Thanksgiving may be upon us but the minute the leftovers are put away and the scent of Great Aunt Ida's perfume have dissipated, it quickly turns into the holiday season. And for many, that means Christmas trees.
Why not change your tradition-- or revive an old one -- and cut down your own this year?
Dutchess County has a long history of family-owned farms that, in addition to offering kid-friendly diversions such as hot cocoa, sleigh rides and Santa visits, feature a wide array of spruces, pines and firs, all of which can live for a long time in water before you're ready to decorate.
The following are worth checking out. Just bundle up before you go and check websites for hours. All open on Black Friday, Nov. 27.
Abel's Trees (435 North Clove Rd., Verbank, 845-677-6395) has been planting Christmas trees since the mid-1960s and currently has more than 25 acres filled with Balsam Fir, Blue Spruce, Norway Fir, Serbian Spruce, Canaan Fir and White Spruce. Large trees 8-feet tall and over are $65; trees under that are $50.
Battenfeld's Tree Farm (856 Route 199, Red Hook, 845-758-8018) : There are lots of choices at this fifth-generation family-owned farm where options include Blue Spruce, White Pine, Douglas Fir and Frasier Fir. You'll also find a large gift shop.
Evergreen Farm (407 No. Tower Hill Rd., Wassaic, 845-677-3785): Douglas Fir, Frasier Fir and Spruce are yours for the cutting and carting at this family-owned farm where if you don't want to chop it, they'll do it for you. Trees up to 7 1/2 ft. are $65; trees over 8 feet are $8 to $9 per foot. The farm also donates tress through the National Trees for Troops program.
Murphy Crest Tree Farm (170 Depot Hill Rd., Amenia, 845-464-6931) is all about personalized service -- it's a family business, after all. Among the options: Norway Spruce, Douglas Fir, Canaan Fir and Concolor Fir.
Saltsman Family Christmas Trees (214 Route 308, Rhinebeck, 845-876-8801): Come on a weekend and enjoy complimentary roasted chestnuts, mulled cider and donuts around an open barnyard fire either before or after you cut either Blue or White Spruce. Trees range from 7 to 11 feet.
Solvang Tree Farm (80 Bedell Rd., Poughkeepsie, 8450 473-0224). Cut your own trees are $54 and include Colorado Blue Spruce, White Spruce, Norway Spruce and Scotch Pine, up to 8 feet. You can also buy a fresh tree up to 14 feet along with wreaths and other decorations.
Wonderland Farm (191 White Schoolhouse Rd., Rhinebeck, 845-876-6760) : Any tree less than 10 feet is $45; any tree 10 feet and up is $55; you can also warm up with a cup of hot cocoa for $1.
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