it’s understandable to develop a bit of cabin fever; to crave some sun, fresh air, and warmth. Sure, with the right gear and clothing, winter can be a lot of warm bundled fun, but after a few months of taking ten minutes to layer up just to go warm up the car, it gets a little old.
It’s time to throw off the parkas, leave the wool at home, and celebrate spring; and there is no better place to celebrate the season than a maple sugarbush in Ontario’s Highlands. The warm days and cool nights of spring mark the sweetest season as sap flows from our maple trees and fresh maple syrup can be found around almost every corner.
Every year on the first weekend of April, sugarbushes across the province open their gates to celebrate Maple Weekend, inviting visitors to learn more about sugaring off, to sample their wares, explore the sugarbush, and try the famous treat of maple taffy on snow.
Whether you’re visiting on April 6-7 for Maple Weekend, or another time this spring, check out our ideas below to celebrate the season with a truly sweet escape.
Maple Moments in Madoc & Marmora
Where to Stay: Brimming with old-fashioned charm and tucked along a quiet street in Marmora, Marmora Inn is a prime location for a break from any hustle and bustle. With Chef Rui cooking up mouthwatering meals to showcase his appreciation for fresh, flavourful food you can indulge in the dining room onsite and fuel up for a day of exploring.
Sweet Escape: Travel back in time to explore an 1850s Sugarbush at O’Hara Mill Homestead on March 16, or spend the April 6-7 Maple Weekend sampling the sweet stuff at one of the local sugar bushes like O’Hara Sugar Maples, Taps Maple, and Three Maples Sugar Camp. Not visiting on an event weekend? Call ahead to plan your visit to O’Hara Sugar Maples or Three Maples Sugar Camp.
Make Your Own Syrup in Killaloe
Where to Stay: Let Don and Mary Helen, the friendly owners of The Deakins B&B, welcome you to the Ottawa Valley. Wander the property to fill your lungs with refreshing country air and look for new growth as the snow fades away in spring, enjoy hearty breakfasts with fresh maple syrup, and discover more about maple production and forest preservation as you chat with your hosts.
Sweet Escape: A bonus to staying at The Deakin’s B&B is the maple forest onsite. Wander through the forest on a guided tour and try your hand at making maple syrup during a Making Maple Syrup – A Forest’s Story experience in spring, summer, or fall; or let your inner foodie loose during a full Ottawa Valley Maple Adventure.
Sweet Cottage Getaway in Haliburton County
Where to Stay: Rent through Cottage Care Rentals, and tuck yourself into a cozy lakeside cottage like Kashagawigamog Lake Bluebird or 12 Mile Lake Ross Point. With your own space, you can laugh as loud as you’d like, enjoy memorable meals together, take in the views, and even bring your fur baby along.
Sweet Escape: Visit Wintergreen Maple Products on a weekend in March or April to indulge in a maple meal and watch the production of maple syrup happen through the glass wall of the restaurant. Sample tasty treats in The Mercantile onsite – like unique barbecue sauces, colourful fruit syrups, and classically canned preserves; satisfy your sweet tooth with traditional maple taffy on snow; and marvel at the antique tool display.
Recharge in Pembroke
Where to Stay: Escape to the elegant and historic Grey Gables Inn & Spa for a break from the every day. With a spa onsite, you can opt for some extra pampering to recharge your spirit this spring before recharging your body with the help of a little sugar rush from a visit to a local sugarbush.
Sweet Escape: Stop in by chance or call ahead to visit Mapleside Sugarbush to see how sap is collected and transferred to the shanty and indulge in pure Canadian maple products; or Grants Settlement Farm to enjoy a stroll through the sugar bush and pick up fresh maple baking, local artisan wares, and traditional wood-fired maple syrup. Both sugarbushes will be celebrating the April 6-7 Maple Weekend with maple samples, demonstrations, and more.
Celebrate Spring in Ompah
Where to Stay: Book a stay at Silent Valley Alpacas Ranch and just try to contain your smile as you step out your front door and see fluffy alpacas roaming the pasture. Enjoy a little slice of country paradise, let the owners take you on a visit to the barn (if you’re lucky, you might even see an adorably young cria), and stock up on some cozy finds in the farm gate store.
Sweet Escape: Spend the April 6-7 Maple Weekend visiting local sugarbushes like Conboy Maple Syrup, and Oso Sweet Maple Farm to hike through the maple trees, learn about maple production, sample different grades of syrup, and even learn the skill of axe throwing at Conboy. Not visiting over the Maple Weekend? Luckily your taste buds can still find their own sweet escape with a visit to Cardinal Café + Shop in Sharbot Lake – we’d recommend truly embracing the season with the Conboy maple bacon doughnut.
A Sugarbush Stay in Lanark
Where to Stay: Tuck in for the night at the luxurious Clyde Hall B&B, located on a working maple forest. Indulge with a hearty breakfast featuring their very own maple syrup, and soak in the hot tub to wash away any worries.
Sweet Escape: Staying in Lanark County means staying in the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario, so Maple Weekend on April 6-7 offers the chance to explore a lot of sugarbushes nearby. Luckily for those not able to make it for this main weekend event, sugarbushes like Fulton’s, Temple’s, Fortune Farms, and Thompsontown remain open during the maple season in March and April, and Wheelers Maple is open year round.