Six in 10 Americans would cancel or avoid trips by air in the event of a government shutdown
WASHINGTON – A federal government shutdown is estimated to cost the U.S. travel economy as much as $140 million a day, according to new analysis for the U.S. Travel Association—underscoring the dire consequences of Congress failing to pass a short-term extension by September 30.
“Each day that passes will cost the travel economy $140 million, an unacceptable prospect that Congress must avoid before the clock runs out and the damages mount,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman. “The federal government is already failing the traveler—a shutdown would be further proof of Washington’s inability to find reasonable solutions to problems that affect Americans nationwide.”
Other government-related travel issues—such as lengthy visitor visa interview wait times and passport and Global Entry processing delays—further constrain travel growth and spending.
SURVEY: AMERICANS WILL CANCEL OR AVOID AIR TRAVEL IN FACE OF SHUTDOWN
During a government shutdown, the U.S. air travel system is hampered by more flight delays, longer screening lines and setbacks in air travel modernization.
A new survey from Ipsos and U.S. Travel further underscores these steep negative consequences: Six in 10 Americans (60%) would cancel or avoid trips by air in the event of a shutdown.
Further, a large majority of Americans—regardless of political party—are not in favor of a government shutdown, especially from a travel perspective. More than eight in 10 of all Americans agree government shutdowns hurt the economy (81%), inconvenience air travelers (86%), impact businesses that depend on air travelers (83%) as well as tourist attractions like national parks, museums and local businesses (83%).
CONGRESS MUST PASS SHORT-TERM FAA EXTENSION
Coinciding with the federal budget deadline, the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) authorization is set to expire on September 30. Congress has yet to pass a full FAA reauthorization bill, so they must pass a temporary extension of FAA programs. Inaction on an FAA renewal bill would further compound challenges for travelers.
U.S. Travel Association is calling on Congress to pass a short-term extension by September 30 and continues to call on the Senate to act quickly on a long-term FAA reauthorization bill.
“This completely avoidable situation threatens livelihoods and jobs across the U.S. economy,” said Freeman. “Ultimately, travelers, businesses and workers will pay the price if lawmakers fail to enact a stop-gap funding bill.”
The U.S. travel industry, on the rebound after the crushing pandemic, generates $1.9 trillion in economic output, accounts for 2.9% of U.S. GDP, and employs 15 million people.
U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing the $1.2 trillion travel industry, an essential contributor to our nation’s economy and success. U.S. Travel produces programs and insights and advocates for policies to increase travel to and within the United States. Visit ustravel.org for information and recovery-related data.
Auburn, NY, invites you to celebrate International Underground Railroad Month this September by introducing an innovative app that offers two self-guided driving tours—a 24-stop exploration in Auburn and a 27-site adventure across Cayuga County. The app seamlessly blends technology and history, bringing the Underground Railroad to life.
Auburn, renowned as the chosen home of Harriet Tubman, an iconic figure in the Underground Railroad, has a rich history of freedom-seeking efforts that predates her arrival.
The Underground Railroad in Cayuga County thrived as early as the 1830s, thanks to a diverse group of individuals dedicated to helping those seeking freedom. By the 1850s, Cayuga County was home to around 400 Black residents, with 200 in Auburn alone, many of whom were descendants of the region’s earliest settlers.
Additionally, visitors can enjoy an in-person guided experience led by Ted Freeman, a descendant of Harry and Kate Freeman, with deep ties to the Underground Railroad and the New Guinea Negro Settlement. Harry and Kate Freeman were the co-founders of the city of Auburn, New York. They were taken and made slaves from Guinea, Africa, later freed by the Mansfield Decree in England and came to the colonies as indentured servants who fought in the Revolutionary War, and created one of the most important stations and terminals during the Underground Railroad Movement.
“We believe this innovative technology and guided experience offer a fresh perspective on our past, empowering us to shape the future,” says Claire Dunlap, Director of Sales at Tour Cayuga.
This project, supported by extensive research, identifies historic sites that remain on Cayuga County’s landscape, serving as reminders of the people who committed their lives to freedom.
Set on a stunning hillside on the Mendocino, California, coast overlooking the ocean, the luxury, all-vegan Stanford Inn prides itself on being committed to the highest ideal of sustainability and eco-tourism, not only for its own operations, but in sharing its knowledge and passion and inculcating the mindset and the means in its guests.
“Eco-tourism isn’t just choosing an exotic, threatened natural environment for your next vacation,” the inn declares. “It also means traveling in a way that protects and respects your destination, and improves your own well-being as well as that of the local community and the whole planet.”
Towards this end:
On-site certified organic gardens supplies the resort’s whole plant-based Ravens Restaurant, nationally acclaimed for gourmet vegan cuisine that focuses on whole plants rather than ersatz meats, cheeses or processed substitutes.
The Inn offers cooking classes, from beginner up, as well as on-site classes in organic gardening and farming.
The Inn shares its knowledge, experience and passion through its Environmental Leadership Field School, where it promotes a sustainable mindset that begins with understanding soil, gardening, food production and preparation.
The Inn works to reduce its carbon footprint, has vigorous composting and recycling programs, bio-diesel fueled trucks and providing guests access to nine EV charging stations.
The Inn only uses sustainable lumber, paints, cleaning supplies and other materials for the frequent upgrades made to the property.
The Stanford Inn founders, Joan and Jeff Stanford, moved to Mendocino in 1980, say, “…we were changed by the creative and healing energies of the land which is situated between the vast Pacific Ocean and the vibrant Big River. Since then, we have worked to assure our guests have an opportunity to experience what we experience: a special place that enlivens and inspires. The energies we experience here nurtured us and we reciprocate by nurturing not only our guests, but the people who work here, the farm and gardens and the Mendocino community. We approach the inn as a small family farm. We treat our guests as we do our family.”
New York State has opened reservations at seven state park campgrounds for prime viewing of the rare total solar eclipse in April 2024 The early opening for reservations will help accommodate an expected influx of visitors heading to several regions of the state to witness the celestial event.
“Next year, New Yorkers and visitors alike will have the opportunity to witness an extraordinary, celestial show in our state as the solar eclipse passes over the heart of Western New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Adirondacks in 2024,” Governor Kathy Hochul said. “Our State Parks will open campground accommodations early, prior to the traditional camping season, to ensure people can see this amazing display in one of New York’s beautiful natural settings. I encourage all who are interested to reserve their spot beginning this week for this incredible event.”
Starting the week of July 3, 2023, reservations will become available from State Parks at a total of 335 campsites, cottages and cabins stretching across eight counties in western, central, and northern New York. On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will trace a narrow path of totality across 15 U.S. states, including much of western and upstate New York. For visitors with reservations for the night of April 8, check-out time is 11:00 a.m. the following morning, so visitors can avoid traffic and enjoy the attractions of the region after the eclipse.
“Visitors not only will get a chance to see this inspiring cosmic display – which won’t happen again in the continental U.S. until 2044 – they will also be able to enjoy the beauty of early spring in some of our most beautiful State Parks and see how we are continuing to enhance our accommodations,” New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said,
Reservations can be made nine months in advance for a minimum of two nights through ReserveAmerica.com.
Sites will be available April 4-8 at the following State Parks:
Allegany State Park, 2373 ASP, Rte 1, Salamanca, NY 14779 (Allegany County), for 165 sites, including campsites, cabins, cottages, and a group camp. New reservations open July 4.
Fair Haven Beach State Park, 14985 State Park Road, Fair Haven, NY 13064 (Cayuga County) for 29 cabins and one cottage. Reservations open July 5.
Letchworth State Park, 1 Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY 14427 (Livingston/Wyoming counties) for 19 cabins and cottages. Reservations open July 5.
Evangola State Park, 10191 Old Lake Shore Road, Irving, NY 14081 (Erie County) for 25 campsites. Reservations open July 5.
Four Mile Creek State Park, 1055 Lake Road, Youngstown, NY 14174 (Niagara County) for 50 campsites. Reservations open July 5.
Golden Hill State Park, 9691 Lower Lake Road, Barker, NY 14012 (Niagara County) for 25 campsites. Reservations open July 5.
Wellesley Island State Park, 44927 Cross Island Road, Fineview, NY 13640 (Jefferson County) for 21 cabins and cottages. New reservations open July 5.
In the U.S., the eclipse will pass northeast through Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The eclipse will begin in western New York shortly after 2 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Full totality will begin in Chautauqua County at 3:17 p.m., moving through the state to Plattsburgh at 3:25 p.m.. Locations in the path of totality could experience total darkness for up to 4 minutes. The eclipse will then enter Canada in southern Ontario, and continue through Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Cape Breton.
The next total solar eclipse that will be visible from the contiguous U.S. will not be until August 2044.
A total solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and earth, completely blocking the face of the sun. People viewing the eclipse from locations where the moon’s shadow completely covers the Sun – known as the path of totality – will experience a total solar eclipse. The sky will become dark, as if it were dawn or dusk. Weather permitting, people along the path of totality will see the sun’s corona, or outer atmosphere, which is usually obscured by the bright face of the sun.
Except during the brief total phase of a total solar eclipse, when the moon completely blocks the sun’s bright face, it is unsafe to look directly at the sun without specialized eye protection for solar viewing. According to NASA, viewing any part of the sun through a camera lens, binoculars, or a telescope without a special-purpose solar filter secured over the front of the optics will instantly cause severe eye injury. The partial phases of the solar eclipse can only be safely observed directly with specialized solar viewing glasses (“eclipse glasses”) or a handheld solar viewer. Regular sunglasses, polarized or otherwise, are not a safe replacement for solar eclipse glasses.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which in 2022 were visited by record 79.5 million people. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit www.parks.ny.gov, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518.474.0456. Also, connect on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
DEATH VALLEY, Calif. – May The Fourth – (April 2023, on Earth) –Lights, Camera, Vacation! While set-jetting may be one of the biggest trends this year, movie fans have been vacationing at The Oasis at Death Valley for decades on a quest to visit location sites “a galaxy far, far, away” from the 1977 movie Star Wars. These visits start inevitable tales of when the movie’s director came to this true American Oasis in 3.4 million square miles of desert, oasis and mountain national park to film and transport people to another galaxy.
In celebration of the epic tale and Hollywood franchise, “Star Wars,” The Oasis at Death Valley hyper-spaced an exclusive map for guests leading them to the filming locations that are easily accessible via car.
Past generations of employees have shared stories with newer generations and certainly know where the movie locations are. These include the breathtakingly and picturesque locations throughout Death Valley National Park including Dante’s View, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Desolations Canyon, Artist’s Drive and Golden Canyon – all just a quick 20-to-40-minute drive from the Resort – the only resort in Death Valley National Park.
Just two hours from Las Vegas through the desert and more than four hours from Los Angeles, the nearest town or pretty much anything is at least an hour’s drive at a high-speed limit and no traffic lights.
And if you want to explore the universe, this is the place – it’s one of the only gold-tier designated International Dark Sky Parks in the United States where stargazers can see the Milky Way with the naked eye.
While Death Valley may seem like another universe to vacationers, those in the know have also found an “oasis-like planet” that is the luxurious AAA Four-Diamond The Inn at Death Valley and the family-friendly The Ranch at Death Valley both part of the recent $150 million renaissance at the Oasis at Death Valley. Death Valley is usually sunny (there is almost no rain). There are few bugs. It’s also beautiful and the Oasis boasts massive swimming pools, gardens, golf, tennis, horseback riding, numerous restaurants, a date palm grove, a general store, post office and ample lush lawns to run and play or do just nothing but take in the stunning scenery during the day and stars at night. There is a resort, a hotel, private casitas, and 80 new cottages.
The town of Taos, New Mexico has fewer than 7,000, is a UNESCO heritage site known for its culturally significant Taos pueblos and homes. Taos also has limitless outdoor recreation opportunities for curious and adventure loving families and on Earth Day, is showcasing its eco-friendly and sustainable attractions:
UNESCO world heritage sites and art museums- From the rich Native and Spanish cultures to the characters of the Old Wild West, Taos museums can also take you on a walk-through history. Taos Pueblos are a UNESCO heritage site and a sovereign Pueblo Indian community.
Earthship Tours – See sustainable homes built with bales of straw, old tires, bottles, and cans. An earth ship is an off-the-grid and self-sufficient home that is made from primarily natural and recycled materials like earth-rammed tires, cans, and bottles.
Casa Gallina is committed to being a good steward of the environment and does so through their sustainable practices such as conserving water through drip irrigation and the usage of acequias.
Taos Goji is an eco-lodge that has a strong emphasis on the full cycle of sustainability at their onsite farm. Goji’s fruit and vegetables are pesticide free and organically cultivated. Their water comes from deep wells, fed by mountain aquifers.
Seconds EcoStore is a retail store selling stylish recycled, solar powered and green gifts, featuring lots of local design. This store has seen an unfurling of adventurous recycled redesign and an evolution of new ideas birthed from the waste stream.
Moxie is a store that supports the local economy by purchasing locally and supporting nonprofit organizations.
Taos Acequia Association is committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of Taos’s traditional agricultural community by protecting water rights, preserving, and strengthening the acequia system.
Taos Earthships is an off the grid community including more than 300 acres of land using solar and wind power exclusively. Each earthship is a self-sufficient dwelling built with natural and recycled materials with energy conservation in mind and some of the homes can be rented out by the night.
The “Grandest Railway” to Grand Canyon and the “French Fry Express” (an environmentally sensitive 100-year-old steam engine still chugging)
A 150-Year-Old Narrow Gauge Railroad (small tracks and trains) that many some say is the “Holy Grail” of RR preservation
There are places in America where you can travel on a historic steam train, its engine running at speed (go fast), where you can climb America’s only accessible 14,115-foot mountain (higher than Machu Picchu), ride on a 150-year-old railroad lost in time and coming back to life in the beautiful valleys of central Pennsylvania. This is where open windows, swaying cars, sounds, smells and movement are as fun as the rides found at Coney Island. Here’s a ticket to ride this summer on four of the most interesting, unique, and even if one has small trains and tracks (but offers a mighty experience) called a narrow gauge.
A Pikes Peak Cog Railway train approaching the summit at 14,115 feet in Colorado
THE BROADMOOR MANITOU & PIKES PEAK COG RAILWAY (Manitou, CO to the summit at Pikes Peak – 14,115 feet)
Climb every mountain. Well, there is only one 14-thousand-foot mountain in the US that you don’t have to climb. You can take the train. A unique train – a cog. At The Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway, America’s highest railway reaches a height of 14,115 feet. This is where the words to the song “American The Beautiful” were composed. Completely rebuilt, it’s back and better than ever climbing’ up America’s Mountain. This iconic railway is one of only two cog railways in the U.S.
Originally built in 1891 and owned and operated by The Broadmoor since 1925, this historic railway is the highest railroad in America, the highest cog railway in the world, one of Colorado’s top attractions, and one of the nation’s most unique experiences.
The Railway runs every day. For information and reservations, hop onboard at www.cograilway.com
4960 pulls a train on Grand Canyon Railway
THE GRAND CANYON RAILWAY (Williams, AZ on Rt. 66 to steps from South Rim, Grand Canyon)
Grand Canyon Railway has been taking people to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon since 1901 when it was built by the legendary Atkinson, Topeka and Santa Fe (ATSF). Grand Canyon Railway runs daily from Williams, AZ on historic Rt. 66 to within steps of the Grand Canyon South Rim and El Tovar. The pristine train, comprised of railcars from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, including luxury dome cars and an open platform observation car, as well as vintage coaches with opening windows, departs at 9:30 a.m. and returns at 5:45 p.m. with a 2.5-hour layover at South Rim of Grand Canyon. The train rolls directly into Grand Canyon National Park daily, taking an estimated 70,000 cars off the road each year.
During most of the summer and into early fall, the Railway pulls the train once a month with a massive 100-year-old steam engine built in 1923 that runs on waste vegetable oil. There is no extra charge. It is believed that Grand Canyon Railway is the last standard gauge passenger railroad in the US where steam engines are still scheduled to pull revenue trains.
Save 30% on train tickets when you book in conjunction with any 1 or 2-night stay at The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel.
Visit www.thetrain.com or call 1-800-THE-TRAIN (1-800-843-8724) for updated and current information on both the hotel and the train. It is now also possible to charter an entire luxury private railroad car or even an entire private train complete with chefs, bartenders, entertainers, and staff. These are ideal for “milestone” moments such as graduations, family reunions, anniversaries, weddings, birthdays. For charters call 928-635-5700 or visit www.thetrain.com/charters.
Newly restored locomotive, No. 16, pulls into the historic Orbisonia Station
The East Broad Top Railroad (Orbisonia, Central Pennsylvania) A 150-year old, and the only narrow-gauge railway East of the Mississippi, is an American treasure. This is one of the true treasures of American railroading. And while you can simply enjoy a scenic train ride, it is far more of an experience…allowing visitors to immerse themselves in a National Historic Landmark that is almost completely frozen in time.
The railroad is considered by the Smithsonian to be one of the best-preserved examples of 19th century American narrow gauge railroads (the rails less than 4 feet apart so the trains, and everything is smaller than “standard” railroads) and industrial complexes in the country.
The East Broad Top Railroad (EBT) located in Orbisonia, PA is nestled in the rolling hills and farmlands in the central part of the state. The EBT will start running again in May, with a recently restored steam engine that sat dormant for nearly 70 years, pulling one-hour train rides with space available in comfortable enclosed passenger cars, open air cars, or even a vintage caboose. Trains run on a nine-mile round-trip ride from the historic station in Orbisonia to a picturesque picnic grove and back through a classically beautiful Pennsylvania valley, nearly untouched by the rushing, modern and worried world.
Prices begin at $20 for adults and $18 for children. Guided tours of the railroad’s remarkably intact late 19th/early 20th century machine shop complex are also available every day that trains operate. Reservations are strongly suggested as the renaissance of this railroad is drawing national and international attention. For information and reservations visit www.eastbroadtop.com or call 814-447-3285.
A rafting adventure through Desolation Canyon is ideal for families with children as young as 5. Western River Expeditions offers weekly departures June through August.
SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Ranked one of the “The 25 Best New Trips” in the World by National Geographic Adventure and one of the “Best Whitewater Rafting Trips in America” by Outside Magazine, a 5-day rafting journey down this legendary canyon with Western River Expeditions in 2023 is something to seriously consider.
And this may be the year to do it. The snowpack covering the watersheds of the Green and Colorado rivers is 143.59% of the historic March 28th average. The best it has been in over ten years.
Whether a seasoned rafter or a first-timer, this 84-mile stretch of the Green River provides an unforgettable journey through some of the most spectacular landscapes in the American West. Here are 11 fun facts about Utah’s Desolation Canyon.
Utah’s Desolation Canyon, carved over millennia by the 730-mile Green River (spawned by glacial melts on the Continental Divide in the wilds of northern Wyoming), was traversed first in its entirety by the Smithsonian Institution that sent Major John Wesley Powell in 1869 to explore the canyon.
Nearly 100 years later, Desolation Canyon, one of the most remote areas in the lower 48 states, was named a National Historic Landmark in 1968 as part of the centennial celebration of the Powell expedition. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
Desolation Canyon and the surrounds of its accompanying Green River compose one of the most remote (no roads, towns, cell service) destinations in the continental United States.
At 290,845 acres, the Desolation Canyon Wilderness Study Area (WSA) is the largest WSA managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the contiguous 48 states.
At its deepest point, a relief of over 5,000 feet (1,500 m) exists from river level to the unseen rim of the Tavaputs Plateau. This display is a result of Nature’s handiwork over 40 million years.
The entire eastern side of the river and canyon (river left on descent) sits entirely on Ute Tribal Lands of the Unita-Ouray Reservation, the second largest Indian Reservation in the U.S.
There are around 75 discovered archaeological sites throughout the canyon. Fremont (people foraged and planted corn here from the 7th to the 13th centuries) and Ute pictographs and petroglyphs are abundant.
Fremont granaries, as well as several abandoned homesteaders’ ranches, testify to the agricultural potential of riparian alluvial fan landforms sited between steep slopes and valleys. The landforms are larger in Desolation Canyon than in any other canyon of the Colorado – Green River system.
Over 60 named class two and three rapids challenge boaters. The gradual increase in size and difficulty of rapids make it an ideal place for beginner to intermediate boaters to develop their skills.
Elk were transplanted into the area in 1988. Today, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep frequent the WSA. Other inhabitants are cougar, black bear, mule deer, endangered bald eagle, and peregrine falcon.
David McPherson started ranching with his family up Florence Creek in 1889. The McPherson homestead sat right along the path of the Outlaw Trail, used by the infamous robbers Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch. Cassidy, George “Flat-Nose” Curry, Ben Morrison and Josie Bassett all spent time in the canyon hiding from the law.
A rafting adventure through Desolation Canyon is ideal for families with children as young as 5. There are weekly departures June through August, with availability on many 2023 dates. A 5-day/4-night adventure begins and ends in Moab, Utah, and includes a scenic flight that lands atop a dramatic desert plateau where the group begins a short descent on foot to the river put-in. The per person rate for adults (age 16 and up) is from $1,955 and for youth (age 5-15) from $1,255. For details see https://www.westernriver.com/desolation-canyon
Guests may choose to paddle themselves in two-person, inflatable kayaks or to relax in a guide-powered oar boat. They enjoy deluxe camping on broad, sandy beaches along the river bank after savoring delicious meals prepared by trained guides. Whether on the river, enjoying a hike, or chatting by the campfire, the absence of digital access to the outside world mandates that attentions focus on what’s real and natural. It’s a time to disconnect from the chaos of daily life and reconnect with what matters most.
For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2023 catalog, questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.
Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).
Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for the past nineteen consecutive years (2004-2022).
A sweet secret is out in the Adirondack region of upstate New York, as regional maple syrup producers begin their annual sap collection and maple syrup production activity. New York State is the second-largest producer of maple syrup in the United States and the third largest in the world, producing more than 820,000 gallons of syrup each year. Much of that production takes place within the Adirondack region of upstate New York in small “sugar shacks” and large commercial facilities.
Sugar maple trees are tapped from February through early April to harvest syrup, and the familiar sight of metal buckets, or “sap buckets”, can be seen in maple groves and areas across the region. As a result, there are hundreds of types of syrups, foods, beverages, candies, cocktails and experiences that showcase local Adirondacks maple. And once you are in the Adirondacks can learn all about the difference between maple sugar candy, maple sugar blocks, granulated maple sugar, maple butter and maple extract.
Throughout the month of March each year, and, in particular, during the weekends of March 18-19 and 25-26, maple farms across the state open their doors to the public to provide a chance to taste pure maple syrup, right from the source, and experience the unique family tradition of making maple syrup in New York State. Producers, including many of those that are NYS Grown & Certified, offer tours and pancake breakfasts, sell maple products, and demonstrate the syrup-making process, which includes the traditional system of hanging buckets on trees or more modern methods of production using vacuum systems to increase the yield of sap per tree. Maple Weekends in 2023 will take place at nearly 150 maple sugarmakers’ farms, boosting agri-tourism across New York State. A searchable list of Maple Weekend events is available at https://mapleweekend.nysmaple.com/.
More than 80 maple producers participate in NYS Grown & Certified, which verifies New York’s agricultural producers and growers who adhere to food safety and environmental sustainability standards. Find a current list of maple producers who are a part of the NYS Grown & Certified program at https://certified.ny.gov/wheretobuy.
New York’s Taste NY Markets across the state are highlighting unique local maple products and producers during the month of March. Several markets are offering specials, including 10% off all maple items at the Finger Lakes Welcome Center, special product sampling at the Capital Region Welcome Center and Western New York Welcome Center, and more. Find a list of markets near you at taste.ny.gov. New Yorkers can also shop for New York State maple from the comfort of home on ShopTasteNY.com, which will be offering specials and free shipping on maple products throughout the month. Additionally, Taste NY Markets will be celebrating ‘Maple Madness’ during the weekend of March 25-26. Stay tuned on social media for more information about special sampling and giveaway promotions that weekend.
Tasting and Feeling is Believing…Beyond Syrup!
Maple syrup traditionally accompanies a variety of breakfast foods but, in the Adirondacks, it is also used to flavor candy, foods, beverages and cocktails. And, there are numerous tours and hands-on experiences that showcase this Adirondack pantry staple. Some locally produced products and include:
Maple is used for a variety of products that can be purchased throughout the Adirondacks, at main street shops and local farmers markets including: cotton candy, hard candies, maple butter, donuts, infused syrups, sauces and jellies.
Maple beer: Craft beers featuring local maple are found across the Adirondacks. Big Slide Brewery’s maple bourbon imperial stout is hyper-local, aged in a barrel previously used for locally produced maple syrup.
Many Adirondack-region restaurants have “maple glazed” items on the menu: salmon, pork, chicken, vegetables and more. Chef Mike Rush at Campfire Grill in Saranac Lake is renowned for obtaining kegs of maple syrup for use throughout the year.
While dining out, keep an eye out for barbeque sauces, as many restaurants incorporate maple syrup into their homemade sauce.
Maple isn’t just for tasting. For example, the Mirror Lake Inn in Lake Placid offers the Adirondack Maple Sugar Body Scrub, a maple-based spa treatment that exfoliates and rejuvenates the skin.
Maple Mania: Local Activities and Production
Looking to explore lots of maple? Especially during harvesting season, maple is everywhere:
The Adirondacks Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, based in Lake Placid, offers a Maple Wayfinder Trail that lists local producers and points of interest.
The Adirondack Harvest website lists local producers and distributors, along with maple-themed events throughout the region.
Visitors can purchase locally produced maple syrup and products at roadside stands, at retail locations throughout the Adirondacks and at the production facilities themselves as many have retail shops adjacent to their collection and evaporation sites.
Sip Your Syrup: Margarita Recipe
Local bartenders often create delicious cocktails with maple, including this recipe for a maple margarita created by Carolyn Sicher, co-owner of the Deer’s Head Inn, Elizabethtown, NY.
Rub a freshly cut lime wedge around the rim of the glass and coat the rim by placing it upside down in a dish of tajin spice blend. Fill the glass with fresh ice.
Mix the following ingredients together in a shaker with ice cubes and strain into the glass: 1.5 oz good quality tequila, .5 oz mandarin liqueur, .5 oz fresh lime juice, .5 oz fresh lemon juice, .5 oz maple lemonade (traditional lemonade with some maple as extra sweetener) and add a tablespoon of local maple syrup.
Drizzle the top with about a tablespoon of pure Adirondack maple syrup. Garnish with lime.
Behind the Maple Magic: How It Works
Maple syrup is typically produced from February through early April in the Northeast. Sugar maple trees move sugary water (sap) through their trunks in late winter and sap can be collected through holes in the trees when there are cold nights and warm days; below 32°F at night and above 40°F during the day. This watery sap is then boiled until it becomes thick.
Small backyard, local producers simply collect sap from trees in their backyard in metal buckets and boil it over wood-fired stoves to produce syrup for friends and family. Commercial producers have thousands of acres of trees along with miles of gravity-fed rubber tubes that collect the sap, producing thousands of gallons of syrup for sale throughout the region and across the country. Boiling sap and allowing the excess water to evaporate is the most important part of the production process, as the quality of the syrup is determined by the amount of sugar in the final product. After boiling, the syrup is filtered, assigned a grade, and packaged.
The Cornell Maple Program conducts research and uses its outdoor laboratory – the 200-acre Uihlien Maple Research Forest in Lake Placid (one of only three research forests in the nation) – to learn about maple production, forest management and production techniques. It partners with food scientists and culinary experts to develop new products, offer classes, share research findings with maple producers and scientists throughout the state.
According to Adam Wild, director of the Uihlien Maple Research Forest, maple syrup production has always been a part of life in the Adirondacks. “The heavily forested Adirondack region, with its large percentage of maple trees combined with the ideal Adirondack climate of long cold winters punctuated with gradual warming at the end of the winter season make this area one of the best in the entire nation for maple syrup production.” he said.
Maple syrup production in the Adirondacks is a time-honored tradition, as old as the maple trees themselves. The research, consumer interest and local production ensure that upstate New York remains one of the largest producers of maple syrup and all its affiliated products.
Where to stay? High Peaks Resort’s Spring Sale includes a $25 dining credit at Dancing Bears Restaurant, perfect for some maple pancakes!
Go to www.adirondacksusa.com to find out more about visiting the Adirondacks in winter, spring, summer and fall. The destination is just a few hours’ drive from the New York metro area and Boston, and within a day’s drive for 25% of the entire North American population.
The Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) in the Adirondacks region of New York is the destination marketing and management organization for Hamilton and Essex counties, along with the communities of Lake Placid, Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake.
City Winery has chosen the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) as one of three organizations it is supporting during Women’s History Month this year. City Winery is a performance venue, restaurant, and winery, with branches in cities across the country.
Throughout March, City Winery will host its inaugural “Fierce Light” initiative, honoring women and gender justice. It will donate a portion of proceeds from ticket sales and online wine purchases to WRC (womensrefugeecommission.org) and two other organizations, Sister Song and Sister Reach.
If you live in New York City, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Nashville, Philadelphia, or Hudson Valley (Montgomery, NY), you can support WRC by attending shows at your local City Winery. Shows will feature an eclectic mix of musicians and women thought leaders.
If you can’t attend a show, you can still support the organizations by buying a limited edition, custom-labeled wine online.