Ottawa’s Hidden Treasures: The Log Farm Sugarbush

by DaniGirl on March 15, 2010 · 29 comments

in Ottawa Family Fun, Ottawa's hidden treasures

Looking for an inexpensive March Break adventure? I’ve got a great suggestion for you! There’s a delicious breakfast, an historic farm with friendly barnyard animals, mud, maple, sap, mud, hiking, mud, maple taffy, marshmallows, lunch — and did I mention the mud?

Edited to add: As of March 2016, the Log Farm is no longer operated by Lone Star. See this notice on their Facebook page:

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We headed out with another family and a half and spent a spectacular Monday morning at the Log Farm sugar bush. It’s a true hidden treasure, hiding in plain sight just off Cedarview Rd (runs parallel to hwy 416 from Hunt Club to Fallowfield) in the Greenbelt just north of Barrhaven. We’ve been to a couple of sugar bushes over the years, and I have to say, this one was our favourite by far — and not just because it was an easy five minute drive from our house!

We started the day with this:
Breakfast

You know how sometimes the breakfasts in a sugar bush can be a little, um, meh? Not this one! Yummy pancakes, sausages, home fries and scrambled eggs, with plenty of hot sauce and of course, fresh maple syrup. Delish!!

When we were full, we wandered through the woods and across a great big open field to the farm buildings. (Little did we know, we’d only begun our hiking for the day!)

Walking to the farm

(Yes, one is wearing ski pants and a toque and one is wearing shorts. That is one of many differences between two and nearly a teenager! He was super-patient with Lucas, though, and since Beloved was at work I didn’t mind the extra help at all!)

The farm itself is a treasure. Build in the 1850s, you can wander through and imagine what life must have been like living with two parents and NINE children in a tiny two-story log cabin outfitted with a lot of period items. It’s really quite lovely!

Across the barnyard, you can play with Pearl and Wilbur the potbellied pigs or watch in amusement as the unfriendly goat tries to headbut them. (Whoops, forgot to upload the picture of the pigs and the goat. Oh well.) I missed the cows and the sheep, too, but here’s a shot of Simon and Lucas trying to feed the not-hungry sheep.

Feeding the sheep

The pony was a little friendlier but beware — he nips!

Feeding the pony

After breakfast and the farm and the animals, our adventure had only barely begun. We set off on what would seem like a seven mile hike back into the woods in search of the sugar maples.

Hiking out

I also missed taking pictures of the squelching mud path and the pond-sized puddles we had to traverse on the way. Sorry, I was too busy keeping the clumsy toddler from soaking himself. Thank goodness we had the foresight to wear boots despite the gorgeous spring day!

I did, however, get lots of pictures like these! Have you ever seen how maple trees are tapped? These are the sap buckets.

Sap bucket

The tap doesn’t hurt the tree, and the sap drips out steadily throughout the day. Sap needs warm days and cold nights to run well.

Maple tap

Much to our delight, we were invited to collect some sap in these aluminum buckets.

Stacked buckets

Each kid got his or her own bucket and headed out into the woods to retrieve the sap from the collector buckets.

Collecting sap

This is what a bucket of tree sap looks like!

Full of sap!

The sap goes into a giant tub called the evaporator and boils down until it becomes maple syrup. You boil it down even more and it looks like this:

Boiling taffy

Then you pour it out on snow it becomes maple taffy. Yum!

Making taffy on the snow

After another long, squelchy hike back out, we took a marshmallow-roasting break back at the farm on the way out. (I know, I know — maple syrup followed by maple taffy followed by marshmallows! Good thing we had to expend all that energy on the hike to the sugar shack and back!)

Marshmallows!

Finally, we wandered back to where we started.

Walking home

By the time we got back to the pancake house, it was close enough to lunch time that we had a few more pancakes and sausages to fortify us for the drive home. Breakfast, adventure, lunch — talk about a complete morning of entertainment!

If you’re looking for an amazing sugar-bush adventure close to home, I highly recommend the Log Farm. You know what I liked best about it? I didn’t feel like one of 600 people they were planning to shuffle through today. The friendly staff make the long, muddy walk to the sugar shack worth the adventure. And the three-hour afternoon nap for the toddler was a nice bonus, too!


{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Guillermo March 15, 2010 at 2:56 pm

I cannot believe I have this place 5 minutes from home! I’ve never imagined… Thanks DaniGirl

2 Avra March 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm

I’ve been wondering about this and now I have a recommendation! Thanks for doing the research (it was difficult I am sure…)

3 DaniGirl March 15, 2010 at 3:35 pm

LOL, yes, Avra, the things I do for you guys! *falls into a swoon*

Guillermo, I know!! Had I only known five years ago!!

4 Kelly March 15, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Thanks for posting this – I am so going tomorrow…are reservations needed? (I guess they might be after your post, eh?) Maybe, just MAYBE, I won’t hear,”Mom, I’m bored!” tomorrow. You’d think the 100 times they said it today would last them a while…Calgon take me away – please:)

5 DaniGirl March 15, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Hey Kelly, I’m not sure you could make reservations — when I called this morn to check the hours, the voice mail was full! I’d go early — we showed up at 9:30 and had the place to ourselves. And the forecast for tomorrow? 16C!!!!!

6 Betidings Calendar March 15, 2010 at 7:55 pm

RT @DaniGirl: Looking for a March Break adventure in Ottawa? Here's my recommendation! http://tinyurl.com/yl5px7o

7 foodiePrints March 15, 2010 at 8:03 pm

RT @DaniGirl: Looking for a March Break adventure in Ottawa? Here's my recommendation! http://tinyurl.com/yl5px7o

8 Paula March 15, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Lovely post and wonderful pictures. The farm is so close to my daughter’s home in Barrhaven. We spent this past Saturday at my brother-in-law’s in Monkland where he harvests the sap from over 300 maples on his property. Every Spring it’s a family/friend get together with a pot luck buffet in the woods right where gallons of sap are boiling away! Love Springtime in Canada šŸ™‚

9 Loukia March 16, 2010 at 8:47 am

Great post – very informative! We’ve only been to Proulx so far, but this place sounds great too!

10 glidinglara March 16, 2010 at 1:41 pm

@MrsLoulou @caffeinated_mom did you see @DaniGirl 's post about the log farm? http://ow.ly/1mQY7

11 Scatteredmom March 17, 2010 at 12:50 am

That looks like so much fun, although I kept wondering where the snow is! No sugar shacks in BC. I think I need to come visit you in Ontario now. šŸ™‚

12 CGB March 21, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Thank you so much for the blog on this – we were looking for a sugar bush option that was closer to home. We went today, and it was fantastic!

13 tamara March 15, 2011 at 1:00 pm

The food is dreadful, absolutely dreadful but the staff are lovely and the grounds are authentic and picturesque. I suggest just paying for admission to the grounds/taffy and skip the meal.

14 Clayton March 18, 2011 at 11:29 am

Just got back. A few notes: Heed the warning: bring the rubber boots and splash pants – there was a *lot* of mud! Also, bring your wallet – I found this a tad pricey. It was about $42 for myself and two kids to have breakie and three little popsicles of taffy. The breakfast was mediocre at best: watered down orange juice and the pancakes tasted strange (even the kids remarked on these two latter). The staff were very friendly however, and the kids really enjoyed the farm animals and hunting for buckets of sap water from the trees (although they were mostly empty). Overall, it’s a fun way to spend a morning!

15 julie March 3, 2012 at 8:15 am

great post, so happy i found this! This looks like a great place, and not tons of people!!! hope to check them out this month šŸ™‚

16 Sarah February 26, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Looks like so much fun – adding this to our to-do list for March! although I think your link is broken – took me to Lone Star restaurant not the Log Cabin – Thanks šŸ™‚

17 DaniGirl February 26, 2013 at 6:24 pm

Thanks Sarah, I fixed the link. The Log Cabin is owned by Lone Star, so the link does go back to their page, but they’d moved the promotion for 2013. If you’re thinking about heading out this year (March 2013), click here for a coupon: (opens as a PDF for $1 off breakfast) http://www.lonestarcatering.com/pdf/LS_SugarBush_Coupon.pdf

18 Seth March 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm

When today, cost 42 dollars for two adult, 1 child, 1 infant with the coupon. Lots of snow on the ground so not to muddy yet but will be soon. like other sugar bushes better, but the animals added something for the kids to do.

19 Diana March 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Hi Dani, About how far would you say the walk to the sugar shack is?

20 DaniGirl March 23, 2013 at 6:22 am

Hi Diana, I’d say it’s about a five minute walk back to the old farm house where the animals are, and then another ten minutes or so to the sugar shack. It’s maybe a kilometer from where you buy your tickets. It’s definitely a LOT of walking!

21 TLynne March 23, 2013 at 8:36 am

Is it stroller friendly for the long walk? (Jogger stroller)

22 DaniGirl March 23, 2013 at 8:50 am

If your stroller is okay with deep snow you’ll be fine. It’s flat and the path is wide, but the snow is deep in places. Imagine trying to push the stroller across your local park, I guess.

23 Sara March 26, 2013 at 10:28 am

Their number is out of service. Does anyone know if they are open this easter weekend?

24 Ed White March 10, 2014 at 9:20 am

This sugar bush is in the city “Green Belt” and controlled by the NCC. For 2014 It has been leased to a catering company which appears to be offering very limited access either to the sugar bush for a fee or to sugar bush type meals in their ‘ranch’. Hours, days and other aspects quite limited.

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