Autumn Adventures

7 Exciting ways to enjoy fall on the South Shore

By Riley Stefano

Channel Your Inner Cranberry Grower

It isn’t every day that you get to pull on a pair of waders and stand in a sea of floating red berries. Mayflower Cranberry Bogs in Plympton offers a “Be the Grower” experience, which provides a hands-on lesson about cranberry harvesting. Bog owner Jeff LaFleur began the program a few years ago to give locals and tourists a chance to see exactly where their cranberries come from and how they are grown and harvested.
“Most people tell me they want to do it because it’s on their bucket list,” LaFleur says with a chuckle. “Everyone wants to be just like the two guys in the Ocean Spray commercials.”
Visitors can jump right in to help corral the berries and push them into boxes, or just watch the professionals at work. Tours begin the weekend of Oct. 10 and continue each weekend as well as every Tuesday and Thursday through the month. The tours are so popular that they book up months in advance. If you missed out this season, you can save yourself a spot for next year after the 2016 harvest schedule comes out in April. 72 Brook St., Plympton, 781-585-1999, CLICK HERE

Take Your Pick at Local Apple Farms

Visiting an apple orchard is a great family activity.
Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t judge an apple by its color – Apples come in a wide range of colors, from ruby red to golden yellow. Most orchards will post information saying whichvarieties are ripe for picking as well as the flavor characteristics of each type. Choose apples that are firm and without bruises.
  • Bring along a tall friend – While many orchards grow dwarf apple trees with fruit that hangs relatively low to the ground, the later in the season you visit an orchard the more likely it is that the lower branches will be picked over and you’ll be forced to reach higher to fill your bag.
  • It’s all in the wrist – When picking an apple, don’t pull straight away from the branch. Instead, gently twist and lift the apple and it will easily break free without much effort. If two apples are growing from the same stem, than both will come loose at the same time.
    Wait to wash – Don’t wash apples right after picking. Instead, wash apples before you eat or cook with them, to prevent spoiling.

Cruise The North River

Fall is an ideal time of year to enjoy the beauty of the North River; the only designated scenic river in Massachusetts. The marsh grasses have turned from green to gold and particular trees along the water’s edge provide pops of color. Thanks to a new river tour program offered by the North and South Rivers Watershed Association, you don’t need to own a boat to appreciate the changing landscape. Groups of up to six passengers can ride aboard the NSRWA’s pontoon boat for a two-hour river tour. A licensed captain drives the boat, which travels either to the upper reaches of the river, past historic ship building sites (the Columbia, the first ship to circumnavigate the world was built here), or downstream toward the mouth of the river and The Spit. The cost is $300 for NSRWA members; $360 for non-members, which includes two $25 individual memberships. CLICK HERE

Forage for Oysters

With your toes in the sand and a glass of champagne in hand, anyone who signs up for Mirbeau Inn & Spa’s seasonal oyster excursions can expect to enjoy a gourmet New England meal that is anything but ordinary. Since the fall is prime oyster harvesting season, Mirbeau has teamed up with Plymouth Rock Oyster Growers and Plymouth Water Sports to offer a one-of-a-kind waterfront dining experience. Participants hop aboard a boat that transports them out to a semi-protected area of Plymouth Bay where the briny bivalves are grown. Members of the group are provided with rubber waders and receive a hands-on lesson in harvesting, shucking and enjoying fresh oysters.
Guests can then sit back and relax and enjoy the ocean view as Mirbeau’s Executive Chef Stephen Coe prepares a gourmet meal on a beachside grill. The menu includes fresh oysters (grilled or raw), lobsters, mussels and clams, salt-water corn on the cob, smashed potatoes and more. The food is paired with Champagne, wine and specialty cocktails and is followed by a decadent dessert of s’mores roasted over a crackling beach fire. The cost is $150 per guest and includes all transportation, food and beverages. Reservations are required and dinners are weather and tide dependant. For upcoming dates and times, call 877-647-2328, or CLICK HERE.

Conquer a Corn Maze

Navigating through a corn maze can be great fun, but it’s not as easy as you might think. Take a wrong turn and you might spend a long time searching for a way out. Here are a few tips for staying on the right path.

  • If given a map, take note of the shape of the maze. Even if your goal is to not use the map while inside, having a mental picture is helpful.
  • Use all of your senses and be aware of your surroundings. Is there a tall tree near the exit? Maybe there’s a road where cars could be heard from when you’re in the maze? Does the farm stand smell like fresh cider?
  • Keep either your right or left hand on the wall the entire time, but don’t switch midway through. Even blindfolded, it’s said that if you keep one hand on the wall you will eventually find your way out.
  • When in doubt, follow the kids—they always seem to have an idea of where they are going.

Picking Pumpkins with Purpose

Halloween just wouldn’t be the same without a grinning jack-o’lantern on the front stoop, and thankfully, there are a multitude of local farms where you can wander through fields dotted with golden-orange and yellow pumpkins to choose from. One local pumpkin patch has gained extra attention for its charitable cause and fantastic aerial appeal.
Since 2003, volunteers from the Appalachia Service Project in Cohasset, whose members come from churches in Cohasset, Hingham, Hull and Scituate, unload thousands of pumpkins at Wheelwright Park and arrange them into a large-scale festive image. Project designer Phil Lehr comes up with a different concept each year, first sketching out an image on paper and later translating it onto the field. Lehr marks the pattern out on the grass with spray paint and when the pumpkins arrive they are placed side by side until they create a gigantic orange image. Around 4,000 pumpkins are unloaded in about three hours time, which requires 30-50 volunteers. Aerial photographer Margot Cheel flies over the field each year, carefully timing her trip in order to capture the best possible pumpkin patch picture.
The money raised through the sale of the pumpkins is used to support the Cohasset Appalachia Service Project, a program that helps repair homes in rural Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. The pumpkin patch is located at 200 North Main St., Cohasset. For more information, CLICK HERE

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