Known for its unique and diverse plant life, the forested wonderland of Hocking Hills, Ohio, is home to red and sugar maple trees that grow in the region’s moist, cool gorges. These maple trees have long been used to produce some of best maple syrup and candies in the area and have even inspired the annual Maple Tapping Festival. On March 12 and 13, 2016, guests can come celebrate the sweet, sticky goodness of local maple syrup and learn all about the history and tapping process before indulging with a scrumptious pancake breakfast. Yum!
Explore the Maple Tapping Festival
Ohio is the fifth largest producer of maple syrup in the United States, so a trip to the Hocking Hills is the perfect way to try natural maple syrup firsthand. Plus, this year’s festival will take place from 12 PM to 4 PM at Old Man’s Cave, just a short drive from the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls! Here are some of the things you’ll see at the Maple Tapping Festival.
What Is Maple Tapping?
Dating all the way back to the early Native Americans and European settlers, maple sugaring has been a tradition for hundreds of years. When some of the natives cut wood for fires or dug their hatches into the trees, they noticed that liquid would begin to drip from the trunk. It was discovered that the liquid yielded a sweet-flavored syrup, and soon after was collected for cooking. Today, the sap is collected and boiled until it is a thick syrup suitable for a big stack of pancakes, fluffy waffles, or delicious French toast.
How to Make Maple Syrup
Three species of maple trees are used to produce maple syrup: the sugar maple, the black maple, and the red maple. The red maple has a shorter season because it buds earlier than sugar and black maples, which alters the flavor of the sap. Maple tapping season begins in late winter and early spring when the temperatures are below freezing at night and rise to the upper 30s or 40s during the day. This causes the maple sugar inside trees to liquefy, and excess water is boiled off. The sweet sugar is left behind, which can be used to make candies and other confections. The maple sugaring process is a delicate one, but can be done with a few supplies:
- Drill bit – Used to drill the tap hole in the tree
- Buckets or collection bags – Used to collect the sap that drips from the tree
- Spiles (tap) – Inserted into the drilled hole for collection
- Cheesecloth – Used to filter out any particles, like bark, from the liquid
Plan a Sweet Getaway at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls
Surrounded by peaceful forest and breathtaking scenery, our Logan bed and breakfast is the perfect place to recover from a sugar rush. You can enjoy a delicious, healthy dinner at our acclaimed restaurant, Kindred Spirits, then unwind in one of our comfortable cottages or cabins after a wonderful day at the Maple Tapping Festival. We can’t wait to hear about everything you’ve learned!