The New England landscape is so often portrayed as an austere place, the chilly backdrop to Pilgrim hardship, the model for Ethan Frome’s Starkfield. It’s this unforgiving land, so the story goes, that inspires some of our best Yankee virtues: our self-reliance and industriousness, our tolerance of extreme cold.
But travel down through southeastern Massachusetts in early October, and you’ll see one of nature’s most florid displays: 14,000 acres of shallow bogs turned scarlet in a rising tide of ripe cranberries. It’s a dazzling show of nature’s abundance–our own watery Eden–and one of the prettiest sights you could ever hope to witness on a cloudless day. Long after the harvest is over, the berries brighten our holiday tables in pies, sauces, cakes, and savory treats. Here’s a season defined not by its virtues, but by its pleasures.