After a long, cold winter, it’s understandable to develop a bit of cabin fever; to crave some sun, fresh air, and warmth. This is the time to throw off the parkas, leave the wool at home, and celebrate the coming of 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 4-5 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 21, or spend the April 4-5 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.
Sweet Cottage Getaway in Haliburton County
Where to Stay: Rent through Cottage Care Rentals, and tuck yourself into a cozy lakeside cottage like Salerno Lake Twisted Log Cottage or 12 Mile Lake Ross Point. With your own space, you can laugh as loud and as long 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. On Maple Weekend (April 4-5) the sugarbush will be open both days with maple sample, demonstrations, and more!
Celebrate Spring in Ompah
Where to Stay: Book a stay at Silent Valley Alpacas Ranch and see if you can contain your smile when 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 4-5 Maple Weekend visiting local sugarbushes like Conboy Maple Syrup to 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 nearby Sharbot Lake – we’d recommend truly embracing the season with the sinfully delicious 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. Nearby, Wheelers Maple not only holds the Guinness World Record for maple artifacts, but they also offer a cute and cozy 1880s farmhouse where you can spend the night dreaming of syrup and pancake breakfasts.
Sweet Escape: Staying in Lanark County means staying in the Maple Syrup Capital of Ontario, so Maple Weekend on April 4-5 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.