Forget leaf peeping. We do fall a bit differently at Long Beach Peninsula, Washington

On the southwest coast of Washington, fall is a celebration of crimson cranberry bogs, skies filled with wings over Willapa Bay, other-worldly sunsets and mushrooms galore. This is when the hushed season begins.  

Crimson cranberry bogs 

Year-round, the Long Beach Peninsula is a patchwork of cranberry bogs, over 500 acres of them! In late September, once berries ripen and rains replenish lakes, farmers work overtime for several weeks to bring their red-gold crops to market. Early in the day, while mist lingers over the fields, watch (and photograph) farm workers as they flood the bogs, beat berries off the vines, corral floating berries, and convey them to crates bound for Ocean Spray. To add to a cranberry adventure, visit the Cranberry Museum and learn more about wet harvest, take a self-guided bog tour, and dig into a scoop of homemade cranberry ice cream. Berries for purchase can be found at the museum, roadside stands and Cranguyma Farms, which also offers a u-pick option. 

Birds migrating on the Pacific Flyway 

Fascinated by birds taking flight? Thousands of migratory shorebirds, seabirds, and land birds seek out our aquatic landscape on their intrepid journey southmaking now a prime season for bird watching. Wings Over Willapa, an annual, multi-day bird festival, is an ideal way for novices and expert birders alike to experience this internationally recognized region. The Birding in Pacific County Pass is another good way to navigate key birding sites. 

Wild mushrooms in bloom 

The same heavy rains needed for cranberry harvest make wild mushrooms emerge. Walk through mossy, fern-filled forests, while keeping an eye out for colorful (though not often edible) fungi. For the most delectable, foraged mushrooms, seek out restaurants whose savvy chefs showcase king boletes, chanterelles, oyster mushrooms and more on their seasonally inspired menus. 

Space to recharge, sunsets to inspire 

As family and friend get-togethers wind down, kids head back to school and festive season is still a few months off, the hushed season is an ideal time to recharge, reconnect and find inspiration. Roll up your pants and take a leisurely stroll on miles of soothing sand. Solo or hand-in-hand, head to the beach in the early morning for inspiration and again in the evening for the showthe sky ablaze in fiery hues, reflected in ocean, sand and dune grass as the sun slowly disappears into the sea. 

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