Acadia: Paved With Cranberries
Few visitors to Acadia National Park know about the big bowl of cranberries waiting for them around the first of October. After all, most tourists don’t come here for a … swamp, right? (Well, actually it’s a bog). Across the water from SeaCat’s Rest is a bridge over Northeast Creek on the north edge of the island, on Rt 3. At high tide it is possible to go under the bridge, thereby reaching the cranberry bog without getting out of the kayak you entered on our shore. We lend out the kayaks for free to our guests. The mile or so of paddling from the bridge will take you through crimson maples, abundant waterfowl, like the great blue heron on the left, and tea colored water filled with tiny fish to the spongy open area where cranberries lay at your feet. The buzz and hum of tourist traffic is far away as you gather your fill. Some years, when the water is high, it’s easiest to pick right from the kayak but most times you’ll want to pull the boats onto the bog mats and set out on (rubber booted) foot.
Raw cranberries are too sour to snack on but they’ll keep for months in the fridge and certainly last until Thanksgiving. Besides sauce, they’re great in muffins and bread. They can be lightly boiled with sugar and dried in the oven for a Maine memory which will last a year or more. They are rich in antioxidants and are a perfect twin to our other blockbuster fruit, the blueberry. To find the launching spot by car, start at the light at the island side of Rt. 3 causeway and drive toward Bar Harbor. Look for the parking area in 1-3/4 miles on your right.