Topic: Massachusetts

Sterling, MA: Davis Corn Maze

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Aerial shot of "The Great Movie Maze" of 2006, featuring bridges to give visitors a boost for a look around.

Aerial shot of "The Great Movie Maze" of 2006, featuring bridges to give visitors a boost for a look around.

All photos/art by Linda Davis

You’ll need a few supplies with you while getting lost in Davis’ Mega Maze in Sterling, Massachusetts: sturdy shoes, sunblock, snacks, and either a keen sense of direction or a horseshoe in your pocket. Visitors start by viewing a three-minute introductory movie; then the trek through the labyrinth begins …

Each year, this three-dimensional, eight-acre corn-and-sorghum maze is drafted by Adrian Fisher, the world’s leading maze designer. Since 1998, owners Larry and Doug Davis and their father, John Davis, have worked with Fisher to construct a different theme for each season (dinosaurs, superheroes, and so on), putting 12,800 hours of labor — from research through cultivation and shaping — into scores of twists and turns.

It’s an adventure for any age, but special treats for children are a big part of the experience. Enjoy trivia questions, treasure hunts, obstacle courses, games, and more. Whether you and the kids simply want to find your way to Victory Bridge or stop to complete all the challenges along the way, you’re in for anywhere from 23 minutes to six hours of fun.

Inside, the breeze rustles through the stalks, and inspiring and sardonic music blares from 20 speakers. (Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” and R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” are just two examples.) Groups of people weave their way along rugged paths. “This looks too familiar,” says one man, dejectedly. “There are two ways to get down here,” yells one excited little girl. “If we got points for going under bridges, we’d be doing great …” says another.

A family from West Boylston, Massachusetts, attempts to find their way out of a tricky loop. Gaby, age 6, and Paul, age 4, do their best not to run as their parents follow close behind. “We think we know what we’re doing,” says their mother, Kelly, gesturing toward husband Tim, “but they’ll probably get us out of here.” Less than a minute later, the children discover a new pathway.

“Engineers and doctors do worst,” says Larry Davis with a smile. “They postulate which way they should go, but the kids just do it. They just go.” Originally the maze was designed solely for adults, with few activities. “But after a few years,” he notes, “we found that children ages 8 to 12 do the best.” Since then, a big variety of games and puzzles have been added to make the maze more interactive.

Still, in the end, it’s all about getting from start to finish. With that goal in mind, Larry reveals a tip: “The best strategy is either to let the youngest decide where to go — or to just have fun and mix it up.” Good luck and good hunting …

When You Go

Davis’ Mega Maze, 145 Redstone Hill, Sterling, MA. Open Aug.-Nov. Call or visit Web site to confirm schedule and check weather updates. 978-422-8888; davisfarmland.com

More New England Mazes


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