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Sugar Shack & Pancakes - Where to go?

h
Hrock34 Mar 6, 2007 01:15 PM

My gf and I would like to go see how maple syrup gets made and hopefully enjoy some good food along the way. We are in Boston, so were thinking that southern NH / VT would be easier for a day trip. Any reccomendations on a place that does sugar house tours and serves a decent, fresh made breakfast? Or a a combination of places - good breakfast right near a good sugar shack? We are hoping to go this weekend, as the weather is supposed to warm up a bit. I have found a few places using google, but would appreciate any personal experience!

Thanks in advance - I'll report back with where we end up!

H

  1. j
    JaneRI Mar 7, 2007 01:36 PM

    You know, I have been to the South Face website and never went out there - I'll have to try it now.

    Chris, I haven't had that happen (dry in texture)....a bad day maybe? I went last spring and our group was 7 adults and 9 children (bad idea to get outnumbered like that) and while there were some service glitches (and we had to wait an hour for a table) everyone was happy w/their meals.

    1. b
      Big Fat Moe Mar 7, 2007 11:24 AM

      Ever since Gray's Sugarhouse in Ashfield (MA) closed, the best place for my money is South Face Farm, also in Ashfield. Superior homemade waffles with tiny low bush blueberries piled on top. Some tasty link sausage. A plate of pickles. Yes! There is usually a wait..this past weekend about 30 minutes, but get there before 9 or after noon and you should be OK.

      1. j
        JaneRI Mar 7, 2007 06:56 AM

        I happen to like Parkers. I like the variety of pancakes. I like that I can get mapley-baked beans with my pancakes, and a maple frappe to wash it all down. I was there 2 wkends ago and no wait, as they're not yet making syrup. I brought a big bottle of Grade B syrup home w/me.

        1. f
          fayth Mar 6, 2007 07:39 PM

          If you do a day trip to Parker's you should try to make it over to Pickety Place ( http://www.pickityplace.com ) a beautiful cottage in the woods with a restaurant and gift shop featuring herbal products. The cottage was featured in illustrations for a Golden Book edition of Little Red Riding Hood.

          1. natureboy Mar 6, 2007 01:54 PM

            Of course there's Parker's (http://www.parkersmaplebarn.com/) in Mason, NH. The Phantom Gourmet gave it "Gourmet Greatness". You won't walk away hungry, but you may have to wait in line. Maybe you could call ahead for the insider's tips.

            5 Replies
            1. re: natureboy
              kittychow Mar 6, 2007 01:59 PM

              I was going to suggest the same. I think it's a far cry from "Gourmet Greatness" but it's pretty darn good, huge, comfort style breakfast.

              I like the stuffed french toast and the ribs. If you like maple you'll probably love the breakfast sausage as it's heavy on the maple flavor.

              1. re: kittychow
                whs Mar 6, 2007 05:58 PM

                The wait for a table is horrendous, the gift shop is tacky, and the service is more reminiscent of molasses than maple syrup, but you can watch them boil down the sap while you're waiting. The Parker's Special is cardiac arrest on a plate--pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, ham, potatoes and toast--two of each, plus maple syrup.

                1. re: kittychow
                  Chris VR Mar 7, 2007 06:19 AM

                  I disagree on Parker's- wouldn't go back there again for pancakes:

                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/163985

                  1. re: Chris VR
                    j
                    JaneRI Mar 7, 2007 06:58 AM

                    I drive over an hour for Parkers - if they ever gave me dried out pancakes I'd be furious and would send them back for fresh ones. Dried-out pancakes in breakfast restaurants are a pet peeve of mine.

                    I think their pancakes are just average (but I've never had bad ones)....I go for the ambiance as a whole, as well as other menu items.

                    1. re: JaneRI
                      Chris VR Mar 7, 2007 07:40 AM

                      Well, we'd already waited 30 minutes, probably couldn't have flagged down a waiter to send them back, If we'd sent them back I'd be worried that we'd just have gotten the same as a replacement. It's not so much that they were dried out (hard), they were dry in texture- sort of choke in your throat dry. Like I said, I've read lots of good things here so maybe this just isn't my style of pancake. Or maybe it was something particular to the maple walnut pancake, which was a special, I think.

              2. Science Chick Mar 6, 2007 01:48 PM

                We've always loved the Davenport Maple Farm off of Route 2 in Shelburne, MA. On the top of a winding hill, they have a spectacular view, first rate sugar house and a great breakfast. Be prepared for VERY LONG waits at the peak season (over an hour).

                4 Replies
                1. re: Science Chick
                  d
                  dukegirl Mar 6, 2007 02:55 PM

                  Gould's Sugar House is also on Rt. 2 in Shelburne. Again, in peak season, there will be an incredibly long wait (I think we waited almost 2 hours). Here's their website:

                  http://www.goulds-sugarhouse.com/

                  If you wanted to wait a couple of weeks, the weekend of March 23-25 is Vermont Maple Weekend, with lots of open sugarhouses.
                  http://www.vermontmaple.org/#

                  1. re: dukegirl
                    Science Chick Mar 7, 2007 05:30 AM

                    I would avoid Gould's at all costs...tacky and touristy. Davenports is well off the beaten track and is a very subdued REAL farm. Last time we were there, we passed the time (waiting for our table) by visiting with the new calves....

                    1. re: dukegirl
                      Harp00n Mar 7, 2007 05:28 PM

                      Hi dukegirl, I agree with your pick of Edgar & Helen Gould's Sugar House and have been there, both in and out of sugaring season, many times. I also like Norm Davenport's place and been there many times, as well. Being a good Vermont Hound, I'm sure you're aware that "farms" come in many guises and evolutions. Hell, some of them don't even have any four-legged critters to speak of , save, the family cats & dogs. So I guess those interminably long lines at the Davenports were caused by all those Agro-Travelers, where as, the six generation Goulds only attracted pant-suited tourists in their, equally, interminable lines. BTW, South Face Farm mentioned by posters below is also well worth visiting. Since you've included the Vt. Maple link, I thinks it's only fair to give the Ma. Maple Peeps equal time :-) http://www.massmaple.org/restaurants.htm

                      1. re: Harp00n
                        d
                        dukegirl Mar 8, 2007 03:59 AM

                        Indeed. Sometimes I think that the demise of many family farms is due, in part, to the pressure to include some sort of petting-zoo or other agro-feature, to attract today's suburban families seeking to view "real" farms. But, we digress.... =)

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