Is there anything more delightful than a cheerful flower on a sunny day?
A friend and I set out one beautiful, muggy August morning to find out. We drove through Maryland, crossing over the ancient Potomac river as it meandered its way toward the great Chesapeake Bay, and into Virginia. Our destination was Haymarket VA, Burnside Farms, and the vast sunflower fields.
I must admit, I was well into my forties before I had even heard of these types of fields in the Mid-Atlantic. I always thought sunflower fields were the exclusive romantic notions of the French and Italians. Of course I had to see them, bringing along my new camera to work more on my limited photography skills. My friend is a terrific photographer and I was looking forward to getting her advice.
The mapping software on her phone had us traipsing through winding back roads, and suburban housing developments in the Commonwealth, but we made it eventually.
SIDE NOTE: This is a pick your own farm. The current price for sunflowers is $1.50 per stem.
After parking in the ample lot, we paid a $6 entrance fee, but children under the age of two are free. There is also an option to purchase an unlimited re-entry pass for the season for $10, which is an exceptional bargain for locals, in my opinion, as the fields are ever changing per the website.
The parking lot and fields are just that, fields. If there has been stormy weather, and we have had quite a bit this summer, you may want to bring old shoes because there is bound to be a little mud and dirt.
According to the website there is also a: “Jump Pad, bounce house, two story slide, bubble stations, chalkboard message signs for photos, cornhole games, kids clubhouse play area and shaded picnic area.” There are portable potties as well. In addition they had the most adorable sunflower umbrellas for sale.
We photographed our way through the fields, and even though it was mid-week, and not overly crowded, we still found ourselves dodging families taking pictures with their children. There appeared to be many families who were photographing their newborns. A very sweet place for a welcome to the world photo.
These particular flowers were smaller than I had hoped to see. I am 5′ 9″ and I towered over the plants. While I loved their bright, compact, fuzzy little heads, I had secretly hoped to hide in a forest of sunflowers.
I read that due to the unusually high amount of rain this year they were not able to plant the tall sunflower species that they use for their famous (And exclusive) sunflower mazes.
No worries, there is always next year.