Few things can match the timeless enjoyment of getting lost in a corn maze, or of sorting through frost-covered vines to find THE perfect pumpkin. Whether it’s the innocence of childhood memories, the pleasure that comes from “the simple things”, or the joy of working together with loved ones, these classic fall activities are a must. The Bristol area offers several options, including Fleenor Farms, Stickley Farm, Lee Highway Farms, and the annual Pumpkin Palooza at the Bristol Downtown Center. Wherever you decide to go, here are a few tips to help you have the best experience possible!
Picking the Perfect Pumpkin
There are two types of pumpkins: cooking and decorating. Know what you are searching for, and feel free to ask the farmer what they are growing. A jack-o’-lantern should be firm with an intact stem, and no soft spots. If a pumpkin pie is in the works, choose the heaviest; it has the most flesh, and is likely sweeter. If you can’t decide, it’s okay to overbuy; pumpkin flesh freezes remarkably well!
Navigating the Maze
While getting lost is half the fun, you DO eventually want to find your way out. Before beginning, make note of where the exit is. As you meander, pay attention to landmarks; if you see something twice, you are probably going in circles. Mark your progress on the map as you go; it helps to reference where you are, and is a fun souvenir!
Keep them charged, but stay off of them! If it comes down to it, you might need GPS to find your way out of the maze, but until then, your eyes are your best guide. Downloading a flashlight app is advisable. Don’t forget to take pictures in your plaid and boots afterward; we all know that if you don’t Instagram it, it didn’t happen!
Most importantly, remember to savor the moment. The farmer spent all season growing and preparing the crops, and the chance to make these memories with loved ones comes once a year. Embrace the confusion, sip some hot cider, and have fun!
- Fleenor Farms – 8006 Reedy Creek Rd., Bristol, VA || 276.608.3555 || Open 7 days a week
- Stickley Farm – 550 Beaver Creek Rd., Bluff City, TN || 423.360.4809 || Open Wednesday through Sunday
- Lee Highway Farms – 15128 Lee Highway, Bristol, VA || 276.274.4398 || Open 7 days a week
- Pumpkin Palooza – 810 State Street, Bristol, TN || 423.573.2201 || October 27, 9am until Noon
By: Katherine Cronk