Orchards, mazes draw people seeking socially distant outing

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — In a world seemingly overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, getting lost in a corn maze is a perfect escape.

That’s where nanny Carol Twilling found herself Wednesday, pushing a stroller and chasing Kaden, who had been stuck at home in virtual first grade.

It was Kaden’s idea to head to Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery, but it was Twilling who really needed it.

“We all need to get out,” she said. “It’s been tough.”

The pandemic has been tough on parents and nannies alike, which might be why Robinette’s has been busier than usual on weekdays so far this season.

“They’re looking for normal, even though normal isn’t out there,” said Robinette’s co-owner Ed Robinette. “They’re able to come to the farm and enjoy some of normal.”

The fourth-generation apple farmer noted he has never had to deal with the likes of a pandemic in nearly 50 years of running a cider mill.

“We make it work,” he said. “We’re working with what we have to do.”

Signs tell customers to wear masks and to keep two bushel basket-widths apart.

Even so, he said, crowds are bigger than usual on weekdays, lining up for donuts, cider, and, of course, apples.

The only real change: They’ve parked the popular hay ride for the fall.

“We decided not to try to figure out how to do that with 30 people on a wagon,” he said.

So it’s back to the maze, where the rules of COVID-19 still apply.

“The corn maze is six and a half acres,” Robinette said. “And if you get too close to someone in there, it’s your fault.”


Find an apple market near you