Football, Cranberries, and Chestnuts at Patriot Place
By Kathy Desjardin, MA/RI Chapter
Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, located in Foxborough, Massachusetts is approximately 45 minutes from the center of Boston, MA and 30 minutes from Providence, RI. Anyone who has been to a football game there knows that Patriot Place, right next door, offers a wide variety of dining experiences along with lots of shopping and other storefronts. Surprisingly, just a few steps out the back door of one of the retail stores, you’ll find The Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog, home to the last remaining active cranberry bog in the town of Foxborough.
The Nature Trail consists of a half-mile walk thru a portion of the cranberry bog and forested section of this 32-acre site. From a boardwalk that spans areas of the cranberry wetland system, one can view all sorts of plant and wildlife. Interpretive signage along the way mentions various wildlife such as swans, mallards, wood ducks, deer, raccoons, turtles, etc. Plant species include cranberry, wild celery, water lilies to name a few. The upland wooded area consists of white pine, white oak, red maple, eastern hemlock, sweet pepper bush and lots of American chestnut! In early August the fragrance of Clethera – sweet pepper bush – filled the air throughout the forested section of the trail. The entire woodland walk was graced with American chestnut sprouts reaching for the crown of the forest.
With football season underway and harvest season quickly approaching, a trip to Patriot Place would be a good destination for family fun. A hike along the nature trail would provide opportunities to learn about the life cycle of cranberries, including pollination by honeybees, and to see the American chestnut trees turn golden yellow!
The Nature Trail and Cranberry Bog at Patriot Place is open dawn to dusk seven days a week.