Picking out a Christmas Tree from a parking lot can barely be considered a “holiday tradition.” But, going out to the farm, breathing in the crisp winter air, searching for the perfect tree while taking in the beautiful scenery, chopping it down yourself (making sure to leave a couple of branches there so the next tree can grow in its place) and then heading back to a cozy room to drink some hot apple cider and pick out a special ornament…now THAT is a wonderful Christmas tradition. And, in Sonoma County, we’re lucky to have a number of great Christmas Tree farms to choose from. Here are a few of my favorites:
You can make a family outing out of visiting this Christmas tree farm. On weekends, they offer free horse-drawn carriage rides to all their customers. There’s also a jump house for the kids, plus they can pet the farm animals. And there’s a cut store on site with lots of ornaments and gifts. On top of all that, the farm is located on 10 acres of some of the prettiest land in Sebastopol with wonderful views. And you can take it all in from the scenic picnic areas. If you don’t bring your own food, you can get popcorn, hotdogs, fruit and other items from the snack bar. And, oh yeah, don’t forget the main attraction: hunting throughout the farm to find that perfect Christmas tree.
Frosty Mountain is owned and operated by Bill Garlock and his family. Bill is the son of the man and wife team who started Garlock Tree Farm (see above). So, there’s extended family always pitching in at both of the farms, and both farms also have a similar family-oriented vibe. There’s plenty for kids to do at this farm as well. There are farm animals and a picnic area and a shop and fresh apple fritters. But, instead of the old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage rides offered at Garlock, Frosty Mountain features hayrides on a new-fangled tractor.
This is an all-round great Christmas tree farm. But, the thing that really stands out in my mind about it is that you can borrow one of their lanterns and an ax, and go out into the night to find and chop down your Christmas tree. And, when you’re done, you can sit down in their “warming hut” and sip hot apple cider. The whole experience makes me feel like I just stepped into a Little House on the Prairie.
Bring your camera and take a picture with Santa on the weekends. This farm is owned by the same folks as Liberty Christmas Tree Farm (above).
This is a gorgeous piece of property, up in the mountains above Sonoma Valley, with beautiful views. The 2-mile drive up Moon Mountain road is lovely as well, but it is windy, so this might not be the best choice for folks who get car sick easily. Also, once you do get up there, there’s not that much to do besides get your tree, take in the views, enjoy some of the complimentary refreshments and wind down a bit. There are no, shops, farm animals, etc. But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
North Eagle is located in eastern Santa Rosa off Hwy. 12, just down the road from several Sonoma Valley wineries. This is actually a pottery gallery and studio as well as a bonsai nursery. But, during the holiday season, the property also turns into a “Christmas Tree Forest.” If you live outside the area and want a taste of Sonoma County life, you can come to this stretch of road and do the “tree-chopping thing” and the “art thing” and the “winery thing” all in one fell swoop. Stop by the nearby Caffe Citti, also on Hwy. 12, or head a bit south to the Glen Ellen Inn and you can do the “foodie thing” as well.