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A Day At Davis Family Farm

On a recent pristine autumn day I visited Davis Family Farm in Sterling, Massachusetts, with my two-year-old son. My wife was  in California on a much needed and long planned vacation, visiting friends and attending a wedding. I was back home, playing single parent and trying to fill up the calendar so that my son wouldn’t keep asking where his mommy was. Davis Farm seemed like an appropriate distraction.

If you know anything about the farm, you’re probably familiar with its popular corn maze. In New England, a region that come fall prides itself on giant pumpkin contests, over-the-top autumn festivals, and anything harvest related, Davis’s corn maze stands out. It’s official name is Davis Mega Maze, and mega it is. Eight acres in size, three miles of pathways, and an assortment of wild activities that include an all-new zipline adventure. It also lays claim to having more bridges than any other field maze in the world and also features a double-decker bridge. All together, it’s pretty awesome.

But if all you know about Davis Farm is the maze, then you’re missing out. The history of the farm goes back to 1846 and covers seven generations. For much of its history, Davis was like a lot of New England farms. Which meant it did a lot of different things. Dairy, vegetables, and timber, mainly. Then, in 1990 a devastating fire wiped out much of the dairy operation. But out of the tragedy, a new chapter for Davis Farm was born. A small petting zoo was added, and soon it became home to a host of endangered animals. Then, in 1995 the first incarnation of the corn maze was added. Now, some 20 years later, Davis Family Farm is one of New England’s premiere farm-themed destinations.

My son being a huge animal fan, we kept our Davis visit focused on the petting zoo. It proved to be quite day for him. He was able to pet his first cow, take a gander at his first emu (“Whoa, look at those big birds!”), and hop on a big trailer for a meandering hay ride  that took us around the property. We grabbed a quick lunch, then it was off to the playground, where he pushed around a few play lawnmowers before asking to be picked up and nearly collapsing in my arms in total exhaustion. And he didn’t ask for his mommy once. I call that a total success.

 

The welcome area at the farm's petting zoo.

Photo/Art by Ian Aldrich
The welcome area at the farm’s petting zoo.

 

Shelby, a 25-year-old African Spur Tortoise, was a big hit with my son.

Photo/Art by Ian Aldrich
Shelby, a 25-year-old African Spur Tortoise, was a big hit with my son.

A tractor ride with Farmer Jack gives visitors a unique look at the farm.

Photo/Art by Ian Aldrich
A tractor ride with Farmer Jack gives visitors a unique look at the farm.

 

Feeding the friendly goats proved a little daunting to my son.

Photo/Art by Ian Aldrich
Feeding the friendly goats proved a little daunting to my son.

 

Yep, we got to pet cows. Several times.

Photo/Art by Ian Aldrich
Yep, we got to pet cows. Several times.

 

My son wanted to give this sheep a big hug. The sheep was not quite as excited as he was about this.

Photo/Art by Ian Aldrich
My son wanted to give this sheep a big hug. The sheep was not quite as excited as he was about this.

 

There are signs telling visitors not to stick their fingers in the turkey cages. I can see why.

Photo/Art by Ian Aldrich
There are signs instructing visitors not to stick their fingers in the turkey cages. I can see why.

 

See the names? Who says farmers don't have a good sense of humor?

Photo/Art by Ian Aldrich
See the names? Who says farmers don’t have a good sense of humor?

 

 

For parents, the playground comes with an important feature: benches. After hours of wandering the farm, it's nice to take a seat.

Photo/Art by Ian Aldrich
For parents, the playground comes with an important feature: benches. After hours of wandering the farm, it’s nice to take a seat.

 

 

 

 

Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Ian Aldrich

Author:

Ian Aldrich

Biography:

Senior editor of Yankee Magazine: Ian, a native New Englander who has worked and freelanced for Yankee for the past decade, writes feature stories, home pieces, and helps manage the magazine's up-front section, First Light. His stories have ranged from exploring the community impact from a church poisoning in a small town in northern Maine to dissecting the difficulties facing Nantucket around its problems with erosion. In addition to his connection to Yankee, Ian worked as a senior editor of Cincinnati Magazine for several years.
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