Corn stalks tower above a six-foot-tall adult.
So imagine how tall corn stalk “walls” look to a 2½-year-old who’s knee high to a grasshopper -- whose eye level is closer to an adult’s waist or belly.
Nevertheless, Brady Toulopoulos, who’s 2½, headed right into a local corn stalk maze Saturday, along with his parents, Bill and Kelli.
“He’s pretty adventurous,” Kelli said of Brady, who led the trio in the maze, a fall tradition for McCue’s Garden Center here – as long as mom and dad are nearby.
The Toulopoulos family stopped at McCue’s for cider, Kelli said, and to check out the free maze for their first time. It’s located in part of the perennial display area of McCue’s on Cambridge Road.
Brady turned right at one intersection, left at another. At one point the family hit a dead end.
“We were stuck over there,” Brady said, pointing to a wall of corn stalks. Even if a walker can see another path through some openings in the stalks, the way through the maze isn’t obvious.
Ethan Drown, who’s “almost 7½”, has visited the maze since he was about 3, according to his dad, Scott.
“Usually we’re in and out in five minutes,” dad said. This year, it took the duo from Winchester longer.
Try the right-hand rule, Scott suggested to Ethan. Keep your right hand on the right “wall” of the maze as the path twists and turns. You may head down a dead end or two but, eventually, you’ll get out, he said. Scott said he learned that strategy years ago in a topology class. It also works with your left hand, he pointed out.
McCue’s has built the maze for about eight years, according to Megan McCue, a member of third generation of her family to run McCue’s Garden Centers. There’s also a McCue’s – but no maze – in Billerica.
Staffers spend a day erecting the frame for the corn stalks, McCue said, and another day filling it in with stalks grown in Concord, where McCue’s rents land to grow produce. The layout came, McCue said, from Paul McElheney, a woodshop teacher at the Joyce Middle School and a friend
The maze will be up through Oct. 31.
McCue’s – and the maze -- is open, McCue said, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.
McCue has incorporated the maze into a new the garden center program for children. Starting this month, based on an inquiry from two moms, McCue’s in Woburn will begin to host birthday parties. The maze is part of the October birthday package (www.mccuegardencenter.com for details). McCue’s offers a number of activities for children, including fairy gardens. The business started in 1935, McCue said, as McCue the Florist.
As for the maze, “They did a great job,” Kelli Toulopoulos said.
Ethan Drown agreed. This year's maze was more difficult, Scott Drown said, passing along his son's opinion, but "a lot more fun."
Sixteen-year-olds may say this maze is nothing compared with larger, more complex versions, said McCue.
But “Reeves (Elementary) School kids love it.”