The Art of Cranberries in Warrens, Wisconsin

Cranberry bogs in Warrens, Wisconsin

Warrens seemed like a natural starting point for a day trip to the cranberry bogs. The small town is the self-proclaimed cranberry capital of Wisconsin. However, as I neared Warrens on Saturday, I started to second guess the logic behind my latest road trip. I had never been to Warrens, let alone seen a cranberry bog, so I wasn’t entirely sure where I was going.

To find my bearings, I stopped at a gas station a couple miles west of Warrens. I grabbed a bottle of water and walked towards the check-out line. As I neared the register, I passed large bags of raw cranberries for sale. It was a welcome – albeit unusual – sign that I was on the right track.

Seconds later, I noticed an actual cranberry bog sitting just a few hundred feet from the gas station. At any other time of year, it would have been easy to miss, but in early October, the ruby red cranberries seemed to explode with color. It was clear that I had arrived in cranberry country at the right time of year.

For the next few minutes, I travelled down the road to Warrens. I passed a couple of churches, a school, and a post office. Before I knew it, the town of Warrens was in the rearview mirror. Had I not been in such a rush, I would have turned around to grab a burger – or perhaps even a beer. But I was on a mission, and I was running out of daylight.

Abstract photograph of a cranberry bog

A Sea of Ruby-Red Cranberries

After leaving town, I traveled from bog to bog, occasionally stopping to take photos. The supply of ripe cranberries seemed endless, as if Warrens produced enough fruit to feed the entire country. Along the way, I also passed several large Ocean Spray signs, which seemed funny given the proximity – or lack thereof – to an actual ocean.

About an hour later, I decided to photograph the bogs from the air. From this vantage point, each of the bogs looked like a vibrant work of abstract art. The millions – perhaps billions – of bright red berries combined to form something akin to a pointillist painting. My favorite photo of the day, Cranberry Splash, now sits proudly in my gallery.

As I drove back to Chicago on Saturday evening, I felt like I had discovered a hidden gem in Central Wisconsin. Of course, I later learned that Warrens attracts more than 100,000 visitors over a three-day period in late September, so perhaps it isn’t as hidden as I thought. Regardless, Warrens is an ideal destination for a fall road trip.

Cranberries float in a bog in Central Wisconsin

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