Spring Fling in Muskoka: Muskoka Maple Trail
Set the clocks forward… spring has arrived. The warmer days bring with them not only excitement for pleasant days ahead, but also the onset of maple season. And there is no place that embraces the season better than Muskoka.
In years past, settlers depended on the harvest of maple sap to provide an alternative to expensive imported sugar. It boiled down (if you pardon the pun) to making the most of the resources of the land, adapting ages-old techniques learned from First Nations.
Today, maple season is pure pleasure. Embark on the Muskoka Maple Trail (muskokamaple.com) to learn, taste and experience all things maple.
Luxury and warm hospitality unite at JW Marriott The Rosseau Resort in Minett (marriott.com). Overlooking Lake Rosseau, and with first-rate amenities for the entire family, its a prime weekended destination. Enjoy a maple cinnamon latte on the deck and gaze out at the water below where the receding ice heralds the arrival of spring.
You don’t have to venture far to get to the business of enjoying Muskoka’s maple offerings. The resort offers seasonal enrichment programming, including maple-themed campfire treats (April 1, 8, 15, 22), luxuriant offerings at the Hydrospa Muskoka.
The Rosseau covers all the maple-dining bases with maple butternut squash, maple BBQ chicken wings, and divine maple cheesecake. But, of course, there are other venues across Muskoka offering up seasonal eats. More than a dozen, in fact.
Who doesn’t love ice cream, right? Affogato Café + Gelato in Huntsville (72 Main Street E., affogatomuskoka.com) is offering Maple Oat sorbetto – a creamy gelato made in house with Maple Lodge maple syrup – by the scoop or in take-home tubs. Just down the street, Beavertails Huntsville (69 Main Street E, beavertails.com) dress their already mouth-watering beavertails with maple flavoured spread and maple sugar crunch).
While in Huntsville, take dinner at Three Guys and a Stove (143 Highway 60 E., 3guysandastove.com) and dive into charred pork back ribs with Muskoka Maple Molasses BBQ sauce – at hit at the Muskoka Maple Festival. Purchase a bottle to bring home.
Returning from Huntsville, be certain to drop in at Sugarbush Hill Maple Farm (2389 Muskoka District Rd. 10 West, sugarbushhill.com) Muskoka’s largest sugarbush operation with 3200 tapped trees, Sugarbush Hill provides The Rosseau with all it’s spring sweetness. Trek along the Sugarbush Hiking Trail to see the network of tubing carrying sap to the sugarhouse for processing, browse the Maple Shop, and drop into the Maple Heritage Cabin and its collection of antique maple harvest tools, including kettle boiling display that reminds us how far the art of maple syrup making has come in the last two centuries. Attend April 1-2 for family fun-filled Maple Weekend.
Or, perhaps better yet, time your sweet getaway to take in the culmination of maple season in the region, the Muskoka Maple Festival (April 29, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., muskokamaple.com/maple-festival) on Main Street in Huntsville. Come hungry; fill yourself with fluffy flat jacks at the Rotary Pancake Breakfast (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and then indulge in any number of maple-inspired dishes from local restaurants.
The festivities include live music, buskers, shopping at the Maple Market Place, amazing demonstrations by the Great Canadian Lumberjack Show, and interactive activities for all ages.