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Maple flavors a weekend of activities

(This is the second in a two-part series.)

It's that time of year again for Maple Weekend and that raises the question: Why exactly is there a Maple Weekend in New York State?

Sure, Vermont may be best known for maple syrup, but here's a surprise: our state is the fourth largest producer of maple syrup in the world. More than 220,000 gallons of syrup was made by nearly 1,500 maple syrup producers last year.

Maple Weekend has its roots in a one-day event that began about 10 years ago when Wyoming County maple producers opened their doors to show the process of maple producing from the tree to the table.

Today, Maple Weekend is a statewide event, held this year from from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and next Sunday. About 40 Western New York maple producers are among those opening their sugarhouses to illustrate all aspects of maple making, from the tapping of the trees to the boiling of sap into syrup. Family friendly events include horse and wagon rides, guided walks and activities geared toward the kids.

Bring along your appetite. There will be plenty of samples of maple products, from maple cotton candy to maple sugar, as well as pancake breakfasts.

Here's a sampling of participating maple producers and events. It is by no means complete; for the most current schedule, go to www.mapleweekend.com. It's also best to call the individual farms and businesses for hours and offerings.

Allegany County

* Baldwin Hill Farms, 8508 Baldwin Hill Road, Rushford; (585) 437-5019.

* Bob's Sugar Shack, 10510 Ballard Road, Fillmore; (585) 567-8834.

* Cartwright's Maple Tree Inn, 4321 County Road 15A, Angelica; (585) 567-8181.

* Emerson Maple Farm, 570 Emerson Road, Alfred Station; (607) 276-6481.

* Harvey's Maple Spout, 14 Miller St., Canaseraga; (607) 545-8375.

Cattaraugus County

* Fred Boberg, 2298 Edmunds Road, Delevan; 492-3789. Open March 19 only.

* Gage's Maple Syrup, 9214 Cottage Road, South Dayton; 988-3414.

* Moore's Maple Shack & Pancake House, 10437 Galen Hill Road, Freedom; 492-3067. The restaurant is open daily (except Mondays) through April 20.

* Wright Farms, 9136 Laidlaw Road, Farmersville; 676-2505. Open March 19 only.

Chautauqua County

* Big Tree Maple, 2040 Holly Lane, Lakewood; 763-5917.

* Fairbanks Maple, Shaw Road, Forestville; 965-4208. Offers horse-drawn wagon rides on March 19.

* Gustafson's Maple Country USA, 2507 Quaint Road, Falconer; 665-6373.

* Sweetridge Maple Shoppe, 9120 South Dayton Silver Creek Road, Forestville; 988-5933, www.sweetridgemaple.com.

Genesee County

* Indian Acres Maple Farm, 2005 Broadway (Route 20), Darien; (585) 547-3557.

* Randall's Maple Products, 10307 Smithley Road, Alexander; (585) 547-3596, www.randallsmaple.com. Open March 19 only.

Wyoming County

* Arcade Center Farm Pancake House, 7298 Route 98, Arcade; (585) 492-3821.

* Beaver Meadow Audubon Center, 1610 Welch Road, North Java; (800) 377-1520.

* Beaver Meadow Audubon Center hosts it annual Maple Harvest Festival, Saturday and next Sunday.

* Bray Farms, 1597 Bray Road, Arcade; (585) 492-3659.

* George's Maple Products, 1766 Route 77, Strykersville; (585) 591-1531.

* Glosser Farms, 2460 Orangeville Center Road, Varysburg; (585) 786-0438. Open March 19 only.

* Hillside Acres, 2253 Route 20A, Varysburg; (585) 535-0928.

* Kirsch's Maple, 3175 Route 77, Sheldon; (585) 535-7006.

* Merle Maple Farms, 1884 Route 98, Attica; (585) 535-7136, www.merlemaple.com. Activities include wagon rides, demonstrations, calf petting and crafts.

* Perl's Sugar Shanty, 1545 Centerline Road, Varysburg; (585) 591-3519.

* Siler's Sugar Shanty, 2401 Pee Dee Road, North Java; 457-9748.

* Welch's Maple, 1420 Saltvale Road, Wyoming; (585) 495-6269; www.welchsmaple.com. Open March 19 only.

* Whispering Brook Farms, 5066 Wolcott Road, Gainesville; (585) 322-9028. Open March 19 only.

* Wolcott Maple Syrup & Equipment, 1247 Dale Road, Dale; (585) 786-3893; www.wolcottmaple.com. Open March 19 only.

* Zimpfer Maple Products, 3028 Merle Road, Attica; (585) 591-1190.

>Pancakes

Official Maple Weekend pancake breakfasts include:

* Arcade Center Farms Pancake House, 7298 Route Route 98 in Arcade, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and next Sunday.

* Arkport Exchange Club, Arkport Village Hall, Park Street in Arkport, 7 to 10 a.m. next Sunday.

* Chaffee-Sardinia Fire Company, Route 39 (west of Savage) in Sardinia, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. next Sunday.

* First Presbyterian Church of East Aurora, 9 Paine St. in East Aurora, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. next Sunday.

* Gowanda Fire Hall, East Main Street in Gowanda, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. next Sunday.

* Moore's Maple Shack & Pancake House, 10437 Galen Hill Road in Freedom, Saturday and next Sunday.

* Perry-Warsaw Airport, 6522 Perry-Warsaw Road in Perry, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and next Sunday.

* Rushville Firemen's Pancake Breakfast, one block off Main Street (Route 245), 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and next Sunday.

* Shelby Fire Hall, Route 63 in Shelby, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. next Sunday.

>Along the way

In addition to last week's One-Tank Trip to Arcade, we've received some expert advice on other side trips to make during Maple Weekend.

There are plenty of places to enjoy along the way to the Finger Lakes, according to Pat Charland, vice president of marketing for the Finger Lakes Visitors Connection.

At the Loomis Barn and Country Shops, 4942 Loomis Road, Rushville, the motto is "make it a day in the country." Browse through furniture, gifts and accessories; experience maple production at the sugar house; and enjoy homemade food at the Corn House Cafe.

Plenty of fun is planned from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. as part of Maple Weekend including wagon rides, baby farm animals and children's activities. Note the cafe will be closed during Maple Weekend; the Loomis family is sending folks over for a pancake breakfast at the Rushville Firemen's new fire house, one block off Main Street (Route 245).

The Artizanns-Gifts from the Finger Lakes, 23 Mill St., is Naples' newest boutique and offers original artwork and distinctive gifts created by Finger Lakes' artisans. Info: (585) 374-6740, www.artizanns.com

The intimate Brown Hound Bistro, 6459 Route 64, Naples, located in a 100-year-old house, is a must for dining. Info: (585) 374-9771, www.brownhoundbistro.com.

Right next door to Brown Hound is the Arbor Hill Grapery, 6461 Route 64 Bristol, Naples, home of award-winning state wines and gourmet food products like grape jelly, preserves, vinegars, wine jellies and dessert wine sauces. Info: (585) 374-2768, www.thegrapery.com

As you leave Arbor Hill, be sure to travel County Road 12 (the high road) for one of the most spectacular scenic views in the Finger Lakes. As you head back north, make a quick stop by Monica's Pies, 7599 Route 21, Naples, for a slice of the famous Grape Crumb pie treat, among others, to take home. Info: (585) 374-2139; www.monicaspies.com.

The Cumming Nature Center, 6472 Gulick Road, Naples, is hosting Maple Sugaring weekends March 25-26 and April 1-2. There will be sugaring demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and pancakes served from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on those days.

For info, call (585) 374-6160.

***

Those heading into Orleans County can check out Maple Weekend activities at Flyway Farm.

Terry and Pat Laubisch's Flyway Farm will be boiling maple syrup and opening their sugar house to the public on Saturday and next Sunday. Flyway Farm is in a park-like setting dotted with trees three-feet in diameter.

The farm is located next to the Iroquois Wildlife Refuge, so visitors can marvel at the nesting bald eagles and Canada geese flying overhead. Flyway Farm will also have Alpaca Llamas on display, products for sale and tours. Info: (585) 798-0751.

If you're heading to Flyway Farms, stop first for a Maple Sunday Pancake Breakfast at the Shelby Fire Company, 4677 South Gravel Road, Medina. Served 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 19, the hungry man breakfast is an all-you-can-eat feast that includes eggs, homefries, ham, sausage. Info: (585) 798-2667.