Sunny afternoon frolic at Carroll’s Pumpkin Farm

It probably wasn’t the best idea in the world to decide to wander in a corn maze after a week’s worth of drizzle. But my decision to wear leather oxfords to the corn maze was just plain stupid. This is coming from the girl who used to walk around the streets of New York donning four-inch heels. I discovered that day that water turns dirt into mud, and mud stains leather into all sorts of unpleasant colors. I wasn’t the least bit distraught, though. Instead, I trekked through the mud with as many frolicking motions as I could manage, with an unsuppressed grin on my face, only occasionally picking off ears of corn in futile attempts to scrape off wet soil off my feet. On that particular day, the sun was shinin’, the hills were rollin’, and the corn was poppin’! I couldn’t help but be content. After all, this was the picture of the deluded fantasy that I had of a small town in Iowa before attending Grinnell College.

Carroll Pumpkins

Decorated pumpkins adorn the souvenir shop of Carroll's Pumpkin Farm south of Grinnell on Thursday. - Ben Brewer

It turned out that the fantasy exists a mere 3.5 miles away from the College in the form of Carroll’s Pumpkin Farm. If you’re not from Iowa and you haven’t been lost in a cornfield yet, you must go. Where’s the novelty in telling people back home that you go to a school in Grinnell, Iowa if you can’t even tell them you’ve been pumpkin smashing? For those of you that don’t know, pumpkin smashing consists of flinging pumpkins from a catapult and watching them smash on the ground. It’s a lot of fun. If you are from Iowa, then there’s probably less of a chance that you’ve been doing something as touristy as participating in a corn maze, right? Just go and have fun! Revel in all the corn and pumpkin-based entertainment that your state provides.

My favorite part of the day was jumping on the Big Orange Pillow on that perfect Sunday. I felt like I was flying intermittently. I watched the gorgeous hills roll on for miles, singing “A Whole New World” at the top of my lungs.

Carroll Pumpkins

One of the most enjoyable parts of Carroll Pumpkin Farm, a John Deere tractor for hayrides, rests outside the barn south of Grinnell on Thursday - Ben Brewer

Shoot corn from a cannon a hundred feet into the air. Go on a wagon ride to the field and find your favorite pumpkin—you can choose from hundreds. Milk the rubber udders of Maizie the fake cow, or pet and feed real goats at the Golden Goat Bridge. Build corn castles and moats at the Grain Barn—which is basically a giant barn-sized sandbox without the mess—then swing and slide onto piles of soft straw at the Straw Barn.