Every winter, my sisters and I listened to a radio broadcast of the Maple Queen Contest for the Pennsylvania Maple Festival in Meyersdale, PA. When March came, I and the other members of Berlin Brothersvalley High School’s band actually did march. We made the ten-mile trek to the streets of Meyersdale for the festival’s (usually chilly) annual parade. Every spring, smoke arose from sugar shacks across our county. Sometimes outsiders traveling by mistook the smoke for a structure fire, and called 911. This is how I remember maple sugar season in Somerset County.
A few years ago, my husband and his father took a road trip to Somerset County on their March day off. They started out watching trains. However, by late afternoon they were less than a mile from my own parents’ house in Berlin, PA when they decided to stop at a working sugar shack. They ended up interviewing the owner and taking photos. Here is the blog entry that Jonathan wrote after their trip:
(Even though I grew up down the road from this sugar shack and I most likely went to school with relatives of the sugar shack’s owner, I don’t personally know him. )
As a sidenote, the chapters titled “The Sugar Snow” and “Dance At Grandpa’s” in the children’s book “Little House in the Big Woods” by Laura Ingalls Wilder discuss the making of maple syrup and maple candy.