Cherry Crest Then And Now
Cherry Crest: “Then vs. Now”
When Jack and Donna Coleman first opened Cherry Crest Farm in August 1996, they had no idea what they were getting into. It started as an idea, a way to make some extra money on the side. It grew into a full-fledged, seasonal agri-tourism business that is still thriving today. Things sure have changed though—as with any business venture, you learn as you go. The Coleman’s and the staff of Cherry Crest strive to continually make the farm and the business better. Over the years, we’ve seen ideas and activities come and go; some have been seen through to completion and other got stuck at the drawing board. It’s always interesting to see where we’ve been—and compare it to where we are now!
Our Main Ticket Booth has undergone numerous transformations since the beginning of Cherry Crest! Originally, you only had to buy a ticket to do the maze or the wagon ride, and everything else was free. Because of this, the ticket “booth” was just a table located at the entrance to the maze. As we grew to include more activities, we moved to a ticket tent, located closer to where the current ticket building is. The tent was right next to the pedal carts, and one employee recalls “how loud it got in there, with the ticket booth and pedal carts under the same tent!” Eventually we graduated to a small building, which allowed for a second ticket line, as well as protection from the weather. There was still a traffic issue though, especially when it came to our fall season crowds! Finally, we decided to make the biggest upgrade, to the building that we have now. Specifically designed for Cherry Crest, the current building allows for multiple ticket lines, has wide aisles to accommodate strollers and wheelchairs, and provides plenty of storage space for our employees!
As you saw above, originally, the maze tickets were sold right at the maze entrance. There were a few benches, which was used for giving stalk talks, but it all took place right there, you didn’t go back into the Stalk Talk rooms like you do now. Eventually we started putting the Stalk Talk rooms into the corn field, which made it easier to section off the area outside the rooms as the “Maze Entrance.” Today, we have a post-and-rail fence that separates the entrance area from the exit area, as well as the Trail Stop Shop, where you can purchase drinks and other provisions before you take on the maze!
The maze records board has gotten a make-over since then too!
Originally, the Barnyard didn’t even exist! Of course, the land was always there, but there weren’t any activities, and there was no pathway across the Strasburg Railroad train tracks. Eventually, we opened the area for pick-your-own, and then added a few activities like the Hay Chute Slide and the Giant Slinger. Boy, it sure has expanded since then! Since the Courtyard is already full of activities, we’ve found that the Barnyard is the best place to expand, so we keep adding more and more! Check out these pictures, taken from the same spot on the railroad tracks! You can see into the Lil Farmer’s Playland, as well as the tractor path that the wagon tour takes.
This shot, looking down through the Barnyard, shows how much we’ve grown and added from 2002 to today! You can see how the path has extended, the Barnyard leisure area is to the left, and the Lil Cabin Builders to the right. If you look carefully, you can see the framework of the Giant Slinger in both photos, which hasn’t moved at all!
The duck races have been here from the beginning! There’s something exciting about pumping the handle to make your duck race towards the finish line… Kids of ALL ages love this activity! Many families love to make it a race, to see who is the best duck-racer of all. Over the years, the duck races continue to get new coats of paint to keep it looking sharp. But this year, we’ve upped the game—an all NEW duck race is coming to Cherry Crest this summer, and it’s better than ever! Make sure you come visit us and check it out!
When we first opened in 1996, there wasn’t much to sell yet—we were just starting out, and nobody knew who we were. Of course, we had t-shirts made for the very first theme, the “Locomotive Labyrinth,’ but that was about it. Eventually we moved into a small building and started to expand our merchandise selection. Items with our logo and the maze design sold really well, and soon our selection included post cards, t-shirts, pencils, magnets, notebooks, lanyards, and more! You can still buy those items today, along with rustic home décor, country crafts, stuffed animals, toys and games, candles, jewelry and more. You can even buy the giant slingshots and air chairs like you see on the property! Of course, with the additional merchandise came the need for a new store, so we expanded for the first time in 2005 and then again in 2012 to provide extra room.
Of course, over the years, some things have only gotten a facelift….
…While others got a whole new design!
Farm and House
Even the farm itself has undergone changes! We added an office addition onto the house in 2010 and more than doubled our storage space with a new machine shop built in late 2014!
Through it all...
Cherry Crest Adventure Farm has remained true to its roots: a family-friendly farm, with fun and educational opportunities for kids and adults of all ages. We take agri-tainment to the next level, all while maintaining a real working farm. If you’re looking for something new and exciting to do in Lancaster County, come give our corn maze and adventure farm a try!
Check out the right-hand side bar for more fun "Throwback" photos!