Corn mazes are among the many quintessential autumn pleasures we've grown to know in this country. Once the corn has been harvested and leaves everywhere begin their rosy transformation, a crispness dries the remaining summer humidity and daylight dwindles as Halloween approaches. Thousands flock to fields all over America to lose themselves in this agricultural pleasure, often relieving the farm of a pumpkin or two on their way out.
It's a tradition many have known for years. But what if you've never actually done a corn maze before? Perhaps you've never enjoyed the thrill of blindly leading the way through an organic labyrinth with your friends giggling behind you. Perhaps you've never experienced the excitement of finding a new stalky corridor that, somehow, doesn't look quite the same as the others. Perhaps you've never been surprised when coming face-to-face with a stranger as you both round the same corner and gasp, then hurriedly apologize.
And perhaps you've never felt that unique, spine-tingling moment when you realize you're totally lost...
If you head to Apple Country Farm Market in Spring Valley (next to Xenia), you'll experience all of these things. Behind the gazebos, gift shop, and goats sits a corn maze of both epic proportions and difficulty.
"I don't think anyone's actually completed it," said an employee working the maze. He stands atop a wooden platform near the corner of the vegetable jungle, observing people as they misplace themselves and offering tips when propositioned.
The maze is split into two parts, with the entrances and exits lined up next to each other. While inside, you're given a "Maize-o-poly" handout to hole-punch at different stations as sort of a sub-game within your adventure through the labyrinth. Punching all of the squares on the handout results in...something. (I couldn't finish it)
Outside, an elevated observation deck stands at the edge to the left. From that limited perspective, you can grasp the enormity of the area, but you won't find a solution to getting through the maze. The secret to its solution, it seems, is cleverly protected.
If you're a seasoned vet at corn maze navigation, you may make it through.
You'll probably need Google Maps to get out to Spring Valley from Cincinnati, but its usefulness dissolves at the precipice of Apple Country Farm Market's gravel drive. Google knows a lot of things, but solving this corn maze isn't one of 'em.
- - -
Apple Country Farm Market's corn maze is located at 2323 US-42, Spring Valley, OH 45370.