March in the White Mountains is all about maple and maple sugaring. Maple sugaring is the process by which maple producers tap maple trees that are indigenous to their area during late winter and early spring to collect the sap that has accumulated. In cold climates such as those in Canada and northern United States, maple trees “store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter” climates take hold. The starch changes to “sugar that rises in the sap”. As the temperature rises as late winter and early spring approach, the sap goes through a thawing process resulting in a build-up of pressure within the tree. Once this pressure reaches a certain level, maple producers tap the trees to retrieve the sap.
Native Americans were the first people in North America to discover that maple trees put forth this sweet substance and that it could be processed to make sugar and maple syrup. In New Hampshire trees are tapped in late February. It takes 40 gallons of sap to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup so it is extraordinary that approximately 90,000 gallons of maple syrup are produced in New Hampshire alone each year.
By no coincidence March is also when March Maple Madness takes place in the Mt. Washington Valley. The March Maple Madness event is a self-guided Inn-to-Inn tour that is a great way kick off spring. Ticket holders are charged with tasting all the sweet and savory goodies offered by 9 Inns in the Mount Washington Valley – yum! Those participating will have the opportunity to visit sugaring locations to enhance your experience. This fun event also includes a scavenger hunt to add to your enjoyment plus ticket holders have a chance to win prizes! The proceeds of this event are donated to a hospitality scholarship fund.
The Inn at Ellis River took first place for best goodie on this tour last year with its “Maple Ribs”. Come see us this year to see what’s cooking this time around! If you are looking for some fun, a learning experience and relaxation to bring in Spring come stay with us the weekend of March 19th and book our special March Maple Madness package!