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Experience the Essence of Nature’s Sweetness at Marydell’s Maple Sugar Day

The tantalizing taste of pancakes drizzled with maple syrup is a quintessential American delight. But have you ever experienced the pure, natural essence of maple sap, the very foundation of this beloved syrup? Step into the world of Upper Nyack’s Marydell on February 24, 2024, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., where the magic of Maple Sugar Day awaits, promising an unforgettable adventure for all ages.

Hosted by the non-profit organizations Marydell Faith and Life Center and the Friends of Hook Mountain and Rockland Lake, this annual event is your gateway to an ancient Native American ritual brought to life by master maple-sugar harvester and local legend, Bob Stien. Join him as he unveils the art of tapping trees, invites you to sample the fresh sap and syrup, and, weather permitting, demonstrates the age-old method of making syrup over an open fire amidst Marydell’s picturesque fields.

As the winter days begin to thaw into spring, the maple sap flows freely, nourishing the majestic trees of the northern forests. Witness this natural marvel in action, as Stien shares his expertise and infectious passion for nature with participants of all ages.

Meet Bob Stien: The Heart and Soul of Maple Sugar Day

Bob Stien isn’t just a maple sap craftsman; he’s the driving force behind Maple Sugar Day at Marydell. With a blend of humor and deep-rooted love for the environment, Stien captivates audiences young and old alike. His journey began with a children’s program at the 92nd Street YMCA in New York City, sparking a lifelong dedication to sharing the wonders of nature with others.

Bob Stein collecting maple sap

A resident of Upper Nyack since 1995, Stien’s commitment to fostering connections with the natural world extends far beyond Maple Sugar Day. Whether he’s exploring the trails of Hook Mountain or sharing his expertise with organizations like the Marydell Faith and Life Center, Stien’s generosity knows no bounds.

Discover the Origin of Maple Syrup: A Tale of Tradition & Ingenuit

Legend has it that the discovery of maple syrup traces back to Native American folklore, where a moment of serendipity transformed simple sap into liquid gold. One legend tells the story of an Iroquois chief who tossed his tomahawk into a tree in winter causing sap to flow. His spouse cooked meat in the sap. It proved so tasty that the people continued to “farm” maple sap ever after. More likely, indigenous people observed the formation of “sapsicles” from broken twigs and branches. From observing squirrel behavior to harnessing the power of the full Sugar Moon, each aspect of the syrup-making process is steeped in history and tradition.

I am grateful that the Native Americans taught us about this magical process. It is so simple yet so healthy and so much fun.

Bob Stien
Bob Stien demonstrating how to tap a maple tree

Join us as we delve into the rich tapestry of maple syrup’s past, exploring the ingenious methods employed by indigenous peoples and early colonists alike. From stone tools to metal buckets, learn about the evolution of this timeless tradition that continues to delight taste buds around the world.

Unlock the Health Benefits of Maple Sap: Nature’s Nutrient-Rich Elixir

Beyond its irresistible flavor, maple sap boasts a treasure trove of health benefits. Loaded with essential minerals and antioxidants, this organic elixir is hailed for its role in promoting overall well-being. Indigenous people used sap not only as a sweetener but as a medicine and even as a way to preserve meat. Join us as we uncover the nutritional wonders of maple sap, a natural source of vitality.

Maple Sugar Day at Marydell: Where Nature & Nourishment Collide

Marydell Faith and Life Center invites you to embark on a journey of discovery and delight at Maple Sugar Day. From educational programs to hands-on experiences, immerse yourself in the beauty of the Hudson River Valley and savor the finest example of farm-to-table nutrition. Join us as we celebrate the sweet symphony of nature and indulge in the magic of Maple Sugar Day at Marydell.


Marydell’s Centennial Gala: A Historic Celebration!

On June 15, 2024, Marydell cordially invites the community to partake in a grand gala commemorating an illustrious century of existence. Since the Sisters of Our Lady of Christian Doctrine first arrived in Upper Nyack, their story has been one of remarkable growth and service. For 81 remarkable years, they nurtured Marydell Camps offering unforgettable experiences in an eight-week overnight summer camps for girls.

Since its inception in 1990, the Marydell Faith and Life Center has been a beacon of enlightenment, offering an array of transformative programs for both children and adults alike.

From the cherished memories of Marydell Camps to the transformative programs of the Faith and Life Center, the legacy endures.

Marydell campers on a hard ride circa 1930s. Photo courtesy the Nyack Library.

This celebration is more than just an event; it’s a journey through time.

Prepare to be captivated by the echoes of the past with a curated exhibit featuring historical photos and artifacts that illuminate Marydell’s extraordinary journey. Indulge in delicious food, sway to melodious tunes, and revel in the joyous camaraderie that binds the community together.

For further information in honoring this remarkable milestone, please visit

Mike Hays is a 38-year resident of the Nyacks. He worked for McGraw-Hill Education in New York City for many years. Hays serves as President of the Historical Society of the Nyacks, and Vice-President of the Edward Hopper House Museum & Study Center. Married to Bernie Richey, he enjoys cycling and winters in Florida. You can follow him on Instagram as UpperNyackMike

Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by Sun River Health. Sun River Health is a network of 43 Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) providing primary, dental, pediatric, OB-GYN, and behavioral health care to over 245,000 patients annually.

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