Sunday, September 15, 2013

CORN - As Far As The Eye Can See...

     At least, that's what it is like when you're stuck inside a Corn Maze!!  Corn everywhere.  Ha ha!

    Okay, I can't believe, in all of my 45 years, and all of them spent living here in Connecticut, I have never been to Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, CT before!!  Where have I been?  Why didn't I go sooner?  I have no answers for these questions.  But I have been there now, and I loved it!  Originally we ("we being myself, my husband, and the two younger kids "M" and "S") went solely for the Corn Maze.  (In the honesty of "full disclosure", Lyman Orchards gave us the passes to the maze in return for this blog post.  All opinions & experiences are our own though.)  To be truthful though, there is so much more to Lyman Orchards than this maze!!

     We set off on this bright & sunny Sunday afternoon, for a nice drive to the Orchards.  The directions on their website are spot on, and we got there so easily.  Quickly found a place to park, which was surprising, since there were TONS of people there.  We got lucky, I won't lie.  Right by the parking lot was a nice little pond, loaded with ducks, and a small fountain in the middle - very peaceful and pretty.  We wandered around for a little bit, passing the hayride area, pony rides, smelling the fresh cinnamon cider donuts being made (oh did I want those!!), and then made our way to the Corn Maze area.  I had gotten our tickets online, which you can do here, so we just handed over the printed tickets.  They quickly scanned them and sent us on to the entrance.  There we picked up our maze map, pencils for the kids, and our choices of themed multiple choice questions, to help us find our way at the ten marked posts throughout the maze.  We each took different ones in case any stumped us along the way.  Mine was History, Dad took Sports, S took Scouting, and M selected Movies/TV.  There were also ones for tiny tots, "corny", and girls scouts.

     In we went!  It was a lot of fun, twisting & turning through the corn, finding dead ends and turning back, or just going around in a circle in this section or another.  We joked that if we needed to, we could have M stand on Dad's shoulders to help guide us out - but that wouldn't have helped one bit.  Even on his shoulders (he stands just about 6 feet tall), her four foot body wouldn't have been able to see much.  There were two bridges that bring you up above the corn too, but even up there, all you see is more and more corn.  At some point in the maze, we made the decision to split up - one kid with one parent.  I kind of thought we'd meet up again somewhere, and we did - OUTSIDE.  So then it became girls vs. boys in the race to get out of the maze.  M was a little worried that we wouldn't find Dad again, but I assured her that we were just as capable of finding our way out as they were.  And we did!  Yes, the boys won, and were waiting for us outside the exit, but we had fun and worked together with the clues, and the paths, and made it out without tears or frustration. I had no worries, they have "corn cops" stationed throughout the maze for anyone who needs help, gets tired, or just gets so frustrated they want to give up.

     Once you make it out of the maze, you get a success sticker, "I survived the Corn Maze."  Then we headed off to check out the Apple Barrel store!  Oh what heaven!  It is loaded with all of the fruit grown at Lyman Orchards, plus pies, breads, muffins, cookies, and so much more.  I can't even list it all here, really!  The smells are amazing, and if you can get around the throngs of people shopping in there, so much to pick from.  I ended up with only a bag of fresh red bartlett pears, while my husband was outside getting a huge bag of freshly made kettle corn, but I could certainly have spent a lot more time, and money, in that store!  Dozens of types of apples, gorgeous peaches, grapes, squash - you name it, it was there.  

     The more I look over the brochures I picked up, or the website - I realize just how much is located there.  I'll give you a little Lyman Orchards lesson now.  It covers more than 1100 acres of farmland, and it's only 30 minutes from Hartford, New Haven, or Waterbury CT.  They have their Apple Barrel market store, Pick Your Own Orchards (from June through October, you can pick strawberries, jostaberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, pears, apples, and pumpkins - all in their own seasons), the historic Lyman Homestead (dating back to the mid 1700's), and an entire Golf Center (including The Jones Course, and the Player Course).  They also do events there all year round.  We will definitely head back for some of them too.  They do special breakfasts, kids & adult workshops, WinterFest, a Mother's Day brunch, Strawberry Fest, Easter Apple Hunt, Connecticut Day, Berry Fest, Peach Fest, Sunflower Maze (in August), Clambake, the Corn Maze, and Brunch with Santa!  Be sure to like them on  Facebook, follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and add them to your circles on Google+, in order to keep up with the Pick Your Own season, and all their fabulous upcoming events.

     I almost forgot to mention that they donate so much to great causes too.  The Corn Maze (going on until November 3rd) donates $1 from each ticket sold to the American Cancer Society.  (That is a huge charity that is close to our heart.)  The Sunflower Maze that they do in August donates $1 from each admission to the Connecticut Children's Medical Center.  I took a picture of their boards showing how much they have donated to these causes.  What a way to give back to the Connecticut Community!

     If you find yourself in Connecticut, or like me, you live here and have never been to this amazing place, please, take some time to visit.  Yes, you can make an entire day of it, or at the very least, a whole morning or afternoon.  So much to see & do, a fantastically peaceful setting, loads of exercise if you happen to get "lost" in one of the mazes, and just a great family outing.  I am so glad we went, and I can assure you that it will NOT be the last time we go.