When spring is in the air, the maple starts to flow in Nova Scotia and that means a road trip for your sweet tooth.
Finding a place to get your annual fix of maple sugar on snow is easy. While camps can be found all across the province, you'll find most of them located in Cumberland and Colchester counties - with as many as three camps on the same road.
One of the most popular spots to visit is Sugar Moon Farm near Tatamagouche, but you'll find that if you get off the main highway and onto the smaller highways.
On a road trip into Cumberland County last spring, a friend and I headed onto the Old Fenwick Road (near Springhill) and found hidden gems that are tapping trees and boiling syrup. You'll know you're there when you see cars parked along the road and painted signs pointing the way.
For some of the camps, you'll have to take down a road to the camp. When we visited, the snow has started to melt, so we had to leave our nice shoes in the car to walk down the lane to the camps.
When you stop by the sugar camps you'll get a glimpse at a working farm where the tradition of making maple lives on - sometimes for generations. The families that own these farms have been hard at work all winter to get ready for this short season. This year, they started tapping trees back in February and sap started to flow in early March. Our maple road trip this spring will include Sugar Moon as it's a part of the "Atlantic Economuseum Network "Artisans at Work", which means visitors can take a tour to see exactly how maple syrup is made.
To make the maple syrup you'll find in stores, the sap is boiled and then filtered (to make it crystal clear). The boiling means when you come across a camp, it will smell like a giant pancake breakfast. And it tastes as delicious as it smells.
You can try maple sugar on the snow, a cup of maple taffy, or maple cream (in blocks and smaller candy sizes). Of course, you can try it all if you're sweet tooth is up for the challenge (mine definitely was).
No visit is complete without buying some maple treats to take home with you. You can purchase maple syrup, maple cream and even maple BBQ sauce. I purchased a little bit of everything - from syrup to a block of maple cream.
Remember, this is a seasonal road trip. Maple season in Nova Scotia usually runs through March and April, but it all depends on the temperature. Freezing nights and warm days are needed to make the sap run. You can visit Sugar Moon Farm year round, but if you want the chance to see maple syrup as it's being made, now is the time. That's why I'm already making plans for my next maple road trip.