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Some a-maize-ing autumn adventures

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The corn maze at Hooper’s Orchard in Monroe. The corn maze at Hooper’s Orchard in Monroe. (edge photo by Neily Raymond)

It’s fall, and that means it’s time to get lost … in a corn maze, that is. 

Maine’s family farms are in the swing of another season, and that means corn mazes have sprung up across the state. Some are technically challenging, some family-oriented, some quirky, but they’ll all give you those fall feels. 

We’ve taken a tour of some of the outstanding corn mazes in the area so you can find the maze that suits your mood. Lace up your walking shoes and pick a cozy sweater - these local businesses have much to share. 

Thunder Road Farm, Corinna

Ted Peavey bought Thunder Road Farm in 1939, planting sprawling fruit and vegetable fields on either side of a stretch of road in rural Corinna. The Peavey family still owns the farm, which now boasts pick-your-own pumpkins, a play area, a farm store and - hold your breath - a mammoth “corn maize.” 

As “maizes” go, I’ll attest to the quality of this one. The full circuit takes about an hour, and that’s if you’re traveling at a leisurely pace, perhaps pausing to answer a question at one of the trivia stations. The stalks are tall and the paths are narrow, lending the experience an “In The Tall Grass” sort of thrill (though without anything evil lurking nearby).

This year, the folks at Thunder Road are lending a hand to Maine families battling cancer. “The first Saturday in October, we’re going to donate a dollar from every person who comes through the door to the Dempsey Challenge,” says owner Barbara Peavey. “We’re trying to do our part.” 

(185 Newport Rd, Corinna. Open weekends from 10 - 6 until Oct. 31, with extended hours for the weekend of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. $8 entry, 3 and under free.)

Hooper’s Orchard, Monroe

Ben and Belle Hooper own and operate this mid-1800s apple orchard, nestled in the foothills of the midcoast. With its rusty red barns, neat rows of apple trees and pumpkin patch, Hooper’s Orchard seems like a slice of old Maine. 

Recently, the Hoopers introduced an interactive corn maze. The 2021 theme is Maine pirates - and even stubborn landlubbers will enjoy this one. It’s just the right size for families, about a half-hour stroll. You’ll follow clues about buccaneers who sailed the coast of our great state. (It makes you wonder what a pirate could possibly plunder in colonial New England. Lobsters? Potatoes? Snow?)

I was curious about how one goes about building a corn maze, so I asked Ben Hooper to describe the process. “We have a new design every year,” said Ben. He plans the route on graph paper before he plants in the spring. But “other than that,” he insists, “it’s just growing corn.”

After you find the pirate’s treasure, replenish those lost calories with a jug of Hooper’s signature cider and a generously sugared homemade donut. Us Maine pirates have it easy.

(856 Back Brooks Rd, Monroe. Open Thursday - Sunday, 10 - 5. $9 entry, 3 and under free.)

Treworgy Family Orchards, Levant

Bangorians have been visiting Treworgy’s for decades to pick apples and pumpkins. The family farm in Levant, only a fifteen-minute drive from downtown Bangor, continues its tradition of quality service and fall festivities.

This year’s “Charlotte’s Web” corn maze was named second-best in the country by USA Today. You can navigate through the innards of Wilbur the pig, Templeton the rat and Charlotte the spider, following the map provided at the maze’s entrance. (Or go map-free and become pleasantly disoriented. Up to you.) In a nod to Charlotte’s love for words, riddle stations throughout the maze allow you to test your vocabulary chops. 

Maze admission includes a soft-serve ice cream cone; be sure to visit the petting zoo as you chow down. Or if goats aren’t your speed, take a spin around the orchard on the hayride. Smell the good fall smells. It’s not a stretch to imagine you’re visiting Homer Zuckerman’s farm - minus the talking spider.

(3876 Union St, Levant. Open daily from 10 - 7:30; closed Sundays. $10 entry, 2 and under free.)

Last modified on Wednesday, 29 September 2021 08:15

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