Day trips: Lost in a corn field

This past Saturday, we got lost. On purpose. We took a trip to Lancaster County, in south central Pennsylvania, to visit a corn maze.

The basic idea is simple enough. Every year, the owners design a maze illustrating a different theme – in previous years, the mazes have been illustrations of a train, the map of Pennsylvania, an Amish buggy, the Liberty Bell, a biplane, and many other topics. (This year’s theme is baseball.) Then the maze is cut into a five-acre field of corn, and visitors are turned loose to try to find their way out again.

Deciding which way to go next can be puzzling.

To give you some idea of where you are, the maze is color-coded. Plastic tape is tied along the edges of the pathways (this is also to discourage frustrated visitors from trampling through the corn). Different colors of tape are used for different parts of the design – this is the boundary between the “ballfield”, in green, and the “batter’s helmet”, in red.

When you enter the maze, you are given a map – well, not exactly a map, but the background for a map. Scattered through the maze are 15 “mailboxes” containing one section of the map.

There’s also a supply of tape to fasten the newly located section to your background sheet. The idea is to find so many map pieces that you can study the map and find your way to the exit.

This year, for the first time, there was a graded system of hints. If you wanted to settle for walking around the outer edge and leaving by the entrance, you could follow the yellow markers – I think they’re supposed to resemble ears of corn. Then there were orange signs (I forgot to take a picture of one), with hints on the back.

And for diehards, they posted “encouraging” red signs. We almost followed the advice on this one, until we took a second look and realized you can’t help doing what it says – it points you in both directions at once.

There’s a cafe in the depths of the maze, with picnic tables, snacks, and WATER.

And nearby, an escape hatch for the truly desperate.

For families with energetic children, there are various activities scattered here and there like ropes to climb and a chute to slide through.

The maze is a “working” cornfield – it will stay open as a maze until Halloween, when the cornstalks will be suitably dry and rattly and spooky, and then the corn will be harvested in early November. Meanwhile, visitors are asked to leave ears of corn – like these in the photo – alone.

Eventually, you reach the exit, where you can pick up any map pieces you didn’t find, and leave by way of a “victory bridge”.

As you can see, an overhead view of the maze wouldn’t be much help! You can just barely make out the pathways that seem generously wide when you’re walking through them.

There are stands selling food – hamburgers, hot dogs, ears of corn, and the like – and a number of other things to do, like a miniature maze for very young children made of bales of straw that come up about to their waists. And there are cute animals –

Goats

Kids

Baa, baa, black…lamb

It took us hours to escape (this year’s maze was unusually tricky – some years we’ve found our way out in only 45 minutes). And we’ll do it again next summer.

Advertisements

17 responses to “Day trips: Lost in a corn field

  1. I love a good corn maze. I’ve even had a couple of articles published about creating them and their popularity. Is this Maze Quest near Red Lion? They have a lot of great mazes in addition to corn mazes.

  2. I love mazes! There is a yearly maize maze one quite nearby and I’ve done it in the past and found it fairly easy.Last year I did a hedge maze though and it was a nightmare! even when we found the centre and could climb to a view point we still took ages to get back out! Great fun though. I’m enjoying your local posts 🙂

    • We’ve been going to this particular maze for years now – of course, it helps that they change it every year. Sometimes the puzzle is pretty diabolical – I think the worst was the year of two bridges. They often conceal a raised bridge somewhere in the maze that you need to cross, and occasionally there are a couple of them. But the puzzle we’ve never forgotten turned out to be one maze nested inside another. If you crossed either bridge, you were in the inner maze and could find the exit. Crossing both bridges, though, put you back in the outer maze, with no way out at all.

  3. What a great way to spend a day. I wonder if anyone ever got stuck there?

  4. how a-mazing i would love to do that 🙂

  5. Ah, the Maize Maze! I did this a few times with my friends (way back when we were all still single, without anklebiters around), and it was so much fun. I remember having the best time piecing together the map pieces. We never made very good time as a group, but there were quite a few laughs. Thanks for bringing back those memories. 🙂

    • 🙂

      It’s a very anklebiter-friendly place, but I can see that it would be hard to organize a friends-plus-kids outing. Then again, as the years roll past the anklebiters start looking down at the top of your head (and you’ll know when that happens, because they’ll TELL you gleefully) and finally wander off to lead their own lives and go places with their friends. And that’s when you and your friends start the outings again. 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s