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Maple sugaring weekend

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Vermont and New Hampshire are having their maple sugaring open house weekends March 19-20. I've lived in the Boston area for several years but have never been to a sugar house, so I'm considering taking a little road trip.

Does anyone have a favorite sugar house (or houses) that they would recommend? Are there any that were a big disappointment? I have found some that look interesting at

http://www.vermontmaple.org/open-house-weekend.php?county=

and

http://www.nhmapleproducers.com/weekend2011.html

but figured I would seek the advice of people who have been before. I'd prefer to see traditional operations (wood-fired and buckets) as much as possible.

I'm really not that big a maple flavor fan, but seeing the syrup-making process, trying sugar on snow, and tasting the sap right out of the tree at least once would be interesting. Plus, I need a break from Massachusetts.

Also, are there any recommendations for inexpensive lodging? Where is not that important (as there are sugaring operations all over the two states, I am not tied to any particular location). What IS important is low cost (preferably under $70), clean, non-smoking. Basically, I just need a place to sleep for the night. It does not have to be fancy. (Tripadvisor is not proving particularly helpful in this quest, as it seems a fair number of less-expensive properties receive reviews of 1 star and 5 stars for stays within the same week.)

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