It’s Here! New Hampshire’s Maple Season!

Mmmm Mmmm Maple!

It’s a tell-tale sign of spring in New Hampshire, maple sugaring season.  And it’s one of my favorite times of the year.  As soon as the snowbanks start to recede and the temperatures start to rise, you can bet you’ll start to see steam billowing from sugar houses.  There’s nothing quite like stepping into a sugarhouse and having the sweet smell of boiling sap greet you.

The making of maple syrup, a centuries old tradition, is a rite of spring in New Hampshire and it’s celebrated at sugar houses all over the state. March, also known as Maple Month in the Granite State is your open invitation to stop by local sugar houses, talk to maple producers and see first-hand how this sweet treat is made.

Morning Star Maple Sugarhouse with steam coming out of the top

If you haven’t seen how far technology has come in regards to maple sugaring, Maple Month is the perfect time to do that.  Head to the Monadnock Region and  Morning Star Maple on Route 101 in Dublin to see their hi-tech site.  They’ve been producing maple products since 1988. What started as a hobby has grown into a full-time business and Morning Star Maple is a labor of love.

 

Inside maple sugaring house with hi-tech maple sugaring equipment

New Hampshire Maple Weekend

While this is Maple Month – this weekend marks  the New Hampshire Maple Producers 22nd annual Maple Weekend.  A time to celebrate all things maple.  The town of Warner is hosting the Kearsarge Maple Festival  with a variety of events happening in Kearsarge Village.  And in the Kearsarge Valley alone you’ll find nine sap houses including Rogers Maple Syrup and Courser Farm Sugar Kings, that are open and waiting for you to visit.  Across the state this weekend, there are more than 100 sugar houses open.  Many have planned special events and activities.  So no matter where your travels bring you you’re likely to stumble across a sugar house.  So stop by, savor the sweet smell of boiling sap and talk to the people who have an incredible passion for carrying on this wonderful tradition.

Outside of a sugaring house with wood pile on side
Courser Farm Sugar Kings in Warner photo credit to Rebecca Courser
Inside a sugarhouse with two people watching the sap boil and measuring the density of the syrup
Roger’s Maple Syrup in Warner photo credit to Barbara Lassonde

 

In the Kitchen Cooking with Maple Syrup

Sure pure New Hampshire made Maple Syrup is delicious on your pancakes or french toast, so imagine adding maple to other recipes?  Yum!  For the occasion I dug some recipes out of the archives that you might want to consider to mix things up a bit this spring.  My personal favorite is the Maple Ginger Cake.

Maple Ginger Cake

½ cup white or brown sugar                                        ¼ cup dark molasses

2 Tbsp shortening                                                            ¼ cup maple syrup

1 egg (beaten)                                                                  ½ cup sour milk

1 tsp baking soda                                                             1 tsp ginger

½ tsp salt                                                                             1 ½ cups flour

Mix ingredients in the order given (left column first then right), then beat well.  Pour in bundt cake pan.  Bake in 350 oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean.

Maple Ice Cream

Add ¾ cup maple syrup to 1 cup of hot milk.  Pour this slowly over 2 beaten eggs.  Cook in double boiler until mixture thickens, stirring constantly.  Whip one cup of cream, add to above mixture when cool and freeze.  Viola! Yummy maple ice cream made from scratch!

If you have a favorite maple recipe you’d like to share, please send it along!  And be sure to get out to a local sugar house if not this weekend, sometime this spring to see what this annual tradition is all about.

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Warm up this winter: A new twist on the classic hot toddy!

Some might say it’s the perfect thing to take the chill off a cold winter day.  I’m talking about the drink known as a Hot Toddy.  By its basic definition (this one from Merriam Webster), a Hot Toddy is a mixed drink made with liquor (usually rum), water, sugar, spices and served hot.   While the actual origin isn’t exactly known, we do know it’s been around for a while.  It’s believed to have been invented in Scotland sometime during the 1700’s.

While the traditional recipe is pretty basic, I’m going to let you in on a little secret, New Hampshire’s mixologists are putting a whole new spin on this magnificent cold-weather concoction.  Let me show you how their creations go way beyond your typical hot toddy.   And you are forewarned: this is not your grandparents Hot Toddy! Read on to check out the toddies.

Learn to Ski for Free this winter in New Hampshire

Make this the winter you learn to ski or ride

Yes, that’s right. Free. So, get ready to experience the invigorating feeling of swooshing down the slopes this winter in New Hampshire.  Now is the time you can learn for free. Ragged Mountain Resort has designed a program for first time skiers and snowboarders.  Just take a look at the v-log to see how easy it is to get started!

Learn more

NH’s Seacoast in the Off-Season

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View along Route 1A in Rye

If you’ve visited New Hampshire’s Seacoast during the summer, you may be familiar with scenic Route 1A, the stretch of road that hugs the state’s petite coastline, from Portsmouth to Seabrook.  The views along this stretch are, in a word, stunning.  As summer is an incredibly popular time to visit this part of the state, the roads, as you might imagine can get a bit crowded.  Why not treat yourself to some of that spectacular scenery, during the off-season.  That’s just what I did, and I discovered winter is a wonderful time to take a leisurely drive and enjoy the picture perfect scenery, but with a little less congestion. Read on to see what I found

Ice Castles – A Winter Wonderland in New Hampshire

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To say the Ice Castles in Lincoln is ‘cool’ would be, well, a well-intended pun!   This is the fourth winter that the White Mountains town of Lincoln has been home to the Ice Castles, an icy mansion that takes shape from 3 key ingredients:  icicles, cold weather, and a whole lot of creativity.  Step inside this acre-sized structure, walk around the massive glacial pillars of ice and you can’t help but get whisked away to a magical wintry wonderland. Check out these amazing images

Seasonal sights: Holiday lights!

Dazzling displays of twinkling lights

It’s a magical way to brighten the holiday season.  Holiday lights! The seasonal sights transform the dark nights by adding a festive feel to the air.   Take a drive around the Granite State and you will find light displays of just about every shape and size. If you’re driving along Route 106 in Loudon,  The Gift of Lights is sure to catch your eye.  And with good reason, there are millions of lights that transform the New Hampshire Motor Speedway into a brilliant display of twinkling lights.  Go ahead, take a look in this sneak peek!

 

See more about The Gift of Lights

“Tie” up your holiday sweets with New Hampshire Made Ribbon Candy

 

Image1Ribbon candy. 

A sweet delicate treat you can pretty much only find around during the holiday season.  There aren’t too many candy shops that make ribbon candy, and there are even fewer that make it by hand.  I’m happy to tell you the tradition is alive and well in New Hampshire! I visited with the folks at the Kellerhaus in Weirs Beach this week, where they’ve been hand crafting ribbon candy for about a century.   The current owners, Mary Ellen and Dave Dutton are proud to be carrying on this time-honored tradition.  They’ve been doing it for about 14 years now.  Mary Ellen says they consider the process “a work of art.  Every time we make it I say to myself, how many people in the world on this day are actually making ribbon candy with an 1886 crimper that is still working.”  I’d venture a guess to say…not very many.

Read on…

With winter on its way, get the scoop on savings at New Hampshire’s Resorts!

Hello again!

In case you missed my recent news, I’m excited to share with you, that as the leaves fall from the trees, and New Hampshire transitions from fall to winter, the Leaf it to Kris blogs and videos will make a transition too.  My adventures around the Granite State will continue with Live Free with Kris. I had so much fun traveling around New Hampshire sharing the seasonal sights, and the reality is New Hampshire has some pretty amazing scenery year round! Not to mention the state is packed with outdoor adventures, cool culinary offerings, a whole lot of history, awesome artisans — and I could go on and on! My mission is to share these things with you. So, as they say, out with the old and in with the new. Read on about Live Free with Kris

Out with the Old, in with the new: Live Free With Kris!

Hi everyone!

I have some great news!   I’m excited to share that as the leaves fall from the trees, and New Hampshire transitions from fall to winter, the Leaf it to Kris blog will make a transformation too!  The adventures will continue with “Live Free with Kris”.  It truly was a lot of fun being able to travel around New Hampshire to share the beautiful foliage with you.  But the reality is, New Hampshire offers amazing scenery and opportunities for adventure every month of the year.  So, as they say, out with the old and in with the new.

Be on the look out in the coming weeks and months for videos and blogs that will highlight cool things to see, do and experience in your travels around this amazing state!  Be sure to follow Live Free with Kris on Facebook and Instagram too!

Stay tuned!