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Parkers' Bed and Breakfast in Granby complete with sugar house

  • Edward Parker of Parker's Bed and Breakfast shows off his new Maple Syrup processing equipment which was built with funds from a state energy grant. <br/>JOSH KUCKENS<br/>
  • The downstairs of Parkers' Bed and Breakfast in Granby.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS
  • The upstairs common area of Parkers Bed and Breakfast in Granby.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS
  • One of the upstairs bedrooms of Parker's Bed and Breakfast in Granby Tuesday.<br/>JOSH KUCKENS<br/><br/><br/>

That’s because Parkers’ Bed and Breakfast at 310 Amherst St. has an unusual feature: an operating sugar house on the property. The pancakes and waffles that Mona Parker prepares for guests are served with an extra-homey touch: Ed Parker’s maple syrup.

“A lot of the people who come to the bed-and-breakfast want to tour the sugar house,” said Ed Parker, who is president of the Massachusetts Maple Sugaring Association. “Quite a few go away with some maple syrup.” Parker also sells his maple products at farmers markets.

The sugar house can produce up to 250 gallons of syrup annually.

He just bought a new maple sugar evaporator with the help of a $13,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which he said paid for 70 to 75 percent of the machinery’s cost. Maple sugaring is an energy-intensive undertaking, he said, noting that the thin sap collected from trees must undergo a series of evaporations to become thick, sweet syrup.

“It will cut my work production in half and reduce air pollution by the same,” he said of the new evaporator.

Scenic location

Parkers’ Bed and Breakfast has been located at 310 Amherst St. since 2005. The house, built by their son, Edward R. Parker, is tucked in the foothills of the Holyoke Range, close by Aldrich Lake.

Their B-and-B got its start in 1999 at their former home, Ferry Hill Farm. Ed Parker grew and sold hay there for 15 years, and also ran Parker Construction, which built homes throughout the area. Mona Parker owned a curtain and gift store, Mona’s Lace, at Village Commons in South Hadley.

The couple, who share a love of antiques and have decorated their homes with period pieces, had long mulled the idea of running a bed-and-breakfast once their three children were grown, Ed Parker said.

A 1999 request by the pastor of Congregational Church of Granby gave them the nudge they needed:

He asked them to raise funds by hosting visitors who were attending graduation ceremonies at Mount Holyoke College and donating the profits to the church.

“It keeps us out of trouble,” said Ed Parker, who is 74. “We like doing it. We like meeting people.”

The Parkers’ guests can fish in Aldrich Lake, hike trails at nearby Mount Holyoke Range State Park, bike the Norwottuck Rail Trail or visit the llamas at neighboring Pinetum Farm.

Mona Parker, 71, serves visitors an 8 a.m. breakfast — in addition to the pancakes or waffles with maple syrup, she offers fresh fruit, bacon and eggs — in the B-and-B’s sunlit great room, which has a fireplace that’s lit on chilly days. In warmer weather, guests can take advantage of the deck out back, complete with pergola.

In addition to the sugar house, the B-and-B property features a barn Ed Parker built for his valued collection of antique Massey Harris tractors.

The bed-and-breakfast, which can accommodate nine guests, has two guest rooms with a shared bath and a full-kitchen suite on the home’s lower level. Prices start at $105.

The Parkers said they are often fully booked during the area’s college graduations and parents’ weekends, as well as during fall foliage season.

“We’ve had people from Europe, people from China and Japan,” said Ed Parker. “Most of these people are world travelers.”

While the rooms are decorated with antiques in traditional New England style, they also have such modern amenities such as hair dryers, air conditioning, cable TV and Wi-Fi.

Ed Parker said he and his wife built their business slowly, which gave them time to learn what works and what doesn’t when it comes to hosting guests.

“We pretty much knew what we were getting into, because we started slow,” he said. “Anybody who likes people, I’d highly recommend it.”

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