March brings us Maple Syrup Sunday!

Maple syrup making – this is a Maine tradition you won’t want to miss – it is always the fourth Sunday in March.  Plus Governor Mills just lifted travel restrictions to Maine if you live in New England so come on up!

Plan your getaway to Maine for Sunday March 28th by seeing the sugar houses that will be open this year.

Our local Belgrade CSA Farm, Winterberry Farm will have their Maine Maple Sunday as usual with Covid protocols in place. And surprise, they are celebrating on Easter Sunday, April 4.

Quoting Danielle Pepin from Quebec’s maple syrup industry, “The maple syrup production process gets its start from one of nature’s true phenomena,” she says. “As water from soil absorbs into the maple tree during a cold spring night, warmer temps during the day create pressure that pushes the water back down to the bottom of the tree, making it easier to collect maple sap. The sap is gathered over 12 to 20 days, usually between March and late April, according to the region. Then, the tapping process begins; the sap is transported to a sugar house where it is boiled down until it becomes syrup.”

Are you not a fan of pancakes? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with 70+ recipes that use maple syrup. There’s always a good reason to have maple syrup in your fridge:

Epicurious gives us more ideas for whisking maple syrup into your cooking:

Enjoy the season for everything it has to offer and plan a trip to a Sugar Shack at the end of the month!







Camp cooking.

Campers at Runoia have been developing their outdoor cooking skills for many years.  Wilderness trips have been an integral part of the program since camp opened 110 years ago.  Can you believe that back in the day campers used their bloomers to stash their lunches in when they went off canoeing!

Regardless of how far you are hiking or canoeing you have to eat and the food can make or break the success of a trip.  Trying everything from re-hydrating dried mixes to baking a cake in a Dutch oven many girls get their first taste of cooking at camp. Campers are involved in all aspects of trip menu planning and then meal preparation.

cookinFrom an 8 year old flipping their first pancakes to a 15 year old menu planning and cooking meals for a whole week and with everything in between; Runoai girls get a taste of independence and begin to build their own life skills around the campfire.

Food on the hiking trail has to be light weight, well balanced, nutritious and high in energy.  Trail mix, no bake cookies and other high protein snacks can be a great boost when you still have miles to go to your campsite.  Cooking over a camp stove requires good organizational skills, often a menu that needs minimal pots and some creativity for making the meal tasty.  A canoeing trip may allow for a little more equipment and often includes a reflector oven or Dutch oven so baking around the fire becomes a great option.

cooking flagstaff canoe 2005There is often nothing more satisfying than sitting around the campfire with a tin plate and a spork eating a meal that you have waited all day for and that you helped to cook.  big thunder flagstaff canoe 2005


Always a bonus if it is followed by reflector oven brownies or s’mores. marshmallow


Fairies are for Real

Imagine yourself eight years old; you are at sleepaway camp, far far far from your family. You are taking in the fun and action that happens day-in day-out at camp.

One day, as you merrily cruise along in your eight year old world, you are invited to go camping to “Fairy Ring”.  Wait, it gets better. Not only do you get to camp at Fairy Ring, you get to have magical s’mores (AKA dessert before dinner) and you spend part of your afternoon building fairy houses for the fairies of Fairy Ring.

S'mores for Supper?!
S’mores for Supper?!

Consider your eight year old mind fathoming a camp out where the fairies actually live? When said fairies come to visit before bedtime, you can hardly believe your eyes. Flitting between tall pines and the evening dusk, a movement, a glow, a fairy appears!

Fairies Flitting for Fairy Ring
Fairies Flitting for Fairy Ring

The very next morning, when you wake up, the fairies have left you with your very own fairy rock painted in bright colors and glittery-gold.

This tradition at Camp Runoia has been going on since the beginning of time!

Camp is….adventure and trips

From our Director of Trips:

Using a reflector oven on a Runoia Trip
Using a reflector oven on a Runoia Trip



Hello everyone!

I hope this post finds you all well and enjoying 2015 thus far. Let me introduce myself quickly: My name is Anna and I am returning to Runoia for my fourth summer on the shores of Great Pond, taking on my first summer as director of the wilderness trip program.

My family has a long history at Runoia (some of you may remember my mom, Connie Burton, from her time at camp) and I am excited to continue that tradition. I grew up listening to my mom’s Runoia stories. One of my favorites is one when she convinced a camper to jump into the cold lake water by telling her that the heater had been turned on just for her and that the water was actually warm!  I also loved hearing about the week long canoe trips that she lead while working at camp, and it means a lot to have the opportunity to plan and lead trips in some of the same lakes that she paddled in so many years ago.

CHEERS! Great food, Great fun, great friends on trail

In between my time in California and moving to Wyoming I’ve been busy working with Pam, Alex, and Abby to get ready for this summer’s overnight trips. We’ve been chatting about program changes, working out the schedule, and researching gear. I’ll make reservations in the next few weeks and the pieces of the puzzle will continue to fall into place.

Since I will have more time in camp this upcoming season I’ve been designing some new activities for camp craft to teach skills that the girls can then transfer to their time on trail. My ideas range from bumping up the Leave No Trace lessons, to introducing various backcountry-baking techniques, Frisbee orienteering, and figuring out a way to teach astronomy during the day.


While there are lots of adventures coming up for me in the next couple weeks, I’ll continue prepping for next summer. I’m already looking forward to paddling around Great Pond and spending another summer full of fine Maine days.


Author Anna leading a trip
Author Anna leading a trip