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Sugar farmers in northwestern Connecticut's Litchfield Hills await the end of February, when the sap starts flowing from Connecticut's maple trees. Though the nights remain wintery cold, the days show signs of spring, and the traditional task of converting maple sap into golden syrup begins. Using various methods, some dating from Colonial days, farmers welcome visitors who would like to watch the sugaring-off process.

Farms are usually open from the end of February to mid-April, but visitors should call first to be sure the sap is flowing and to check the hours. Four sugar farms in northwestern Connecticut open to the public are these: Laurel Brook Sugar House, Route 44, East Canaan (203) 824-7529; Kettletown Sugar House, Nelson Road, two miles south of Route 287, Southbury (203) 264-8146; Atwood Sugar House, Bruning Road, off Route 219, New Hartford (203) 379-2625; Coolwater Maple Sugar House, Windrow Road, Norfolk, (203) 542-5266 or (203) 542-5090.

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