Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall Farm Fun

Yeah, buddy. How do you like them alliteration apples?... Ha! Apples! As you will soon see, that is so fitting for this post.

Sorry for the corny joke (oooh, there goes another one!). I'm done now. Promise.

(Yes, I'm a little embarrassed now. Let's move on.)

Since publicly proclaiming my plan to make the most of this fall in my last post, I have been doing my best to make good on that vow. And what better way than to travel to Queens for an Apple Festival on a farm? That has "fall fun" written all over it.

So that's just what we did. On Sunday, Eric and I made the trek (via Long Island Railroad and cab) to the Queens County Farm for their Apple Festival. Thanks to a total comedy of errors, we made it out there a little later than we planned, but we had plenty of time to do all that we wanted to do: corn maze, hayride, hit up the pumpkin patch, check out some animals, enjoy some apple goods.

Gates at the entrance to the Queens County Farm

Welcome to the farm!

Do you know that before Sunday, my husband had never been in a corn maze OR on a hayride OR in a pumpkin patch??? What kind of childhood did he have? I found that crazy. How deprived! Of course, he also had never carved a pumpkin before he met me, either, and having grown up in Florida, I'm fairly confident he never jumped into a pile of fallen leaves. What did he even do with himself during fall as a child? I'm so confused. Such a tragedy.

Eric seemed most excited about the corn maze (or rather, The Amazing Maize Maze), so we hit that first. It was very involved, much more so than I remember any of my childhood corn mazes being. They gave us a big pole with a flag on the end (so you can't be forever lost in the maze, of course), and then sent us in to a little seating area for a "Stalk Talk." Then someone from the farm gave us our instructions for the maze complete with lots of "corny" jokes (and you thought I was bad!).

They had this picture of this year's maze posted at the front of the farm. But don't be fooled - it's not entirely accurate, so if you were to think you could be sneaky and take a picture of it to use as a map once you get in there, you would be wrong.

Ready to start the maze!

Off to our Stalk Talk

Farm guy giving us instructions for the maze

The theme of this year's maze was "Music To Our Ears" (hardy-har-har), and the layout of the maze was music-oriented. The paths made shapes like a music staff, record, and an iPod, and as you went along you filled out a "Kernels of Knowledge Puzzle" (ha ha ha again) with musical-related clues. There were also mailboxes along the way, and in each mailbox was one of nine pieces of a map of the maze. Obviously, if you managed to find all nine mailboxes, you would have a complete map of the maze and have no trouble getting out. There were also big black tubes (or as our guide put it, "big black things - that's what she said!") scattered around, that served as a form of communication with the "piano man," a/k/a farm workers who would give you clues to the next mailbox or whatever you needed if you said "sing me a song, piano man!" into the tube. See? Quite the elaborate setup.

After all the talking, we were finally on our way! We did pretty well. We found all nine mailboxes, and made it out in about 45 minutes. Of course we spent some time right off the bat just sort of circling around, but as we put our map together slowly but surely, we were able to figure out where we needed to be. Eric was a great navigator and I was the flag-holder. We were a good team!

Wandering through the maze

Amongst the corn

Filling out the Kernels of Knowledge puzzle when we found an answer

Yay! A mailbox!

Completing our map at Mailbox #9!


After the Maize Maze, we wandered around a little and checked out some animals. Eric did his best "Mark Wahlberg Talks To Animals" impersonation with a horse (in case you haven't seen that SNL sketch, click here!), and I enjoyed watching the chickens eat and seeing the cute sheep hanging out. Later we also saw some adorable bunnies (and now I want one), donkeys and pigs playing or fighting or something, but generally being awesome.

Animals of the Queens County Farm

VIDEO: A quick look at our time at the farm - an overview of the Maize Maze, Eric's Mark Wahlberg impression, and awesome pigs.

We also went on a hayride, which was fun. They just took us around the farm grounds, so we saw more animals, passed the pumpkin patch, etc. Nice ride!

One of the hayride mobiles

No bad back and no pregnant allowed.

On the hayride

My handsome husband amongst some corn (it's like he's in Illinois or something!)

After the hayride, we hit up the pumpkin patch. We weren't actually in the market for a pumpkin just yet, but had some fun checking them all out (and I enjoyed watching all the babies wandering around the patch, with parents snapping a million photos a second!).

 Pumpkin patch, with lot of people lined up to pay for overpriced pumpkins

They really did have a very nice pumpkin selection.

Eric is so strong! I'm strong too, see?

Fun in the patch

Quick tangent: Did you know that when I was a kid in Ohio, we grew pumpkins in our backyard? It's a true story. My grandpa helped me plant a garden every year, and one of the things we planted was pumpkin seeds. How cool to grow your own Halloween pumpkin, right? One year we got two usable pumpkins - one was tall, skinny and yellowish, and the other was very round, fat and orange. We made them into Bert and Ernie, of course! Good times.

Obviously these aren't the Bert and Ernie pumpkins, but this is me with some of my homegrown pumpkins, circa 1987.

After the pumpkin patch, we just kind of wandered around the farm and took in the sights. They had a little store, and lots of food booths with fair-type food. We got some hot apple cider (and a jug of cider to take home) and a piece of apple pie.

Silly sign - I don't want to pick wine grapes, I want to drink them. Duh.


Mmmm, apple pie!

By then, we were starting to feel a little chilly and felt we had seen all there was to see, so we caught a cab back to the train station and made our way back to Manhattan. It was definitely a fun fall afternoon on the farm, and well worth the commute out of the city! Yaaaay, fall! (See how good I'm doing???)


Lauren said...

I am so jealous you used to grow your own pumpkins how neat! I want to go to a maze and pumpkin patch now! :-)

Dad said...

BIG fun and great memories!

AD said...

I love corn - er, maize - mazes!!! What fun.

Becky said...

What a fun write-up! I felt like I had as much fun as you did. Loved the pigs, btw. :-)