One of the great pleasures of living in Athens is the local corn maze that opens up every fall. It’s located at a farm not far outside town where you can pick berries at other times of year. Rachael and I went with some friends the first year we moved back to Athens after we graduated from college (it was close to Halloween so we went in costume; there are a few photos of me dressed up as Waldo frolicking through the corn floating around somewhere). It was a delightful experience, but we didn’t make it a regular thing (I think subsequent years saw us enjoying things like the local zombie farm and our perennial favorite event of the season, the Wild Rumpus).
This year, Rachael and I found ourselves with a free weekend and a deep need to get out of the house for a bit due to various unfortunate things happening on the internet (see: 2016). On a whim, after we had spent the evening watching a German movie adaptation of the HP Lovecraft story “The Color Out of Space,” we decided to check how late the corn maze was open, and at eight-thirty on a Saturday night we set out to go get lost in the corn.
The great thing about the corn maze is that it’s not the farm’s only attraction. The whole place has something of a fair atmosphere, with carnival games, corn hole boards, a “vortex tunnel” designed to make you feel dizzy when you walk through it, and even a row of fire pits where you can sit and hang out in the chill autumn air. It’s all delightful, family friendly fun, and this quality helps take the edge off the mixture of college students also out enjoying the festivities (Athens is a college town, and on a Saturday night you can expect some folks to show up in less than sober states). Reminders that the attractions of the farm are meant for all ages are everywhere, which created just the kind of atmosphere Rachael and I were looking for on our spontaneous date.
The best part of the maze was that because we went so late in the evening it was well after sundown. Mazes are generally fun, but navigating one in the dark is especially exciting. The general attitude of the folks we saw in the maze was that it was kind of spooky to wander around in the dark, even if it was a full moon so we had more light than you’d normally get. Still, we brought a flashlight just in case we needed it, and this turned out to be a good decision.
One of the hallmarks of this corn maze is the posting of trivia questions at intersections. The maze is usually designed so that you have distinct segments that can only be moved between by one path, and all others just tend to loop around back on one another. If you answer the trivia questions correctly (they’re always listed as multiple choice), the sign indicates which direction you should go to move on to the next segment. It’s great if you happen to know a lot of trivia, but it can be frustrating if you don’t. Rachael and I are pretty good at trivia (and there’s always at least one question on each sign designed to be easy to get for children), so we didn’t have any trouble. That’s not to say that we didn’t encounter more than a few people who had gotten legitimately lost in the maze, and weren’t sure what to do to get out.
All told we probably took about half an hour to get through the maze, and we enjoyed every minute of it. Rachael took pictures of all the various “cornundrum” signs that were posted for entertainment (these signs all featured a picture that was supposed to be a pun of some sort that was farm related; the easiest one was a picture of a cow in a pie crust–a cowpie) and enjoyed posting them to Facebook to see if our friends could decipher them. There’s one that we had a lot of trouble with, and we’re still not totally sure what the answer is supposed to be.
After the corn maze, we took advantage of the fire pits to sit and enjoy the cool evening. We ate homemade strawberry ice cream and chatted about the things that were on our minds, just enjoying each other’s company. It was a wonderful end to a good evening out.