“Don’t run, and don’t leave the paths.” The Liberty Mills Farm employee told us, giving us the scoop before we began our foray into the corn maze. “And whatever you do, don’t swear in the maze. There are 2 million undeveloped ears out there, so we can’t tolerate that.” There was a pause, and we chuckled as we got the “corny” humor. Then I addressed a smallish concern of my own. “If we’re not, um, back by dark–?” I began, staring down at the complex network of lines crisscrossing our map. He grinned. “We’ll come find you before we close up for the night. Don’t worry, no one’s ever gotten lost for good.” Somewhat reassured, we flashed thumbs-up and set off to conquer, armed with our color-coded map and–well, pretty much just our color-coded map. And that’s part of what’s fun about it–you feel like you’re setting out into the unknown, having an adventure with a treasure map, while still retaining the comforting knowledge that sooner or later you’ll find your way out again.
My husband and I opted for the blue maze first. It’s billed as the “secondary” maze (1 hour) for those a little above the “elementary” yellow level (30 minutes) but not quite ready for the red “bachelors” (2-3 hours). We didn’t even consider entering the green “masters” level, which seems to require intuition as the only navigational tool and isn’t featured on the map. The map was, by the way, incredibly accurate, which made negotiating the ship-and-waves design of the blue maze a bit simpler. Our assigned task en route was to find 13 American history trivia questions. If we correctly answered the questions, we gained a letter, which we could enter into the crossword puzzle on the back of the map. If we correctly filled in all the spaces, we could earn a prize back at the ticket booth. (I say this in the theoretical sense, because we didn’t manage to find all the clues and consequently didn’t earn a prize.) Despite not locating all the stations, it was thoroughly enjoyable. The wind had an autumn nip to it and was blowing pretty strongly, rustling the dry stalks above our heads. The sky was clear-blue, the labyrinth walls were golden, and the path ahead was latticed with shadows. It made for a beautiful walk that somehow epitomized autumn, and we were sorry to leave (though relieved, of course, that they didn’t have to send a rescue party out for us.)
After completing the maze, we played a few games of tic-tac-toe and checkers (using mottled little pumkin-noids as our game pieces). We flashed our wristbands to catch a ride on the hayride rumbling along through the pumpkin patches. We disembarked at the farm store, where we enjoyed sampling some of the jams and jellies the farm produces. The strawberry salsa was delicious, and we wound up taking a jar of the strawberry butter home with us.We’re looking forward to trying it out on some warm shortbread thumbprints very soon!
Liberty Mills Farm is located in Somerset, VA–an easy ten-minute drive from Orange. Holladay House is offering discounted tickets if you want to go–just check with Sharon before you head out. For more info, including a complete schedule of what’s going on around the farm, visit http://www.libertymillsfarm.com/