Roxy’s Best Of… Connecticut

The Best of the State of Connecticut, from kid stuff (including summer camp) to restaurants to shopping, art, culture and events

Mar
15

The Hebron Maple Festival

Posted by: aldonhynes - Print This Post Print This Post

If you want to get a taste of part of what makes Connecticut sweet and wonderful, you will be hard pressed to find a better event than the Hebron Maple Festival. The 19th Annual Hebron Maple Festival is taking place March 14th and 15th, 2009. If you miss it, be sure to put their 20th annual festival on your calendar.

Having grown up in the northwest corner of Massachusetts, I always reluctantly thought that Vermont Maple Syrup was the only true maple syrup, with Massachusetts Maple Syrup coming in a close second, especially if it came from a friend’s sugarhouse. I grew up with Sugar on Snow during blizzards and maple syrup used in just about everything, including maple cotton candy at the Big E.

Years later, I visited sugarhouses in New Hampshire and had to admit that they make pretty good maple syrup as well, but I’d never really grown to appreciate Canadian maple syrup, or maple syrup from Connecticut.

Yet the Hebron Maple Festival changed my mind about that. You see, part of what makes any maple syrup special, or perhaps any food special, is the love and traditions around that food. The festival helped reveal some of those traditions.

Being the good Democrat that I am, I stopped at the Hebron Democrat’s tent and bought a maple cured ham, egg and cheese sandwich and chatted briefly with the folks there. They were the sort of Americans that sustain our democracy. People that work at the fairs across our country to raise money for local campaigns. They were pleased that the Comptroller of the State of Connecticut, Nancy Wyman, had stopped by. Across the street, good loyal Republicans were doing their part as well for the our Republic.

We stopped at the Hebron Historical Society to view a historical quilt exhibition and sale. I took plenty of pictures, which will be up on Flickr soon. Afterwards, we stopped at the Hebron Volunteer Fire Department to get some Sugar on Snow.

For those who have not had Sugar on Snow before, it is maple syrup boiled to the softball stage of hardness. From pots of boiling maple syrup, it is ladled onto snow, where it cools quickly to the consistency of taffy. Many people cut the sweetness with pickles, which is how my wife and I did it.

As we enjoyed the day, numerous people walked about with their dogs, from the smallest puppies to the largest greyhounds and great danes. It provided great enjoyment for our seven-year-old daughter, as she approached the owners and asked permission to pat the dogs. The owners were universally friendly. Some of the reason for the abundance of greyhounds is that the CT Greyhound Adoption Agency was at the festival seeking forever homes for the dogs.

We ended the day with a trip to the Wenzel Sugar House. Fiona had a great time patting a calf on the farm and running through a pine grove. We watched syrup being made. Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for them, they had sold all of their syrup that day. They would be making syrup all night long to have more for sale on Sunday. So, we drove a little ways up the road to the Hurst Farm Sugar House across the line in Andover CT. They too, had sold all of their half gallon sized cans of syrup. However, we were fortunate to get some fresh baked bread just out of their oven, and Fiona got one last chance to buy sweets at their country store.

The town Democrats and Republicans, the volunteers at the Historical society and the fire department and the farmers like the Wenzels and the Hursts provide a great reminder of what is great about Connecticut and our country, as well as a glimpse into the simple joys we can find a short drive from our doorsteps. The Hebron Maple Festival is truly one of the things that is best about Connecticut.

3
  • Roxy
    11:56 am on March 15th, 2009 1

    Aldon,

    Thanks for the post about the Hebron Maple Festival… sounds like great fun. At our school, the first graders do “maple sugaring” every year along Patriot’s Path, a nature trail (apparently lined with maples) that runs behind the school. Last year London participated, and this year it was Maddie’s turn. They tap the trees, strain the bugs out (eeew), boil down the buckets of syrup, and bottle it up to sell to the class parents. This year, unfortunately, there wasn’t enough maple syrup to go around.

    Maybe we’ll make it up to visit for the 20th anniversary celebration in 2010…

    Roxy

  • Cindi @ Mama Mentor
    6:48 pm on March 22nd, 2009 2

    I heard about that but we were so busy and weren’t able to get to it this year!

    Definitely will put it on my list for next year!

    Stopping in to say Hi from 5 Minutes For Mom’s Ultimate Blog Party! Finding so many great new blogs & goodies! Hope You can join us! I have 3 participating in the tour so hope to see you again!

  • Ron Wenzel
    10:56 am on January 4th, 2010 3

    Hi Roxy. Ron Wenzel Here. Just to update you. The 20th annual Hebron Maple Festival for 2010 is March 13 and 14th. Hope to see you again. Ron Wenzel

 

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