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Making Maple Syrup in Southern Illinois

Program Number: 21348RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/20/2014 - 2/23/2014; 2/19/2015 - 2/22/2015; 2/26/2015 - 3/1/2015;
Duration: 3 nights
Location: Ozark, Illinois
Price starting at: $499.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Food & Wine Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 8; 3 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 3 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

In the late winter months, maple trees begin their process of releasing a sugary, mineral-rich sap — and syrup harvesters become busy tapping these trees for their flavorful rewards. Find out how sweet a learning adventure can be as you learn to tap trees and discover the secrets to maple syrup production in the heart of southern Illinois, the nation’s little-known maple syrup region. Based in our camp in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest, immerse yourself in the harvesting process from start to finish, and enjoy our nostalgic atmosphere as you take leisurely hikes and tell stories around an evening campfire.




Highlights

• Get a hands-on education on the process of making maple syrup from tree tap to table, sample the finished product and take some home.
• Hike through the backcountry with an expert who shares stories of local history and offers tips for identifying maple trees for future tapping.
• Enjoy a field trip to the Touch of Nature Environmental Center at Southern Illinois University, where the pros teach you everything you need to know about maple syrup.



Activity Particulars

Hiking over varied terrain for up to two miles.



Coordinated by Camp Ondessonk, a Catholic retreat center.




Ozark

Located in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest, which extends over 270,000 acres, Ozark offers proximity to the edge of a glaciated area, which provides a diversity of flora and fauna and unique geologic features. Ozark is also located within one hour of the Trail of Tears route, which is part of the National Park Service.



Accommodations
Rustic dormitory lodging in the heart of Shawnee National Forest.
Meals and Lodgings
   St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
  Ozark, IL 3 nights
 St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
Type: Lodge
  Description: Rustic Dormitory style loding nestled in the heart of the Shawnee National Forest. Warm and accommodating dining area where meals are served family-style. Telephone and wireless internet connection available.
  Contact info: 3760 Ondessonk Road
Ozark, IL 62972 USA
phone: 618-695-2489
web: www.ondessonk.com
  Facility amenities: Walking trails, large deck for relaxing.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Bathroom: Private bath in each double occupancy room.
  Additional nights prior: $50.00 per night per room. Please call to ensure availability.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $50.00 per night per room. Please call to ensure availability.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Registration 3:00-5:00 PM. You will be staying at St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends at 9:00 AM. You will be staying at St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Completed health form and liability release form returned to Program Director prior to arrival. Valid photo ID.
  Parking availability:
Parking available at Camp.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Ozark, IL
  Nearest city or town:  Marion, Illinois.
  Nearest highway: Hwy 45.
  Nearest airport:  Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL), St. Louis, MO.
  From End of Program
  Location: Ozark, IL
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Carbondale, IL

 

From Train Station

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Camp Ondessonk
phone: 618-695-2489
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$20
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

approx. 1 hour 

   

With advance notice of at least 10 days, Camp Ondessonk will provide van transportation to and from Carbondale for $20 per passenger each way.

 

St. Louis, MO

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
BART Transportation
phone: 800-284-2278
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

prices may vary
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

2 1/2 hours 

   

BART Transportation is a commercial van service available to participants who choose to fly into St. Louis, MO. Bart can shuttle participants to Marion, IL. You will be dropped off at the Williamson County Airport in Marion. With advance notice of at least 10 days, Camp Ondessonk will provide van transportation to and from Marion, IL for $15 per way as a courtesy to our guests. They are also available online at www.bartshuttle.com/

 

Paduchah, KY

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Camp Ondessonk
phone: 618-695-2489
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$20
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

approx. 1 hour 

   

With advance notice of at least 10 days, Camp Ondessonk will provide van transportation to and from Paducah for $20 per passenger each way.

 

Marion, IL

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Camp Ondessonk
phone: 618-695-2489
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$15
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

35 minutes 

   

With advance notice of at least 10 days, Camp Ondessonk will provide van transportation to and from Marion for $15 per passenger each way.

Equipment Requirements: Comfortable broken in hiking shoes and two water bottles.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival and check in./Dinner/Welcome and Orientation
(Thursday, February 20)
   
 Afternoon: Welcome to Camp Ondessonk! Your guides for the week will be available at the St. Noel Center to assist you with check in and show you to your room. After moving in, take some time to relax in the fresh air on our spacious deck overlooking Ondessonk's sprawling pasture lands. Enjoy the stunning sight of our 73-horse herd as they graze away the evening hours. Or, feel free to walk around and get a preview of the adventure to come!
 Dinner: Dinner served family-style in the St. Noel Center dining area.
 Evening: An opportunity to start getting to know the individuals you will be adventuring with this week. Be prepared to laugh and to share a little bit about yourself as we begin forming our trail group!
   
Accommodations: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Maple Syrup 101 - Learning from the Pro's
(Friday, February 21)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast will be served family-style in the St. Noel retreat center's dining area. A warm start to a great day!
 Morning: The first half of our day will be spent on trail, hiking through Camp Ondessonk's backcountry. While on the hike, we'll discuss some of the history of the area as well as identify Maple trees for future tapping. Participants will learn what trees can be tapped and how to identify them.
 Lunch: We will enjoy a delicious meal in the warmth of St. Noel.
 Afternoon: It's field trip time. We will be traveling to Touch of Nature Environmental Center to learn from the pro's everything you need to know about Maple Syrup. Experts in the field will answer all of your questions and you can see the process take place first hand!
 Dinner: For Dinner, we'll be traveling to Giant City State Park. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corp, Giant City Lodge's beauty is trumped only by their delicious family style meal.
 Evening: Another favorite: the campfire program. Songs, stories and warm memories waiting to be made. Bring your instruments or just sing along, we'll take requests or at least try our best!
   
Accommodations: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: First Hand Maple Syrup Production
(Saturday, February 22)
   
 Breakfast: A warm breakfast served family-style in the St. Noel Center dining area.
 Morning: After the tree's have been tapped, we will fire up the evaporator and begin the process of boiling the sap down.
 Morning: It's time to start tapping. After a short hike to find the trees, participants will get to set up a tap to catch the sap.
 Lunch: We will enjoy a delicious meal in the warmth of St. Noel.
 Afternoon: In the afternoon, we'll "Finish" the syrup. Taking the sap from the evaporator to the kitchen, we'll continue to boil the sap until it reaches the correct temperature for bottling.
 Dinner: A warm and hearty meal will be served family-style in the St. Noel Center's dining area. Dessert to follow!
 Evening: An opportunity to reflect on time spent in the natural world, to share memories freshly made, and to recognize who made the experience meaningful.
   
Accommodations: St. Noel Center at Camp Ondessonk
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Program Wrap Up
(Sunday, February 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast served family-style in the St. Noel dining area.
 Morning: "We have not ceased from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." -T.S. Eliot. Thank you for joining Camp Ondessonk on this journey through Illinois' hidden gem.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Field guide to Trees


Author: National Audubon Society


Description: Great field guide for trees in Southern Illinois





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