Patterson Farm sits amongst the rolling hills of Caledonia County, Vermont, just north of the town of Danville. There, Roy and Brenda Patterson continue in the dairy farming tradition of their parents, while Mike and Dayna Boudreau, their son-in-law and daughter, explore an entirely unique way to keep the family farming tradition alive far into the future.
Patterson Farm was established in 1950, when Roy’s parents, Pat and Polly Patterson, purchased the farm from Polly’s family. For the next 40 years, they grew the business, making a major addition or renovation each decade: a new milking barn was built in 1973; an additional livestock barn was constructed in 1985; the old hay and livestock barn was replaced in 1990. At their peak, the Pattersons milked 120 cows each day, and farmed 90 acres of corn and 120 acres of grass. In 1992, Roy and Brenda acquired the farm from their parents when they retired, and slowly reduced the herd down to approximately 60 milkers, a manageable size for just the two of them. Life on the farm continued as it had for decades, each day much like the last, the routines varying only with the change of seasons. That all changed in the late 1990s when Mike and Dayna, along with their son, Jake and daughter, Rian, returned home to the farm.
“We decided we wanted to raise our kids on the farm, and we wanted them to be around their grandparents,” says Mike. “Living on a farm is a great way to keep kids busy, active and learning. It is such a healthy, character building place to grow up.”
Quickly after relocating to Danville, Mike and Dayna began working on a business opportunity. “The farm is in such a beautiful location,” says Mike. “From the fields, you have this amazing view of Mt. Washington. That’s when I came up for the idea for the corn maze.”
In 1999, Mike and Dayna opened the Great Vermont Corn Maze. The maze, selected by Travel Channel as one of the top ten mazes in the Untied States, covers 10 full acres, and takes the average adults two hours to solve. The design changes every year, features a separate haunted event in the fall, and attracts approximately 7,000 visitors each year. Over the years, Mike and Dayna have also added a number of other attractions, including a kid village, barnyard golf course, underground tunnels and petting animals.
“The maze is a tremendous amount of work, but also a remarkable amount of fun,” says Mike. “It takes us about six weeks to cut the trails, and we work from sun up to sun down from the end of July through the end of October until it closes. While that might sound unbearable to some people, I absolutely love it. I get to spend each day alongside my family, and the kids help out whenever they are able. We wouldn’t have it any other way.”
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