Collecting maple syrup

Spring awakenings

Is that a hint of spring in the air? Sweet. As we begin to leave the season of snowmageddon behind, this weekend you can tap into more sweet stuff—maple syrup—at its source in Outagamie County, Wisconsin. For more info on goings-on throughout the Fox Cities–area, stop by the visitors’ center (800-236-6673, at 3433 West College Avenue in Appleton.

  1. Bucket brigade
    The Bubolz Nature Preserve in Appleton hosts the 30th Annual Maple Syrup Saturday. Visitors can get a close look at the maple-syrup-making process with guided hikes through the woods, where the raw materials of pancake toppings goes from trees to buckets. The tour continues inside as the syrup goes from buckets to bottles. Participants can end the morning with bowls of syrup-coated ice cream. The Preserve is also hosting three pre-walk breakfasts (featuring, of course, pancakes and syrup) at 9:30, 10, and 10:30 a.m.
    GO Maple Syrup Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, March 26th at the Bulbolz Nature Preserve (4815 N. Lynndale Dr.; 920-731-6041,
  2. Renovation inspiration
    And while you’re in the area: Thawing temps also mean the season of home improvements is nigh. For motivation, visit the Tri-County Arena Home and Garden Show, running Friday through Sunday in Neenah, Wisconsin. The show will have all manner of information and demos—from gutters to basements, security systems to saunas, bathrooms to boudoirs. Admission is $4 and there are door prizes.
    GO Tri-County Arena Home and Garden Show (Tri-County Ice Arena, 700 E. Shady Ln., Neenah; 920-731-9731) from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Friday, March 25th; 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, March 26th; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, March 27th.

Where to stay: The 73-room CopperLeaf Boutique Hotel and Spa (300 W. College Ave., Apple; 877-303-0303, is the only boutique hotel in the Fox Cities (which include 18 cities along the Fox River and Lake Winnebago) and offers in-room fireplaces, whirlpools, down pillows, Italian sheets, and spa; rates range from $139 to $250 per night.  If you prefer a bed and breakfast, the Franklin Street Inn (318 E. Franklin St., Appleton; 920-993-1711,, built in 1897, has a third-floor turret suite that’s absolutely castle-like; rates range from $99 to $219.

Where to dine: At the family-owned Apollon (207 N. Appleton St., Appleton; 920-739-1122,, the Greece-born, Belgium-trained chef, Stavros Kodis, offers Chilean sea bass in Champagne sauce, classic rack of lamb, and an extensive wine list. GingeRootz (2920 N. Ballard Rd., Appleton; 920-738-9688, brings high standards to basic Asian fare, with offerings such as scrumptious from-scratch dumplings and a simple but delicious salt-and-pepper shrimp.