Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘corn maze’

Goodbye Summer! Hello Fall!

This giant ear of corn welcomes you to McDonald's Corn Maze.

This giant ear of corn welcomes you to McDonald’s Corn Maze.

Pumpkins + Corn Maze = Thoughts of Fall

McDonald’s Corn Maze provides the perfect spot for families to discover the spirit of the fall season. In 2006, the corn maze was created with hopes that a few children might be able to enjoy it. Never did they expect that over 3,000 would make their way through the maze that very first year.

The theme each year differs. This year the five-acre corn maze features a cowboy with a lasso standing by a saguaro. Wonder if he’s going to lasso a pumpkin?

A play area along side the corn maze offers many possibilities to explore.

A play area along side the corn maze offers many possibilities to explore.

This is indeed a family affair involving three generations. Jim and Susan McDonald built their home between their parents’ farms on Adamsville Road in Muskingum County. This makes for close family ties and grandparents have opportunity to watch their two grandsons grow up.

Agriculture is their main interest and they want to teach youngsters and adults more about the process of getting food from the farm to the table. Jim lived on a farm all of his life so it was no surprise when he graduated from Ohio State University at their Agricultural Technical Institute with a degree in greenhouse and management production. He opened his first greenhouse the year after he graduated.

All kinds of pumpkins are waiting to be taken home for decorations.

All kinds of pumpkins are waiting to be taken home for decorations. Those in the front are called “Witches Warts”.

There’s no shortage of pumpkins here as McDonald’s has fifteen acres of pumpkins with choices of different sizes, shapes, and colors. Choose from Buckskin, White Pumpkins, or Witches Warts to name a few. They expect to have over 10,000 pumpkins this year as well as a large supply of mums, gourds, and cornstalks. Everything you need for a fantastic fall scene.

Pictures is an overview of the 2015 maze.

Pictured is an overview of the 2015 maze.

They cut the maze in June when the corn was about a foot high. The drawing of the maze scene was placed on a grid, then Susan carefully directed Jim on his mower foot by foot to make it perfect. That’s no small feat in a five acre maze.

Educating students and adults about honey bees is one of Jim's enjoyments.

Educating students and adults about honey bees is one of Jim’s enjoyments.

Affectionately called Old McDonald, Jim has farming in his blood. School groups, 4-H clubs, scout troops and even seniors enjoy his stories about the farm. As you would expect, it’s not unusual for a verse or two of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” to be part of the day’s events.

Maggie the Milk Cow even goes to the county fair for demonstrations on how to milk a cow.

Maggie the Milk Cow goes to the county fair for demonstrations on how to milk a cow.

Today’s children don’t have much opportunity for up-close contact with real farm life. Jim wants them to understand where their food comes from. His enthusiasm about farm life is almost tangible. Even though it’s hard work, it obviously has its rewards as he enjoys telling children about pollination by honey bees, milking a cow, growing pumpkins and why it’s always earth day for a farmer.

This goat stands on top of a large bale of round ray and peers into the plastic pipe used as a slide. Should he or shouldn't he?

This goat stands on top of a large round bale of hay and peers into the plastic pipe used as a slide. Should he or shouldn’t he?

A petting zoo gives everyone a chance to be in contact with different baby animals such as a lamb, goat, duck, pig, or rabbit. Nearby a small playground contains a unique “sandbox” – a round watering tank filled with fifty bushels of shelled corn. There’s also stones to play hopscotch, and a slide made of plastic pipe atop bales of hay.

Take a walk in the Enchanted Forest and discover how early farmers lived.

Take a walk in the Enchanted Forest and discover how Ohio’s first farmers lived.

Then take a leisurely walk through Enchanted Forest and surround yourself with nature. Listen for the special sounds of the woods and learn about the plants that grow there as many have markers with names and uses. Deep in the woods is a teepee, home of Ohio’s first farmers.

McDonald's Greenhouse also has a large assortment of mums to brighten your fall.

McDonald’s Greenhouse also has a large assortment of mums to brighten your fall.

Sometime during your visit, be sure and climb on the hay wagon for a ride through the beautiful countryside filled with autumn leaves. Sit on bales of hay while the tractor pulls you down a path to see the fall season in beautiful Ohio. There’s a small admission price of only $6 per person for the day, but unlimited fun as it includes all activities.

A visit here adds up to a perfect fall experience filled with learning and fun…no ghosts or witches allowed, except for Witches Wart Pumpkins.

McDonald’s Corn Maze is located east of Zanesville, Ohio off I-70. Take Exit 157 (State Route 93) north to 3220 Adamsville Road. It’s only about two and a half miles from the interstate.

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The Ghost of Walhonding at the Goblins’ Get-Together

Want to share a Halloween story in the spirit of the season as a diversion from my regular travel blog. Hope you enjoy!

Do you believe in ghosts? Melanie felt a bit skeptical, but her husband Jim refused to even talk about the possibility. Jim said that ghosts were as likely as a flying car.

On Halloween evening, they drove to the Goblins’ Get-Together at the popular Simply A-Maizing Corn Maze near an old coal mining town. Leaves floated down as a gentle breeze drifted through the valley on this beautiful Indian summer evening. The call of a hoot owl ensured vigilance under the hazy moonlit sky.

Friends gathered around a blazing bonfire, not to keep warm, but to watch the flames as they feathered into the air. Jim refused to wear a mask, even though Melanie explained, “Masks were originally worn to scare away the bad spirits, while people put food on the doorsteps to encourage good spirits. I’m wearing my mask just for fun.”

With moonlight dancing across the fiery autumn hills of southeastern Ohio, a mist rose from the nearby valley. All at once a cool breeze came out of nowhere. Melanie’s eyes glazed over with surprise and a shiver ran down her spine.

“What’s the matter Melanie?’ asked one of her friends, “you look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“M-m-maybe I just felt a ghost! The icy air rushed past like someone opened the door to the freezer.” A faint smell of coal dust lingered in the frigid breeze. “Could it be the Ghost of Walhonding that our parents used to talk about? Remember those stories about the miner that was trapped in the coal shaft collapse?”

“Don’t be foolish,” grumbled Jim, “you know there isn’t any such thing as a ghost.”

At this old coal mining town, one friend suggested having a contest to see who could find the biggest lump of coal. They divided up in pairs and headed off in different directions.

Melanie suggested to Jim, “Maybe we should try over there by that old slate pile.” As they approached, they spotted a dirty young man walking by the pile where the silvery handiwork of nature’s lace maker glistened in the moonlight.

“We’re looking for a large lump of coal,” explained Melanie. “Do you live around these parts?”

“Been here all my life,” muttered the dusty man.

“Could you help?”

“Why sure. You wait here as I know a secret spot.”

In a few minutes, the young man returned with a beautiful large lump of coal. Melanie and Jim glanced at each other in surprise.

When they looked back, the dusty man had vanished, and a chill surrounded them; however, the coal remained at their feet.

Picking it up with quivering hands, they headed back to the bonfire. Everyone else decided the only coal left here was underground where the mine shaft caved in years ago, so Jim and Melanie’s find surprised everyone. Maybe later they would tell them of their encounter with the miner.

Could they have seen the Ghost of Walhonding and received his assistance? Who knows, maybe Jim will soon have a car that flies!

Read more about the Ghost of Walhonding in SOLD, a just released book of short stories by the Rainy Day Writers of Cambridge, Ohio. Gypsy Bev has two short stories included and my story, “What’s in the Jar?”,  also contains an encounter with  the Ghost of Walhonding.

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