Labyrinths cut into fields or grown out of hedges have a deep history. These living plant mazes were created for amusement and even to test the skills of soldiers. Remnants in England can be traced back to medieval times!
Given that long tradition, it’s kind of surprising it took until 1993 for the first corn maze to be built.Every year, Cabot farmers create corn mazes with a new design. This year, two have an extra-special design in store for you! #cabotcheese Click To Tweet
Today, many farms open carefully constructed corn mazes late summer into fall, and families have created their own tradition of returning every year to challenge themselves. Not only is a great way to have some outdoor fun, but it’s another way that Cabot farmers demonstrate their entrepreneurial spirit while also bringing people closer to the source of good, wholesome food.
None of the Cabot farm mazes give the Guinness World Record held by a 60-acre maze in California a run for its money, but they have other things to commend them including cute calves to pet, flashlight evenings with bonfires and a couple that have an extra-special design this year. (Hint: Cabot is celebrating its centennial! Happy a-mazing birthday to us!)
Note: Not all mazes take credit cards and always call to check if the weather is questionable.
Rulfs Orchard Corn Maze: Peru, NY
This year marks a decade of corn mazes at Rulfs Orchard run by the Cabot farming family of Adirondack Farms in Peru, New York. In all that time, jokes Shannon Wilkins “We’ve only lost one person in there.” Shannon runs the orchard part of the family business with her sister, Amanda, while their dad, Jon, manages the dairy with a business partner. There are little toy cows wearing Rulfs shirts sprinkled throughout the bustling farm and orchard market, but this year the orchard and maze are linked in another way through a Cabot centennial celebration design as the annual design theme. Visitors to the maze can also pick their own fruit and pumpkins and indulge in freshly made treats at the on-site bakery and café. The maze also hosts flashlight nights a couple times a season with a bonfire and snacks, popular events with teenagers.
531 Bear Swamp Road, Peru, New York
Dates: 9/7 weekend through Halloween, weather depending
Hours: Weekends 10 am-4 pm; weekdays by appointment only.
Entry: $7/ages 13+, $5/ages 3 to 12; 2 & under free; special pricing available for school or other large groups.
The Escobar’s Highland Farm Corn Maze: Portsmouth, RI
The Escobars of Rhode Island take their maze very seriously, ensuring their thousands of annual visitors have an… ahem … amazing time. They work with professional maze designer Brett Herbst every year to develop their 8-acre corn labyrinth and reveal the theme only right before opening date. This year’s theme honors our distinguished military: the Marines, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard and Navy. Though the route can be navigated in under 30 minutes, it’s more likely that most visitors will take about an hour to travel through more than two miles of twists and turns, two bridges and 85 decision points. The fall brings a full roster of special themed events, including Grandparents Day, Super Hero Day, Harry Potter Day and a Fall Festival. It’s a lot to juggle but the farm’s maze manager, farmer Louis Escobar’s daughter, Lori, says she feeds off the excitement of the youngsters who work for her and the pleasure of seeing families return year after year.
255 Middle Road, Portsmouth, Rhode Island
Dates: 8/30 through November 3, weather depending
Hours: Fridays 4 pm – dusk; Saturdays, 10 am – dusk; Sundays, 11 am – dusk. Labor Day and Columbus Day 10 am – dusk. Weekday hours by reservation.
Entry: $8/ages 12 and up, $6/ages 5 to 11, 4 & under free; special pricing available for school or other large groups.
Fort Hill Farms Corn Maze: Thompson, CT
The seasonal corn maze – well, actually two different mazes — is among the rich set of on-farm activities that have landed Fort Hill Farms on Yankee Magazine’s “Best in New England” list. There’s also farm-fresh ice cream, pick-your-own pumpkins, astronomy flashlight nights, lavender fields and even meditative forest bathing on the historic fourth-generation Connecticut farm. Kies Orr, who runs the farm with her mother, Kristin, says the maze dates back to 2004 and the theme changes every year. Past themes have included the Appalachian Trail and the rivers of New England. This year, the corn maze adventure is themed for Cabot’s centennial celebrations. “Everything we do here helps to keep the community involved in agriculture,” says Kies.
260 Quaddick Road, Thompson, Connecticut
Dates: 8/23 through Halloween, weather depending
Hours: Weekdays, 10 am -8 pm; weekends, 9 am-9 pm
Entry: $14/adults, $11/ages 11 and under; 4 & under free on weekdays; special pricing available for school or other large groups.
Sweet Pea Farm Corn Maze at House of Hayes: North Granby, CT
Farmer Stanley Hayes bought a book about corn mazes back in 2005 and created his own design using graph paper. He still does the whole thing himself: double-planting the corn and then heading out to the 3 ½-acre field when the corn is six inches high, graph paper in hand, to pull some rows out and make his design. “It takes him two weeks between chores to go out and pull all the corn,” his wife, Dorothy, says. This year’s theme is classic toys and there are questions sprinkled throughout the maze. It is also located right next to the calf barn so visitors can pay the adorable calves a visit. The ninth-generation farm also runs a goat dairy and makes their own goat cheese.
151 East Street, North Granby, Connecticut
Dates: 9/14 through Halloween, weather depending
Hours: Friday & Sunday, 12-6 pm; Saturday, 12-9 pm; weekday hours by reservation.
Entry: $9/adults; $7/kids;5 & under free.
Percy Farm Corn Maze: Stowe, VT
“It all started when I was standing in the farmyard, watching all the people go by on the bike path,” recalls Paul Percy, who farms in Stowe, Vermont. “I thought, ‘There’s got to be a way to capture a little money and to educate all these folks a bit on what farming is all about.” Paul estimates it was about 16 years ago. “Time goes by when you’re having fun,” he jokes. He began by drawing a design on paper but then, when he got out the field, he couldn’t figure out how to translate the paper design into reality. “I never designed another after that,” Paul laughs. “I just go do it!” The 8 to 10-acre maze is different every year, but it always includes a “bridge to nowhere,” from which visitors get a beautiful view of the mountains. Families return year after year and kids of all ages enjoy petting and feeding calves and goats.
2919 Mountain Road, Stowe, Vermont
Dates: 8/9 through weekend of 10/12, weather depending
Hours: 10 am-5 pm daily
Entry: $6/adults, $3/seniors, $3/students and kids; 7 & under free; free for active military; special pricing available for school or other large groups.