March 23, 2014: Maple Sugar Day

Today is our exciting home school trip to the maple sugar farm exhibit day.  It’s Sunday and just us, but Dominica has been wanting to do this as part of a sequence with Liesl so we are treating this as a school day, more or less.

We got up early and were on the road at a good time, probably before nine.  The drive from Frankfort down to Cooperstown is really not very far, under an hour, and is a nice drive through country that I do not know very well.  We drive through the heart of the central Leatherstocking region from time to time but go years between trips.  So that was a nice start to the day and thankfully Cooperstown is on the route back home to Peekskill so it cut our drive for later in the day.

It was a little after ten when we got to the Farmers’ Museum in Cooperstown.  I was surprised that the museum was right in Cooperstown.  I had assumed that it would be out in the country.

The museum was really nice.  It was not expensive as the girls were free.  So only $18 for our whole family and that included our lunch!  The museum has a number of old buildings kind of like a really tiny version of the Genesee Country Museum back home.  It was pretty cold today and extremely windy.  We had thought that it was going to be a little warm but the wind took all of that away immediately.

No one was hungry when we first arrived so we instead started by taking the girls to ride on the Empire State Carousel  which they loved.  They both love carousels.  Luciana has only been on one before at Walt Disney World.  Liesl rode on the one in Montecatini Terme in Tuscany in 2012.  They asked to ride over and over so we did that for a while.

From the carousel we went and ate our lunch, which was really nice.  It was just a cafeteria style breakfast but it was really good.  Pancakes, eggs, potatoes, chipotle mayo sauce and, of course, maple syrup.

We went and learned how maple syrup, and ultimately maple sugar, is made.  That was actually pretty fast but I think that it was good for Liesl.  She and I went and looked at buckets hanging on maple trees to learn where the sap actually comes from, she got to see all the stages of cooking down the syrup.  And we got to eat fresh maple syrup poured right onto snow.

We checked out some of the old buildings and went to see the old farm and the farm animals.  There were chickens, turkeys, rabbits, horses, cows and two young oxen that were nearly arrived.  Then we hit the old fashioned general store where Dominica picked up some candy.

On the way out we stopped by the carousel again.  That was definitely the highlight for the girls.

Before leaving we went to the museum store and got a few things.  Noteably the main items was a  nice book on maple syrup making for Liesl.  We decided that we are going to try to get a book from each museum that we go to to help Liesl make a mental map of her education and remember all of the things that we do.  We already have a nice, similar book from the Lisbon Zoo.  She will build up a library of these from places that she visits.  Since we are homeschooling we will be doing lots of things like this.

Once we left the museum we drove around Cooperstown trying to find gas as the tank was nearly empty.  We were unable to find any way to get gas there and ended up making it all of the way to Springfield before we were able to get gas!  That was a little crazy.  When we did stop we found a weird, all girl gas station on the corner of 80 and 20 (if Aram is reading this hopefully he sees the funny juxtaposition of that intersection) where we fueled up and got a gallon of maple syrup much cheaper than we could back in Cooperstown and less than half the cost of getting it in Peekskill.  It’s cheaper to drive upstate and buy it by the gallon than to buy it back home – the cost savings on one gallon of syrup pays for two or more tanks of gas!

We took the back roads back home through the Leatherstocking southern region and into the Catskill Mountains and past many of those old “Dirty Dancing” style resorts.  It was a nice drive.

Got home in the late afternoon and had time to get some things done around the house and relax a little before calling it a day.  It was a nice weekend and the girls had a great time today.