There’s a fire in the field and only one way out. Unfortunately, that way is twisted and riddled with dead-ends. But at the end, past 5 acres of carved paths and corn-themed puzzles, past thousands of stalks of corn swaying in the wind, past delirious visions of poker-playing scarecrows, is a fire hose. Such is the theme of Ellms Family Farm’s interactive Hero Rush Amazing Maize maze, an obstacle that carries on pastoral autumn traditions with roughly 90 minutes of music and fun. Yet this maze is just one way that the Ellms family celebrates the changing season—it also serves up crispy apple-cider donuts, lobs wee ones into the air on the farm-favorite Jumping Pillow, and treats guests to a number of other themed activities it has developed over the years.
The farm’s history stretches back to 1984, when Chip and Sally Ellms planted their first batch of Christmas trees and began inviting visitors to stop by and admire the easy wind and downy flakes of winter. As the family grew, the farm kept pace, expanding to cover more than 200 acres and incorporate activities that help guests celebrate autumn as well. Throughout the harvest season, guests flock to the fields to play conductor or coal shoveler on the MooMooChooChoo train or pick out fresh pumpkins in the patch.
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Lynn Gorman Bakos harnesses more than 30 years of riding experience—including time studying under an Olympic rider—as she presides over Renegade Farm. Certified by the American Riding Instructors Association, Lynn trains many of her own horses to help to ensure that the animals are gentle in demeanor. During lessons, Lynn teaches students in either the outdoor riding ring or indoor lighted arena, beyond which lies more than 40 acres of lush, tree-lined pasture where riders have the chance to take a long enough running start to create the first Pegasus.
Starting as a child at the age of five, Louis DiCrescenzo wandered between rows of vines, toddling along behind his grandfather as he worked the vines in their family vineyard in Monte San Biagio just south of Rome. Today, with four generations of winemakers behind him, Louis and his son Michael combine tradition and innovation to create high quality estate-bottled wines at Altamont Vineyard & Winery. With more than 20 types of grapes grown and harvested in the Helderberg mountains of Upstate New York, Altamont Vineyard & Winery produces a carefully curated selection of fine red and white wines. Visitors can take meandering tours of the picturesque winery and vineyard, cruising through the vines, heading to the wine room to see how it's all made, and sipping samples of the final result: adult juice boxes. The vineyard is also an ideal destination for events, private parties, tastings, and tours.
Backed by more than 30 years of experience, Go Green Contracting keeps homes looking sharp and operating efficiently. The company lets its handymen loose for jobs both big and small, including remodeling ventures and lawn maintenance. But Go Green's team can handle simple fixes too such as painting and replacing windows that no longer fit after houses have sudden growth spurts.
Founded in 1928, Carr Hardware stocks more than 50,000 items that can aid in everything from DIY home-construction projects and lawn maintenance to automotive and party supplies. Shake down low-life weeds for lunch money with Roundup Pump 'N Go Weed & Grass Killer ($16.99), or surround them with positive role models by purchasing the 3.75-pound container of EZ Seed, a life-affirming combination of mulch, seed, and fertilizer ($13.99). Black or tan stack chairs ergonomically assist in lemonade consumption ($18 each), and children can wield 24-inch lawn-and-leaf rakes ($6.99) and glow LED flashlights ($3.99–$6.99) during lawn-raking raves. The 18-inch bamboo grill brush cleans cooking grates with dazzling fortitude and is amply suited to futuristic application as a robot loofah ($6.99).