Autumn has finally arrived in western New England, bringing with it changing leaves, chilly nights, and of course, plenty of fall fun like apple picking, pumpkin carving, and corn mazes.
Through the months of September and October, locals and travelers alike can make a pitstop at Hicks Family Farm, located along the scenic Mohawk Trail. With family friendly fun by day and a frighteningly good haunted time by night, this corn maze has become an annual tradition for many.
Join Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan as he travels to Franklin County looking to get lost in the stalks
This story originally aired on October 22, 2021.
Read the full transcription:
Tony Dunne, Connecting Point: Autumn brings with it changing leaves, chilly nights, and of course, apple picking, pumpkin carving, and corn mazes.
And through the months of September and October, you can stop at Hicks Family Farm in Charlemont for one of the very best. With family friendly fun by day and a frighteningly good, haunted time by night, this corn maze has become an annual tradition for many.
Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan traveled down the Mohawk Trail to bring us this story.
Brian Sullivan, Connecting Point: Every Saturday and Sunday from the first weekend in September to the last day of October, visitors travel from near and far to the town of Charlemont, Massachusetts, to be a part of this fall festival.
The corn maze that began as a means of supplementing income has now turned into an annual tradition.
Paul Hicks, Hicks Family Farm: My family went out of the dairy business, and we wanted to continue to keep the farm going. So, we did go into the beef business. We do have 35 head of cattle, but we needed somehow to, you know, support the farm.
So, we came up with the idea of starting up a corn maze.
Brian Sullivan: Of course, the fun goes beyond just the corn maze.
There’s a giant game of checkers available to renew a sibling rivalry. Mini golf, where a dad can teach his daughter the finer points of putting — or not. They’ve got baby goats whose cute factor breaks the scale. And for many of the local kids, this place is their rite of passage.
Autumn Kersavage, Charlemont, MA: I’ve been doing it since I was really young, so probably like five years. And originally, I just did the one during the day because I was — I didn’t really want to get scared because I was so young.
But now, I work in the night one and I scare people and it’s — it’s pretty good.
Brian Sullivan: Yes, it’s true that when the sun goes down these winding paths where the kids and adults get to have fun doing a scavenger hunt during the day, turn into one of the spookier haunted corn mazes in the Commonwealth.
But the haunting doesn’t start until early October.And since the maze changes shape every year, none of this happens without a plan.
Paul Hicks: Around March or April, we’ll get together on a rainy day and think of, you know, some different paths, different directions where we want to have the people go.
And, you know, we kind of map it out on a piece of paper and come, you know, June, we plant the corn and come out and process the paths.
Brian Sullivan: And the processor-in-chief is none other than Paul Hicks’ sister, Joanne.
Joanne MacLean, Hicks Family Farm: I come out when the corn is just this high and I just start making paths. I do have a map that I work with. If some corn doesn’t come up in one spot, I might move the path over.
I got a little John Deere tractor with a blade on it, and that’s why there’s no sharp angles, everything’s circles. And I start around Fourth of July.
Brian Sullivan: Luckily, it’s a labor of love because it wasn’t always this easy when they planted their first corn fields years ago.
Joanne MacLean: My brother says, “Jo-Jo, we need a corn maze.”
I went, “Well, okay.”
So, I just uh — I only had a hoe and rake and I’m out here every morning by six, before it gets too hot. And just — I like making things.
Brian Sullivan: Aside from making these trails, Joanne is also responsible for making all of the signs along the way, including the jokes that the maze wanderers pass by in their quest to find everything on the scavenger hunt list.
My original plan was to stick around until nightfall for the haunted maze. But the scavenger hunt has been plenty of fun, and I’m not sure my heart can take being scared tonight.
For me, I’ll use any excuse just to head out to the country. But it was extra special to be joined by so many others who also decided to stop by this cornfield on the Mohawk Trail in the little town of Charlemont.
Joanne MacLean: I like it that it’s entertaining people. We get people from all over, and, you know, some people never been on a tractor before or even seen a live chicken or things like that.
And so, we’re bringing that to everybody.