Up until April of this year, the world’s largest garden gnome was Chomsky, the jolly, 13’ 6” bearded fellow who welcomes you at the entrance of Kelder’s Farm in Kerhonkson, NY. Another feather in our Hudson Valley cap. I’ve learned there are two taller gnomes; one in Iowa, and the other in Poland. I’m bummed. I have to categorize this post as “Biggish,” not “Biggest.”
Where we went, and who was coerced into going:
At the strike of midnight on September 30th, we begin the excited preparations for Halloween. It’s a long month of discussing, analyzing, and comparing costume choices; putting up decorations; watching Halloween TV specials (we own It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown) and reading our favorite books, most notably Jerry Seinfeld’s Halloween. Both kids can now recite the Halloween Three-Step Program by heart.
And of course, there’s the pumpkin picking. This year, we’re going to make Jack O’Lanterns, so inspired are we from going to the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze.
So this year, we went to get our pumpkins about an hour away, on Kelder’s Farm in Kerhonkson, NY.
WHY did you go there, exactly?
We’ve been there to see Chomsky once before, but it was in March when the farm stand wasn’t open. We went to get a better look at the world’s second largest garden gnome, with the added benefit of getting our pumpkins and having some fun on the farm.
Okay, what was so cool about it?
First and foremost, Chomsky is adorable. You can sit at his feet and get great photos. Since he wears green and red, I was hell-bent on getting the perfect Christmas card shot. Poor kids. I was ruthless. “No candy apples until you both smile at the SAME TIME!”
Chomsky is nicknamed “Gnome on the Range,” because he stands over a miniature golf course, Homegrown Mini-Golf. It’s a really unique course in that it has an agricultural theme, complete with hazards made of vintage farm tools, and a chicken coop in the middle.
There’s also a strong message here about supporting local agriculture, with which I’m completely on board. Throughout the course, there are over 50 varieties of vegetables, fruit, herbs, grains and nuts which grow with the seasons and can even be tasted when ripe.
This time of year, Kelder’s Farm offers a lot of other activities as well, including the requisite corn maze and pick-your-own pumpkin patch. There’s also a playground and a petting zoo which is home to a donkey named Walter and goats purchased on eBay.
A little background info about the place:
Chomsky was born in 2004 in New York City. Artists Maria Reidelbach and Ken Brown created him while they renovated a miniature golf course on Pier 25. When that course closed, Chomsky moved north to the Hudson Valley, where Reidelbach built Homegrown Mini-Golf in 2006. That year, Chomsky received official Guinness World Record certification.
Now, about that world record.
Here’s the only online vestige I could find of the 17’ 8” Poland gnome. Even though he’s taller, I don’t consider him a threat because Guinness World Record rules require that a record-holding subject has to be composed of the same material as its inspiration. Garden gnomes are normally made of concrete, not fiberglass.
Since the 15’ Iowa gnome, who lives in Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University, is now the largest concrete garden gnome, the owners of Homegrown Mini-Golf have decided to call Chomsky the “World’s Cutest Gnome” and/or the “First World’s Largest Garden Gnome.” I wholeheartedly agree with that cute title…don’t you? I mean, look at him dressed up for different holidays. Take THAT, Iowa!
As you can plainly see, neither is cuter than Chomsky. I’m in Gnome Love.
How it rated on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 = snoozefest, 10 = add to your bucket list):
The whole day rates a solid 7. We had so much fun playing mini-golf, taking a hayride, and picking pumpkins. And the Chomsky photo ops will make our Christmas cards the talk of the town.
Hey you! Go BIG:
Homegrown Mini-Golf, 5575 Route 209 between Accord and Kerhonkson. (845) 626-7137
Open daily, 10am to dark.