By: Sue Geyer, Currier Museum of Art GSA Class of 2010
Recently a group of GSAs had the pleasure of enjoying a Sugar Party at Parker’s Maple Barn in Mason, NH. What a treat!! We started with a guided tour of their 19th century Sugar House. Unfortunately, it was a little late in the season, so we weren’t able to get the full experience. However, it was still a fabulous tour with a lot of history and a complete description of the process. Our guide, Cathy, was amazing! Since Parker’s doesn’t have as many trees to tap as they’d like, they are able use trees from neighboring properties, including hers! After the tour, we had a fabulous breakfast. We were a large group, but Shawn and Stephanie were able to accommodate us with efficiency and smiles. Everyone I talked to loved their breakfast. Some of us were able to do some shopping in their gift shop, the Corn Crib, a great place for anyone who is looking for NH-related gifts.
Thank you to Tanya Roberts, Co-director of Operations, for her help to set up a very delightful morning. I know I recommend Parker’s to friends and guests any chance I get!
Here is some feedback from our GSAs who were able to attend:
It was a delightful, informative and very delicious morning! We will go back and will recommend to family, friends and to others we meet at volunteer opportunities. Thank you to Cathy our tour guide, Stephanie our server, and Tanya and Sue for making this tour possible!
I have lived in New England and been on many a maple syrup operation tour over the years, as well as making maple syrup at home myself. The tour at Parker’s Maple Barn was without a doubt the best maple syrup tour I have ever had. I learned far more than I ever thought I would. The demonstration on how the Native Americans did it was fascinating, as well as using a hydrometer to determine the sugar content and the talk about how the syrup is filtered. We then went in for a delicious breakfast. I shared the cherry cream cheese filled French toast served – DIVINE! I also had my first ham hash which is also without a doubt a winner. I definitely recommend both the tour and of course the breakfast.
~ Ginks L, Deering, NH
It was an excellent morning. Cathy’s tour was great. Her information about maple syrup – the new classification system, the colors, how the colors develop, the sugar content – was very interesting.
Never have I seen a server (Stephanie) actually run back to the kitchen to get orders for tables. Over and above, but much appreciated!
It was fun and great to see such a turnout of old and newer GSAs. We’ve been to maple sugar houses over the years, but none as historically informative as Cathy’s tour. The tour was most interesting. And the food and company were great.
~Irene & Bob M
The tour of Parker’s Maple Barn was both fun and educational. I learned a lot about how maple syrup is made. Our tour guide Cathy clearly described the entire process from how the trees are tapped to how they determine the grade of the finished product. It was great to see the equipment they use and how tools have changed and yet how the process remains much like it was in colonial times.
~Jo Ann M
I enjoyed the tour of Parker’s Maple Barn and learned a few new things, although I had been there before. The sculpture inside the barn between the window and cooking chamber would line up with the moon at its curve to indicate it was time to tap the trees for syrup.
I lived in maple syrup making country my entire life and never knew that the process was so involved and interesting. The food was wonderful, and the waitress was very efficient. I thank everyone involved in planning this outing! It was great!!
I agree, it was an amazing morning at Parker’s Maple Barn. I love that Parker’s uses a real wood fire in their maple reduction process. Who doesn’t love the sound of a crackling fire on a chilly morning! The restaurant’s impressive menu includes gluten friendly waffles, so there is something for everyone.
Listening to our great tour guide Cathy describe the maple sugaring process only made me want to come back during sap season next year to see if the steam coming off of the boiling smells of maple syrup!
I found the tour quite informative and always wondered how the sap traveled through the trees and when they knew when to stop tapping. Also met two new GSA volunteers which was a nice treat too. Fabulous food and Stephanie, our server, was great!
This whole activity was extraordinary for some 30 of us ambassadors! I tend to be a “detailist” so here are just a couple of “details“, and although only details, they perfectly represent the superior service of Parker’s: 1) Our server, Shawn, was superb, as he handed out each bill to our table of eight people without a single mix-up! 2) At some point during my meal, I asked for another bottle of maple syrup, and in spite of his busy responsibilities with dozens of other people, he presented me with another bottle quickly! It was a wonderful meal.
Everything was wonderful, a great time!
Have you ever been to Parker’s Maple Barn? Well, I have visited them on several occasions over the years, typically in the spring, with a group of friends, when the boiling of the sap is in full swing.
This past Thursday, along with 20 or so other GSA, I returned for this year’s visit. While the boiling season has basically ended in Mason, the tour we were given gave us an overview of the entire process, including a brief history on just how it’s believed the maple syrup industry got its start.
After the tour, we were escorted into the restaurant and allowed to order off the menu. With 30 or so people placing orders almost all at once, I expected a bit of a wait but was pleasantly surprised when the food arrived.
While I won’t speak for others, my meal was great, but I’ve come to expect that, having sampled many of their offering over the years.
I can highly recommend Parker’s for anybody who might want to get a fix of pure New Hampshire Maple Syrup on a short stack of pancakes, to a waffle. You can’t beat it!
Fun to see how the process of syrup making has changed over the years–and the food was great!!
I enjoyed the tour. The tour guide was very informative and interesting. The food was great.
What a fabulous experience touring Parker’s Maple Barn and having an opportunity to enjoy a delicious breakfast served with their own maple syrup. I have heard of Parker’s for years, and had never been. It was so informative to learn about the maple sugaring process and then taste the fruits of their labor. The gift shop was also wonderful – filled with so many local products and unique gifts for anyone and everyone.
I had a wonderful time, I especially enjoyed meeting other GSA’s.
Pictures from the day can be found here.