Even though our days here in New England are getting shorter, there is still plenty of fall fun to be had! If you have not already, treat yourself and your family to a real farm fresh adventure – a romp through a local corn maze!

For anyone unfamiliar with the concept – real (complex) mazes are cut into actual cornfields and visitors are set loose to find their way through these life-sized mazes. Accompanied by a series of games and challenges like barnyard Bingo and Clue-type mysteries, the organizers have found ways to keep it fun for everyone of all ages. While there is no real way to get completely lost, it is a challenge to find the direct path out. And don’t worry, spotters roam the mazes in case you get (really, really) lost.

And even if the idea of a life-sized maze scares you, there’s always plenty of farm fun and treats to be had from hayrides and pumpkin patches to kettle corn and cider donuts.

The Maze concept is relatively new to New England and was an idea started in the late 1990’s by a Utah farmer/businessman who turned the idea into a company that works with local farms to draw in tourism to help supplement a farm’s meager income. The company has come to manage hundreds of farms across the country You can read a little about the history of the founding father behind the idea behind what they call the “MaIZE” here: http://www.themaize.com/

Here in the Keene/Monadnock area we are fortunate enough to have one of these professionally managed and very safe (we promise!) operations, though it is over the border in the great state of Vermont. The Gaines Family Farm is some 200 years old spread across some 200 acres and just happens to be in easy driving distance from Keene, about a half hour or so that can be added to a leaf-peeping tour. The farm offers a seven-acre maze cut deep into its ten-foot high stalks of corn. As a bonus, they have a farm store where such things as maple syrup and farm-raised beef are available for purchase. It is a working farm, after all.

So, get the family together and get lost! Head out and enjoy the autumn sunshine before our friend winter takes hold. Act fast because the corn must come in for harvest at some point – so the maze ends just before the end of October. For more information check out their website: http://gainesfarmvt.com/ and let us know if you have a favorite corn maze in your neck of the woods.