“You’re taking us in circles,” I laughed as my 14-year-old insisted she’d found the way to the next marker on the map. The maze twisted and turned revealing a pair of battling bugs when viewed from above, according to our map. But we weren’t looking at the full picture – we were wending our way through 12-foot tall, thick corn stalks.
Just a few miles from the main drag of downtown Peninsula, the biking and hiking haven in the heart of Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Szalay’s Farm Market bursts to life in the fall. From mid-September through the end of October, Szalay’s becomes a mini-amusement park where you can celebrate all things fall.
We arrived right at lunchtime on a Saturday to take full advantage of the outdoor grill and live music.
We sat on one of the covered, rocking picnic tables to down our deli dogs and turkey burgers. While we saw plenty of kids – and adults – with soft serve sundaes covered with fresh fruit my kids wanted only one thing for dessert, roasted corn.
It seemed fitting to chomp on an ear of corn before heading into a whole field of them. And Szalay’s knows how to serve corn. The just-picked ears are rotated through a roaster before they remove the pesky outside husks, dip the entire thing in melted butter and then hand it to you with a thick paper towel at the bottom. Each juicy kernel bursts as you bite in. I’ll admit I went after the remains of my corn ear a couple times hoping to nab any kernel I might have missed.
We glanced at the farmers produce and market before making our way across the street to the corn maze.
Truck-sized bales of hay were turned into giant spiders right near the entrance. After paying to enter, we were told to find the eight pumpkins inside and given a map to help us on our way.
The corn stalks look shorter from the road – once inside the maze they tower above you, casting shadows as the light filters in. We weren’t sure what to expect with the first stop, but when we found cartoonish statues of ghouls and goblins we got the idea. Winding our way from one stop to the next we took turns taking the lead. My daughter insisted that her three times around the same section of the maze was intentional.
I had my doubts.
At first, my kids were anxious to get from one stop to the next. And then, as we kept walking and talking our pace slowed. We’d glance at the map every once in awhile and then try to find our way without much guidance.
Occasionally, we would circle into other groups as we worked our way through the maze. I noticed folks in the maze of all ages – an older couple, one holding an umbrella against the sun; a family with two children under the age of five; a pair of friends, their ice tea in hand and no map in site.
As we were reaching one of the last stops, I stared teasing my kids on their map skills and mentioned that we needed to take a look at the map so we wouldn’t be there all day.
A voice chimed in from somewhere among the stalks, a man from another group piped up, “Why not, it’s fun getting lost in here.”
He was right.
If you go: The corn maze is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $6. Depedning on your pace, going through the maze takes around 30-45 minutes. Entrance to the maze also includes the Spinning Barn. And since you’re not supposed to say exactly what it’s like in this psychedelic experience, I’ll keep my mouth mum on that one too. You’ll have to see for yourself!
Prepared food and live entertainment available on weekends only.
For more falliday inspiration, Find It Here at Ohio.org.