Maple Syrup and More Adventure

A big spring crop that is very plentiful around here is maple syrup and all things maple! There is an abundance of sugar shacks in the area that harvest the sap from maple trees and produce the sweetest of delights….fresh, pure maple syrup! There are two weekends in the spring that are considered “Maple Weekend” – this year, they were March 21-22 and March 28-29 – where you can visit all the maple producers for tours and the chance to purchase and, in most cases, taste the freshly made treats! One place is particularly popular this time of year! Cartwright’s Maple Tree Inn near Angelica, NY. They open their business for just a few short weeks each year – this is their 53rd season and they were open Feb 10th thru Mar 12th – and serve up all-you-can-eat buckwheat pancakes and their own fresh maple syrup! People come from all over the state and beyond year after year to visit this little shack tucked away on a back road in the middle of nowhere to enjoy the best breakfast of the year!

Each year, a group from our church makes the one and a half or so hour trek to Cartwright’s. Every year for the past three years, I have planned to go with them. Every year, something comes up to prevent me from going. THIS year, I blocked out my calendar with stern notes warning me of consequences if I should try to book anything else on that day! This year, I got to go! And……I had the best time!!!

I got up and dressed and ready early. The group was meeting to carpool at 9:00 at the church, but, as usual, I was planning to drive myself so that I could do some exploring afterwards – I was going to be in an area of the state that I had never been in, before, so wanted to check it out! I plugged in my trusty GPS, Gabby, and entered the address…..uh, oh……Gabby didn’t recognize the address! So, I tried to find it in a few different ways…..no luck! So, by then, I assumed I missed the carpool group…..I figured I’d get as close as I could using the GPS and then go by the written directions I had. But, as luck would have it, the group was still there and just starting to leave when I drove by the church! So, I took a couple passengers and followed the leader! We took an awesome rural route that snaked through the country side….I saw towns I’ve never heard of and things I’ll likely never find again! But, it was GREAT!

When we got there, I was surprised to find that we hit it at the exact right time…..no line going in the restaurant (I’m told that is extremely unusual – even on off days)! We got to sit right down and the food started coming! We ordered “family style” – which means you don’t order off the menu – they bring your choice of beverage and a plate with three hot buckwheat pancakes, a slice of ham, and a hand pressed sausage patty – then, they keep replacing the stack of hot pancakes in the center of the table until everyone is stuffed and stops eating…..for as along as that takes!!! I, personally, ate SIX pancakes – in my defense, they are thinner and a little smaller than the ones I make at home or find in other restaurants, so maybe I ate the equivalent of 2 or 3…..that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!!!  And were they GOOD!!! I have never had buckwheat pancakes OR fresh pure maple syrup before…..what a treat — I have really been missing out all these years!

After we left Cartwright’s, we went into Angelica, NY to get some of their claim to fame – salt-rising bread – and to do some browsing through the many antique shops that line their historic downtown area. After that, one of my riders works at Letchworth State Park – recently named the #1 Best State Park in all of the United States – so we drove through there on the way back home. I left the house just before 9:00 am and returned just after 4:00 pm…..exhausted and happy! It was a GREAT day!!!

Here are photos from my wonderful adventure:

FROM CARTWRIGHT’S MAPLE TREE INN

Cartwright's Maple Tree Inn

I can’t take credit for this photo – I “borrowed” it from Cartwright’s Facebook page

Posted in 2012, it shows the exterior of the building and the line of people waiting to get in!

001

We were greeted by this happy fellow! Love his feet!

004

Cooking the buckwheat pancakes

017

And, later, another of the continuously grilled batches being flipped

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My tea came in this HUGE and very pretty mug

003

My second helping…..I was so excited to dig in, I didn’t get a photo of the first helping with the meat!

006

Their gift shop is full of wonderful maple products and souvenirs

008Downstairs, they have some cool items from their original business

009011013This is the evaporator – you can watch the guys processing the syrup

014That room smelled so sweet……it gave me a sugar high just breathing in there! 

FROM ANGELICA, NY

018

One of many antique stores along the downtown area….and a cow!

022

You know I can’t resist photographing a cow or horse statue…..my friend, Diane, got in on the fun!

023

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Their claim to fame is “salt-rising” bread – it is a very heavy, dense bread with almost a sour-dough taste – best when toasted!

046

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030

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What a great name for a shop…..

042

….and, compared to the other buildings on the street, it WAS the little building!!!

038

The Angelica Legion Post

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There was a huge traffic circle around a park with this memorial

044

Most of the buildings had some beautiful brick work

047

A display of vintage hats…..no, I didn’t buy one!

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Angelica Bakery – where they make their famous salt-rising bread!

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This lovely bed and breakfast inn has a “For Sale” sign in the window!

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Angelica Free Library

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And, there were a couple of these really cool looking stone houses!

FROM LETCHWORTH STATE PARK

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The frozen fountain at the Glen Iris Inn in Letchworth brought national attention, this year – it got bigger than usual and stayed longer than usual…..this is what it looked like yesterday – starting to melt down, but still VERY large and impressive!

Ice Fountain at Glen Iris_Feb 2015

This photo – from the Glen Iris Inn Facebook page – shows it at its peak!

062

My friend, Diane, and her Dad rode along with me and I was telling her I’ve never been able to find the Lower Falls, so she took me to it! Here is the gorge and rapids just downstream from the Lower Falls

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And, here it is……a horrible photo of it, but I finally found it and it was very nice in person!!!

So, there you have it…..my Maple Syrup Adventure…..wonder where I’ll go exploring next???

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