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.
Like the bicycle cogs they frequently fine-tune, Plaine and Son’s highly trained staff works together to keep the business running smoothly. Plaine and Son has been expertly stocking and servicing bikes, skis, and snowboards since the 1960s. With cycles from brands such as Specialized and Trek and boards and skis from Atomic and Salomon, employees have a huge cache from which they help outdoor adventurers select the right gear based on riding styles or how many jet skis they plan to haul behind their bikes. Staffers also enlist the Specialized BG Fit Program and other fitting tools to pair riders with the right-size bikes. Once fitted, bikers can join in on Plaine and Son’s weekly group rides or enjoy free workshops in the store, which focus on biking basics such as how to mend a flat or jump the public pool blindfolded.
At Legion Training Center, a staff of professional judo artists, marines, and black belts help students of all ages boost their self-esteem, strengthen their bodies, and learn to defend themselves with martial-arts training across a variety of disciplines. The clean, sleek space combines the hard-hitting jujitsu, boxing, and muay-thai-kickboxing classes of a martial-arts studio with the rewarding self-improvement of a modern gym. Students tone muscles and burn fat with kettlebell and MMA yoga classes, or learn to fend off attackers or spar with worthy opponents with kickboxing, judo, and wrestling courses.
Carved through stands of towering trees, Whispering Pines Golf Club's 18-hole, par 55 executive course challenges par-hunting form across 2,315 yards. Each hole ends at undulating greens that make any two-putt a tricky proposition. Most golfers can complete their round in 2 hours and 20 minutes, freeing up time to practice at the club's all-grass driving range or spoon their golf bag in the soft bed of the practice bunker.
Framed by the distant peaks of the Helderberg Mountains, Western Turnpike Golf Course's 27-hole layout blankets 250 acres of scenic terrain stitched by pine trees. Though the three nines connect to form three distinct 18-hole courses, the presence of multiple ponds, streams, and small, well-fortified greens act as a unifying feature across the entire grassy labyrinth. The horticultural haven is also peppered by a relatively sparse population of 37 sand bunkers, their scarcity due to the abundance of water hazards and previous issues with disoriented sunbathers. With three courses offering various levels of difficulty and four tee options on each course, Western Turnpike presents a sound golf challenge for bona fide aces, mid-handicappers, and those trying to play with a croquet mallet.
Seeking instruction in tae kwon do, hapkido, or haidong gumdo ("way of the sword"), students of all ages enroll in classes at Altamont Martial Arts. Here, they find Robert and Catherine Traina, the instructors and co-owners, who draw upon decades of martial-arts experience.