This winter has seemed like it was never going to end! But, as I write this it is nearly 40 degrees out and the sun is shining. I have full faith that spring is on the way, but before it arrives there is still one last winter tradition that needs to happen- Sugar Shack season! According to Massachusetts Maple Producers sugar season starts in late February and usually lasts through early April.
In late winter, when the weather finally turns a new leaf and there are a few warmer days, the maple trees are tapped and a bucket is hung to collect sap.
A sugar shack is a small house or cabin where the sap collected from maple trees is boiled into maple syrup. Many people in Western Mass have sugar shacks on their property and make sugaring a winter hobby. But the best sugar shacks of the Pioneer Valley of Western Mass aren’t hobby shacks. They’re sugar shacks that are family owned businesses that serve breakfast!
Maple Weekend is March 17-18. Here’s a list of participating sugar shacks!
Tips for Visiting Sugar Shacks Of Western Mass
Here are five tips to make sure you get the most out of your sugar shack experience.
- Get there early or be prepared to wait. Sugar shacks are kind of a big deal in Western Mass. It seems like everyone has a trip to the sugar shack on their to do list. Most sugar shacks have very limited seating.
- Order pancakes or waffles. This seems like it should be a given but if you’re headed out to a sugar shack, make sure you order something that you can enjoy maple syrup with!
- Call ahead or check the website to make sure they’re open and when their sugaring season starts and ends.
- Enjoy the experience. In addition to breakfast, some of the sugar shacks of Western Mass also offer horse and carriage rides, tours, and other fun!
- Bring maple treats home with you! From syrup to maple candies, you’re sure to find something sweet for later!
Sugar Shacks of Western Mass
North Hadley Sugar Shack (Hadley)
Open for breakfast during sugaring season M-F from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm and Sat/Sun from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm. Credit cards accepted. North Hadley Sugar Shack is very kid friendly, but during the height of sugaring season there can be a wait for a table of up to 1 hour. Begins Saturday, February 17th.
Open for breakfast during sugaring season Saturday and Sundays from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm. Unique to the area, they offer an all you can eat sugar house buffet featuring pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, home fries, bacon, sausage, ham and their own pure maple syrup for $11.95 (with reduced prices for children). Begins Saturday, February 24th.
Williams Farm Sugar House (Deerfield)
Open for breakfast during sugaring season on Fridays from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm and on the weekends from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. Other weekday times may be available via reservation. Visa and Mastercard accepted. In addition to breakfast, sweet treats including maple candy and sugar on snow are available. Begins Saturday, February 24th.
Hanging Mountain Farm & Strawbale Cafe (Westhampton)
Open for breakfast year round, except the month of January, on Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm with the last seating at 12:45 pm. Their year round menu is creative and a truly farm to table experience. However, during the sugaring season they switch to a more traditional sugaring menu offering pancakes, waffles, and french toast as well as breakfast meats, homefries, and eggs. Gluten free options are available. Currently open. Sugaring menu begins Saturday, February 24th.
Steve’s Sugar Shack (Westhampton)
Gould’s Sugarhouse was recommended in the comments last year, however there isn’t much information available about it online. Looks like the season starts around March 1. Visit their website for more details.
Lawton Family Sugarhouse doesn’t serve breakfast, but they’re a great stop on Rt. 9 in Williamsburg for maple treats, maple syrup, and more. Visit their Facebook Page.
Have you ever had breakfast at a sugar shack? Is your favorite spot on my list?
I’ve only been to Western Mass in the summer or fall — sounds like I need to come out in the winter and check out a sugar shack!
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I’ve only been to two of these! I have to get on it.
Strawbale is the only one I won’t visit during sugar season, just because I like it the rest of the year when it’s less crowded and expensive.
That said, I love the one in Ashfield! I remember going when pregnant with Scarlet and having to wait an hour. The next year we learned to go earlier!
Tamara recently posted..100 Days.
GOULD’s on the Mohawk Trail in Shelburne is the REAL DEAL!
Another vote for GOULD’s on Mohawk Trail the best around!