PITTSTON — Maine Maple Sunday was a sweet family affair at Chadwick’s Craft Spirits in Pittston.

Between the freshly made maple syrup, craft cocktails, stone-fired pizza and maple syrup ice cream, the whole family came out to help at Chadwick’s, which was bustling by noontime.

“I look out to it all and I could cry it makes me so happy,” Larry Chadwick said.

Chadwick looked out at the visitors who were sipping cocktails, laughing, chatting and laughing. Most people who visited the farm and distillery Sunday have been frequent visitors to the tasting room at 29 Chadwick Lane.

For Sunday’s annual, statewide event, a member of the Chadwick family was in charge of running each station.

Lynn Chadwick, who runs Chadwick’s Craft Spirits with her sister, Laurel Chadwick, showed visitors how to make maple syrup, while Laurel greeted guests and made sure they had what they needed.

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Laurel’s children — AJ and Anna Chadwick — were in charge of the drink stations and handed out samples.

Ann Chadwick said the most popular sample of the day was Durkot, Chadwick’s maple craft liqueur made from a family recipe. Most of the cocktails Sunday used Durkot.

Lynn Chadwick said Durkot came from her grandmother’s recipe.

Lynn Chadwick evaporates sap during Maine Maple Sunday at Chadwick’s Craft Spirits at 29 Chadwick Lane in Pittston. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“My grandmother, she referred to it as ‘medicine,'” Lynn Chadwick said, adding her grandmother, who is Russian and Ukrainian, would give the drink to her mother and aunt when they did not feel well.

Her grandmother’s handwritten recipe is on the bottle.

“What better way to honor her?” Chadwick said.

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Lynn Chadwick’s wife, Stacy Chadwick, runs her own pizza company, Steel House Oven, and made a maple syrup pizza. The pizza grew so popular over the weekend she ran out of the ingredients. For Sunday, she had to come up with a different pizza to offer.

“We were not expecting it,” Stacy Chadwick said. “We thought we had enough. We are doing the best we can, and some people waited 45 minutes to get it.”

Pizza also proved a hit Sunday, even with the breakfast pizza ingredients.

Laurie Simpson from Whitefield arrived with Richard Stone, and after they enjoyed maple cocktails, they said they were going to get a maple pizza.

“It’s different from the normal tradition,” Simpson said on why she decided to visit Chadwick’s on Maine Maple Sunday.

She added she was drawn to the cocktails, after having the family’s liqueur at a bar over the weekend.

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Katy Stebbins visited with her friend Jane Mackey and they enjoyed maple margaritas. They said they had gone to Chadwick’s ice bar this winter along with a wreath-making event.

“We are locals and love coming here,” Stebbins said. “There is always something going on.”

Maple syrup is drizzled onto ice cream during Maine Maple Sunday at Chadwick’s Craft Spirits at 29 Chadwick Lane in Pittston. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Meanwhile, in Albion, Wilson Family Maple Syrup saw the most visitors since first opening 23 years ago for Maine Maple Sunday. Co-owner Sherry Wilson said it is an “amazing” feeling getting back to “almost-normal” operations and seeing about 1,500 guests Saturday and another 2,000 or so Sunday.

As the name suggests, the Albion syrup and horse farm is also a family affair, with deep roots. Paul Wilson has run the farm with his wife, Sherry, since 1989, but Paul has been harvesting maple syrup with his father since Paul was in high school.

At the start of every maple syrup season, Paul, Sherry and their daughter, Jessica Wilson, tap the first tree together, Sherry Wilson said.

Other members of the family also helped Sunday.

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Couples, individuals and families of all ages arrived throughout the day to view the demonstration showing sap boiling at the sugar shack, buy fresh maple syrup goods, sample maple-doused ice cream and pancakes or take a brisk and muddy hayride through the forested harvest area where sap is collected from about 600 maple trees.

Visitors to Wilson Family Maple Syrup at 652 Benton Road in Albion enjoy a hayride on Maine Maple Sunday through the forested harvest area, where about 600 maple trees are tapped and harvested for sap every year. Evan Houk/Morning Sentinel

Paul Wilson led the hayride tour, pointing out the maple trees, the buckets hanging from them and the intricate web of hoses crisscrossing the woods to deliver sap. During a stop at a sap bucket, cups were passed around for visitors to taste the cold, clear liquid straight from the source.

After tasting the sap, Emma Clifford and Aubrey Niedermayer, who are 11 years old and best friends from Winslow, said, “It tastes like sugar water.”

Emma’s mother, Ann Clifford, said she is grateful her family and friends can again gather for the Maine Maple Sunday tradition after sitting it out for the past two years. She said it has been an annual pilgrimage for her and her family since she was growing up.

“Since I was little,” Ann Clifford said, “this was a tradition, so we passed it on to the girls.”

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