Some adventures lead you to hidden gems that are so close, you wonder how they could have possibly been hiding at all. We found one of these gems in Earltown, Nova Scotia. We found Sugar Moon Farm.
March only means one thing when you are talking ‘maple’. It’s when that liquid gold awakens, the sap lines are running and your pancakes – smiling.
As soon as my kids found out that maple syrup comes from maple trees, they were ‘pumped’ for our day trip to the maple farm. A short jaunt from the city, just past Truro is where you will find Sugar Moon Farm. When you enter the log cabin restaurant at Sugar Moon, you immediately get that sense of warmth, that sense of home. Maybe it’s the familiar scent of maple that brings back the childhood familiarity… or it could be the cozy fireplace, or maybe it’s even Gina, our gracious server who made us feel like we were guests in her own home.
We were expecting pancakes and maple syrup – what we got was a meal that could rival any of the best restaurants in the province. We started with maple drinks – coffee and hot chocolate with maple whipped cream and maple sugar and the highly recommended, delicious maple tonic! This was followed by ‘straight-out-of-the-oven’ warm biscuits and maple butter. We were definitely feeling the maple love, when along came the star of the show, buttermilk pancakes, maple baked beans and knockwurst sausage with maple mustard – all topped with blueberry compote, maple glazed pecans, maple whipped cream and maple syrup. We should leave some maple for the next guests, right? I’m sure we have never experienced a maple meal like this one and though we were stuffed with the extra generous portions, we couldn’t leave one morsel to go to waste!
Next we were off to the Sugar Camp Tour where Linda took us through the interpretive room. We learned about the ‘Sugar Moon story’ and how maple syrup is produced. Linda is pretty much the ‘Maple Wizard’ and we left feeling a lot smarter about maple syrup than a mere hour ago! On this tour, you will hear about some fascinating Nova Scotian maple history, learn how the sap lines work and how sap is magically transformed over a wood fire to that pure maple syrup that we love so much!
Now if you are looking to move a group of people on a tour to a different area for the next part of the tour, it’s not always an easy task. However, a very efficient way to do this is to say, “follow me outside for maple syrup on snow”. That’s just how Linda got the kids moving quickly and the adults weren’t far behind. Of course, this was the highlight of the day! We rolled the warm maple syrup on snow and transformed it to a lollipop, which my kids have proclaimed is now officially a breakfast food!
After all that maple, a walk was definitely in order! We hiked the beautiful snow-covered sugar maple woods, following the sap lines to the cabin and the taps. Sugar Moon Farm also lies directly on the Rogart Mountain Trail which begins right in their parking lot! After a winter in Nova Scotia with very little snow, we felt lucky to have arrived at Sugar Moon with a fresh dusting of snow and it made for a beautiful walk in the woods. Now, I can’t wait to visit Sugar Moon in the summer to hike this beautiful trail and of course, our motivation will be a meal of maple goodness at the Sugar Moon Restaurant to end the day!
Sugar Season in Nova Scotia is in the spring, somewhere between the end of February and mid-April. That means if you want to visit Sugar Moon while the maple syrup is in production and possibly be there during a boil – go now! But the beautiful thing about Sugar Moon is that they are open all year round! You can enjoy a meal of maple, experience the sugar camp tour and even have maple syrup on snow any time of the year. How cool is that? We are already planning our summer trip to Northern Nova Scotia with a visit to Victoria Park, hiking the trails and of course a visit to Sugar Moon!
Sue Dinham is a Halifax-based writer. She was a guest of Sugar Moon Farms.