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Saturday, March 25, 2006 

Maple Sugaring in Kennebunkport?

Today, the guests of the Maine Stay Inn and the other Historic Inns of Kennebunkport were treated to an informative and entertaining tour of the maple sugaring process.

The event was a collabrative effort of the Giles Family Farm and the Brothers of Christian Education. The maple orchard is located on what was Maine's first Shaker settlement, settled in 1791, in Alfred, Maine. In 1931, the property was purchased from the Shakers by the Brothers of Notre Dame.

While this order of Brothers were involved in many aspects of education throughout the years, today these Brothers are officially retired. They lease portions of their property to the Giles Family Farm to continue much of the work that allowed the Brothers to remain self-sufficient for so many years.

Our informative tour began with a brief history lesson of the property and the maple sugaring process, including its origins back to the native americans. Frank, from the Giles Farm, told us about the differences between the various maples, the sugar maple being the best. We learned about the changes in the sap throughout the sap season which ideally lasts about 30 days.

We continued with a trip down to the sugar shack where the process of boiling-off the water from the sap ultimately results in that "liquid gold" in which we love to drench our pancakes and waffles.

We were then escorted to the Brothers' cafeteria where we enjoyed some delicious, homemade soup and sandwiches. All this was topped off by Maple Apple Pandowdy and vanilla ice cream (yummy).

What a great way to spend a beautiful Spring Saturday afternoon.


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