Franklin Countys First News

Farmington Underground promises vexing riddles, puzzling escapes

Joe Musumeci in his new escape room in the Farmington Underground.

FARMINGTON - Those seeking an afternoon escape from the ordinary should consider visiting the Farmington Underground, with owner Joe Musumeci promising puzzles, riddles and headscratchers for children and adults alike.

The popularity of escape rooms - adventure games in which groups of players solve puzzles to complete objectives - has increased over the past few years, with several games now running in Portland, Waterville, Bangor and elsewhere throughout the state. Musumeci, a University of Maine at Orono grad who has long been interested in the intersection of education and games, visited all of them before opening Farmington Underground.

"I'd been wanting to start a business for some time now," Musumeci, a 29-year-old resident of Farmington said. He began renovating the ground floor of the Church Street Commons in the first week of February and is eyeing an opening date in mid-March for the first of his escape rooms.

In the Farmington Underground's lobby.

Escape rooms are meant to be attempted with a group - friends, co-workers, a class of students and so forth. The group tries to solve puzzles and collect clues, unlocking additional elements of the room, which oftentimes includes a live-action, themed story. Farmington Underground is no exception, with its website indicating that participants will "travel through time and unravel the mysteries of a secret society." Locks, codes and secret clues are used to make solving the room more difficult; Musumeci estimated that his room would include as many as 20 different puzzles.

Musumeci said that the Underground will include a single escape room at first, potentially expanding up to three as time goes on. While some escape rooms include elements of horror and are geared more toward adults, Musumeci said that Farmington Underground would be open to all ages.

He said that setting up the experience and completing the entire room would take roughly an hour-and-a-half, depending on the group. There will be an introductory puzzle outside of the room as well, Musumeci said, to illustrate the concept for escape room newbies.

Renovations are expected to be complete by mid-March; Musumeci said that he would bring in different sorts of groups to playtest the escape room prior to opening for the general public.

The Farmington Underground intends to be open Wednesday through Sunday: from 4 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, from noon to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Interested parties can book the escape room in advance through its website, Facebook page or by calling 778-4099. Access to the Farmington Underground is at the side of the Church Street Commons building.

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4 Responses »

  1. Great! When I first saw the one in Bangor, I thought what a great thing to have around here, and now it will be here. Thanks.....

  2. So exciting to have a fun business in Farmington -- especially something for the whole family! Can't wait to try it out.

  3. My son very much wants to do an escape room for his birthday. This sounds perfect. Very excited!

  4. i cant wait to be lost and then found in my own mind!!!