Remember the good old days when you and your siblings or cousins would scout the neighborhood, or nearby woods, for berries to pick? Whether you grew up harvesting your own fruits or are excited at the prospect of doing it for the first time, The Poconos has a slew of local farms and bogs that are ripe for picking. Here are just a few of our favorites, located within easy driving distance of Skytop Lodge.
Cran for the Future
If you’ve ever seen the Ocean Spray cranberry commercial, you probably expect cranberry bogs to be swampy and crammed with fruit. Cranberry picking in the wild is much different. By fall, tourists can spot low-growing cranberry plants in Lackawanna County near Thornhurst and in the wetlands of Tobyhanna, Gouldsboro and Promised Land state parks. Perhaps the most bountiful cranberry bog is the 150-acre Tannersville Cranberry Bog Preserve, part of a huge tract of land taken care of by the Nature Conservancy. The downside is that you can’t pick the berries on this protected strip. Instead, visitors can take a guided tour through the bog during the warmer months. Click here for event listings updated throughout the year.
Less than 25 minutes from Skytop you’ll find the Paupack Blueberry Farm, 27+ acres of beautiful Pennsylvania farmland with three cultivated berry fields. The family-owned farm contains 25 varieties of blueberries (who knew there were so many?), plus a gift shop and snack bar with homemade ice cream and baked goods. Many travelers just pop by to try the delicious turnovers and muffins. However, the farm also opens for “pick your own” season from July through Labor Day. Stop in and pick a pint of fresh blueberries for a steal, then stop in the general store and stock up on jams and jellies for the trip home.
A Berry Good Time
Heckman Orchards near Effort, PA, hooks visitors up with pick-your own strawberries, sour cherries, apples and pumpkins summer through fall. There’s even an option for Christmas trees in December, though few tourists will need to pick up a tree. The farm has been in continuous operation since the 1960s, and hosts a weekly farmers’ market Wednesday through Sunday during their open season (May through December). By June, the first of the crops are ripe enough to pick. Visit and take home some fresh peaches and berries to snack on during your stay in the Pocono Mountains. Their small produce makes excellent trail food if you’re headed on a hike, or you can just stop by for a quick nibble and a tour of the grounds.
With 5,500 acres to explore and dozens of nature trails, your family will also love hunting for colorful plants in the woods around Skytop Lodge. Of course, you never want to eat anything that’s not grown on a farm unless you’re well versed in native flora and fauna. Book a tour with one of our naturalists to get an expert look at the plants on our property, or head to one of the suggested locations above to feast on nature’s bounty. For more information about Skytop Lodge, call 855-345-7759 or book online today.