One sure sign of fall in New England is the opening of corn mazes. Varying in scope and size, they might be standalone mazes or part of a larger farm with other activities. Fun for both kids and adults, they range from very easy for the youngsters to quite tricky for adults willing to brave them.
Yankee Magazine has rated the Maize, at Sherman Farm, in Center Conway, N.H., one of the best in New England. The 12 acres of corn form an intricate labyrinth that will challenge even those with the best sense of direction. It includes three phases, one for every ability. There are games to be played within the maze such as a treasure hunt, barnyard bingo, and cornundrums (riddles to solve). Correct answers point you in the right direction. The maze is open weekends from Sept. 25 to Oct. 24, plus Columbus Day.
With your admission you also have access to several other attractions. Great for kids is the corn box. It is similar to a sand box, but with corn. Goats and pigs in the petting area are eager for visits. The mini maize is great for the littlest kids, while the pumpkin pad, just for bouncing, is great fun for all. The pumpkin patch is the place to purchase your Halloween pumpkin. There’s a limited menu of food available, plus ice cream, doughnuts, and kettle corn, or you can bring your own picnic to enjoy on the grounds.
Coppal House Farm, in Lee, N.H., will have its maze open through the last day of October. Each year it sports a different theme embracing something you might see in your backyard, such as an animal, bird, plant, or reptile. This year’s theme is the red fox. Eight-to-nine-foot corn stalks surround the paths through the maze, with mailboxes placed in strategic locations. Each box contains a trivia question. Answer it correctly and you’ll be directed to the correct path or a shortcut. Miss the question and you could be sent the wrong way, or at least a longer way. If you’re looking for more of a challenge you can reverse the course and enter the maze from the exit. Trivia provides no assistance this way. On selected Saturdays, you might want to experience the maze at night. It’s open from 6:30-9 p.m. Bring your own flashlight and be sure to make a reservation, as slots are limited.
Billed as the largest maze in New England, the Great Vermont Corn Maze, located in Danville, consists of two options. The Big Maze is three miles of dirt trails on 24 acres surrounded by cornstalks, 10 feet high. It takes approximately two hours to navigate the maze, which is located on a hill, so some up-and-down hiking is involved. It might take several hours to solve the maze, but staff is available to help out as it gets close to closing time. Children ages 15 and under must be supervised by an adult.
For those not up to the challenge of the Big Maze, which can be frustrating, the Scenic Maze is a 40-minute walk through the Big Maze, but with directions found along the way. An underground tunnel, dinosaurs, bridges with scenic views, and a few surprises are found as you make your way through the maze. The Scenic Maze is great for families with young children. Advance reservations are required and COVID precautions such as masks and social distancing are recommended.
Hathaway Farm, in Rutland, Vt., boasts a huge, 13-acre corn maze with miles of paths and opportunities for early exits should you wish. It’s family-friendly and will challenge all. But should it be too much for some, there’s also a mini-maze, a play area, and a livestock barn. The big maze also has eight punches. If you can find them all — not an easy task — punch your card and you will be entered into a raffle. There are some smartphone games and digital checkpoints. Using the GPS function you can see just how lost you are in the maze.
Every Saturday night there’s Moonlight Madness. Wearing a glow stick and using flashlights, try to solve the maze under the stars. Admission is allowed until 9 p.m. And don’t worry about spending the night there. They will be sure you’re out by 11 p.m. At the end of this unique experience, you’ll celebrate by enjoying plenty of marshmallows to roast. There’s also a kids’ favorite, the Livestock Barn, housing chickens, donkeys, sheep, a goat, pot belly pigs, bunnies, and Flossie the cow. It’s a great way to introduce youngsters to the large variety of farm animals. There’s also Hathaways Hens, a singing chicken show performed several times a day.
In Massachusetts, you can find a number of corn mazes, including Mike’s Maze in Sunderland, with has the theme “Imagine,” a tribute to John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s song of 50 years ago. As you wander the eight acres, you’ll find puzzles, problems and trivia to decipher and solve all along the way. Other attractions include potato cannons, track racing in pedal carts, horse-drawn wagon rides, and lunch at the Corn Café.
Closer to Boston is Hanson’s Farm in Framingham, where five generations have worked the soil to produce fruits, vegetables and hay. In addition to the 4.5-acre corn maze and hayrides, there a beautiful two-acre sunflower maze. Like a corn maze but even prettier, it’s a great place for family photo ops. A cow-painted food truck, the Moo Bus, serves a huge variety of delicious ice cream.
These are just a small sampling of the many corn mazes throughout the New England states. You can find more at individual states’ tourist websites. No matter where you go, you’ll find gorgeous autumn colors, fresh fruits and vegetables, both challenging and easier mazes along with wagon rides, up-close meetings with farm animals, and tons of other interesting experiences for adults and kids.