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Seasonal News

by Cabell Smith Melson

I have long been familiar with the concept of Christmas tree farms as my uncle owns and operates one in Halifax, North Carolina. Additionally, another aunt and uncle have always cut down their own huge cedar tree for the holidays as part of a family tradition. The idea seemed so festive, so after my first daughter was born, I was determined to make it one of my own family's traditions. Indeed, shortly after her first birthday, we bundled her up, and my husband and I took her to a farm in Caroline County. It was a riot watching her toddle through the field of pines and cedars on her unstable walking legs, and we let her select the tree . . . What else would a one-year-old pick but one her own size?

The results of our Christmas tree adventures were just as memorable the next couple of years. We have fabulous photos of her riding on Daddy's shoulders and then pretending to saw down the tree. I still chuckle thinking of the year that my husband's choice of the perfect tree for us was about 3 feet too tall to fit in our family room. What an ideal way to get geared up for the holiday season: hiking through breathtaking fields of green (or white) on a crisp, early winter day, with family or friends. And this outing appeals to young and old! Even a surly 13-year-old usually gets caught up in the moment. The little ones are in awe of the immense fields and the seemingly never-ending rows of trees.

Despite the appeal, with the births of our twins came necessity for the simple and artificial. Yet I think I am ready for the memories again! The kids are particularly excited about Christmas this year: they love spending time together outside, this outing will definitely get them in the spirit, and they can blow off some extra energy. I already have our "tree day" marked on the calendar and am now considering my varied options.

In Spotsylvania County:

BELMONT CHRISTMAS TREE FARM, Preston and Rhonda Brown; 7533 Belmont Road, Spotsylvania, VA 22553; 540.854.6637 (Preston and Rhonda Brown); 540.854.4866 (Sylvia Fletcher, sales manager); Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., daily after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve; Products: Choose-and-cut white and Scotch pine, blue spruce, Norway spruce and Leyland cypress; fresh-cut Fraser fir; Services: Bow saws and twine provided; tree wrapping available.

RALPH'S CHRISTMAS TREES, Ralph C. Hall; 7519 Belmont Road, Spotsylvania, VA 22553; 540.854.7947; Cell 540.809.4670; Fax 540.854.6757; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Hours: 9a.m.-5p.m., weekend following Thanksgiving or by appointment; Products: Virginia's Finest choose-and-cut Christmas trees, including blue and Norway spruce, white and Scotch pine, cedar, blue ice and Leyland cypress. Also, pre-cut Fraser, blue ice and concolor fir from our Nelson County farm will be available. Sizes 3-18 ft.; wreaths, garland, and tree stands; Services: Saws and twine furnished. Tree shaking and wrapping available. Cash or check.

SNEAD'S ASPARAGUS FARM, Emmett C. Snead, III; 18294 Tidewater Trail, Fredericksburg, VA 22408; 540.371.9328; Hours: Sunup till sundown, daily, November 26-December 24; Products: Choose-and-cut or dig your own blue spruce, white pine, and aromatic cedar, all up to 8 ft; Services: Cut or dig your own. We furnish saws, shovels, burlap and twine.

In Caroline County:

WILLOW OAKS FARM CHRISTMAS TREES, DAYLILIES & HOSTAS, Bruce and Marie McGee; 14412 Farmer Drive, Woodford, VA 22580; 804.633.6192; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., beginning Friday after Thanksgiving until December 22; Products: White and Scotch pine and Douglas fir, Leyland cypress, roping, live mixed wreaths, also specialty sizes and shapes may be ordered. Wholesale trees are also available; Services: Saws and twine provided, free wrapping. Christmas shop with hand-made items. Live wreaths; roping, mixed and plain, also may be ordered.

In Orange County:

BRAMBLEWOOD TREE FARM, Mark and Patty Decot; 17157 Oak Shade Road, Orange, VA 22960; 703.426.9191; Hours: 9 a.m.-dark, weekends only, Thanksgiving to Christmas; Products: Choose-and-cut Norway spruce, Scotch pine, white pine, Virginia pine, cedar (5-10 ft.) Services: Saws and twine provided. Beautiful remote forest setting; Prices: $20 per tree and up.

ELYSIUM TREE FARM, Steve and Jo Satterfield; 21041 Clarks Mountain Road, Rapidan, VA 22733; 540.672.4512; FAX: 540.672.7845; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Hours: 1 p.m.-dark, Fridays; 9 a.m.-dark, Saturdays and Sundays, Thanksgiving to Christmas. Other times by appointment; Products: Choose-and-cut white, Scotch, and Austrian pines up to 9 ft. Moderate quantity of Douglas fir up to 7 ft. Very high quality trees. Fresh-made wreaths, homemade bows, tree stands, wreath hangers, homemade jams and jellies; Services: Saws and twine provided. Free cookies, candy and cider, and seasonal music. Trees netted for small fee. Assistance available in field. Beautiful views. Well-mowed fields. Warm hospitality; Prices: All pines priced from $15-$35; Douglas fir to $45. Wreaths mostly $15; bows from $2-$6.

MILLER FARMS MARKET, Wayne, Jo Ann, Ben and Kristine;12101 Orange Plank Road, Locust Grove, VA 22508; 540.972.2680; Hours: Opening the day after Thanksgiving, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Closed Sundays.

Products: Regularly offering milk from Trickling Springs Creamery, Roseda Beef, Papa Weaver Sausage, free-range eggs; poinsettias, hand-picked and custom-filled Christmas gift baskets, and holiday decorations. Fresh wreaths and roping are made daily from greenery on the farm. Special orders available Fresh-cut Fraser firs, 5-12 ft. and white pines, 6-7 ft. Live trees in the 4-6 ft. range, balled and burlapped trees: Colorado blue spruce, Concolor fir, Fraser fir, and Norway spruce Produce: butternut squash, acorn squash, fresh lettuce, Mesclun mix, and broccoli for your holiday feast; Services: A fresh cut on the base of trees (upon request), limbing, loading assistance, and Southern hospitality, all free of charge; Prices: Please call for prices.

In Culpeper County:

AR TREE FARM, Al and Rose Costanzo; 18181 Edwards Shop Road (Rt. 620), Elkwood, VA 22718; 540.399.1601; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., daily, beginning Friday after Thanksgiving until December 17, 2007. Call after that for availability of trees and hours. Products: Limited supply of choose-and-cut white and Scotch pine and Norway spruce from 1-8 ft. Native cedars to 15 ft.; Services: Pick and choose your own LIVE tree. We cut and help load with free baling and twine provided, if requested. Saws available, if needed. Trees are close to parking area. Free tabletop 4 to 6 inch Christmas trees for children. Free trailer rides, weather permitting. No dogs or chain saws allowed in field. Prices: Call for prices.

GLENGARY TREE FARM, Thomas A. O'Halloran; 5537 Glengary Lane, Amissville, VA 20106; 540.937.2335 (day); 540.937.3021 (evening); Fax 540.937.7529; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Hours: Open daily from Thanksgiving Day (8 a.m.-2 p.m.) through Christmas Eve (8 a.m.-Noon); 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Christmas Shop closes one hour later; Products: Choose-and-cut white and Scotch pine, Colorado blue and white spruce, Fraser and Douglas fir. Farm fresh wreaths (including decorated), sprays, swags, garland, and centerpieces (including decorated) made daily. Please call or e-mail for availability on tree heights, wreath sizes, and prices; Services: Tree shaking, baling, and tree trunk drilling available at no additional cost. Saws available for customer use on the farm, and hauling and tree tying provided. Hayrides on weekends, weather permitting. Nature trails and picnic tables along Thornton River. Try our hot cider or coffee at the food stand run by the local civic organizations. We now are accepting credit cards (Visa and MasterCard). Christmas Shop is open daily with various tree accessories (stands, waterers, handmade ornaments, etc.); Prices: All pines, $29; all spruces and firs $48 + tax.

OAK SHADE FARM, James Mello; 14455 Waterford Run Lane, Rixeyville, VA 22737. 540.937.5062; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday from the Friday after Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve. Closed Mondays; Products: Choose-and-cut, hand-sheared white pine and Norway spruce trees, grown without herbicides or pesticides; wreaths, swags and roping. The greenhouse is full of gift items made at the farm, including hand-woven runners and other items, hand-hooked rugs, beeswax candles and ornaments, homemade jams, catnip bags, and a variety of Christmas decorations; Services: This is a family farm, involving all generations. Bunnies to hold, chickens to visit, and a nature path to stroll through the woods. Free local cider and homemade cookies and a warm fire in the wood stove will help to make your visit a pleasure. Saws are provided and free tree bundling and tying on; Prices: Call for prices.

'PEPER'MINT CHRISTMAS TREE FARM, William Bartlett; 12063 Eggbornsville Road (Rt. 729), Culpeper, VA 22701; 540.825.4693; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Hours: 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., the first two weekends in December. Other times by chance or appt.; Products: Choose-and-cut white and Scotch pines; Norway and blue spruce; and Canaan firs. Wreaths, swags, and roping made fresh daily; Services: Saws for cutting, twine for securing, assistance if needed. For customer safety, no digging or chain saws. Christmas shop. Complimentary cider and candy canes. Goats and donkey to pet. Mountain view; Prices: Call for prices.

In Hanover County:

HIDDEN LAKE TREE FARM, Robert Blackburn; 7311 Hidden Lake Estate Drive, Mechanicsville, VA 23111; 804.779.3033; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Hours: Open first two weekends of December only. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday; 1-5 p.m., Sunday; Products: Choose-and-cut Scotch pine, white pine, Norway spruce; Services: Saws and twine furnished, and assistance provided; Prices: $30-$45.

WINDY KNOLL FARM; Tom and Stephanie Hicks; 10094 Windy Knoll Drive, Mechanicsville, VA 23116; 804.730.8733; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Hours: 1-5 p.m., Friday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving through December 15. Closed Sunday-Thursday; Special Comments: Wagon rides to and from the fields. Tree shaking, netting and twine to tie the tree to the car provided; Products: White pine to 6 feet; Scotch pine to 8 feet. Wreaths.

In Fauquier County:

HANK'S CHRISTMAS TREES, Henry and Cheryll Green; Belle Meade Road, Markham, VA 22643; 540.678.1107 or 540.533.6901; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Hours: Daylight hours. Open every day starting the day after Thanksgiving; Products: Choose-and-cut Douglas fir, Concolor fir, Fraser fir, white pine, Scotch pine, Colorado spruce, North Pole Norway spruce, Leyland cypress; Services: Wreaths made on site. Loading assistance. Pick a free potted tree or shrub with purchase. Bring pooch; Prices: $35, any tree, any size.

JB'S CHRISTMAS TREE FARM, Judy and Ronnie Ball; 11192 Rogues Road, Midland, VA 22728; 540.788.4035, Fax 540.788.3645; E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Hours: 11 a.m.-dark, Saturday and Sunday, from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Also open Friday after Thanksgiving 11 a.m.-dark; Products: Choose-and-cut white pine and Scotch pine; wreaths; Services: Hand saws and tree netting provided. Treats for the kids.

Remember that Christmas tree farms are like pumpkin patches: not any two are identical or offer the exact same products or experience. Also, call ahead or go online to get specific directions or confirm hours and availability of specific products. But regardless of whether you are looking for a small, intimate setting or a larger operation, you will be spending a fun day with nature making memories and perhaps starting a new annual tradition with your kids Granted, this is not the way to go if you prefer pre-lit and artificial, but if you are looking for festive and natural, put the outing on your calendar, bundle up, and make a day of it!

Cabell Smith Melson is the mother of four in Stafford and educator by profession.

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