Shopping for a Christmas Tree in Fort Collins – Our Top 5 Favorite Tree Farms
From lights dangling off of neighborhood houses to Santa Claus and stockings filled full with gifts, there is nothing that says Christmas quite like the family Christmas tree. For some its the easy way, opening the old cardboard box and pulling out the plastic tree that has been handed down from two or three generations. But then there are those who hold the tradition of going out and getting the real deal very close to heart. No matter which category you fall into, a trip to the tree farm can be great family fun! Here are our top 5 places to get your family tannenbaum (Christmas tree).
Sure most, if not all, nursery's have Christmas trees for sale, but some can be kind of lame. Bath Garden Center and Nursery in Fort Collins does it right. The nursery turns into a sort of winter wonderland around the holidays. Santa makes a visit, there are wreath designing classes, and Bath Garden Center is even where Santa's reindeer call home. The trees are pre-cut, so just find the perfect fir or spruce and you'll be set!
You want to cut your own tree, but you don't have time to head to the mountains? Just head a little east from the hustle and bustle of Greeley to Fern Hill Farm. All you really need to bring with you is a jacket and the family, Fern Hill will provide the rest. Hop on the hayride wagon and it will give you a ride to the field to choose you tree, and when you find the right one they will even let you use their saw to cut it down. Once you get the new member of the family loaded up and ready to take home, head into the gift shop and enjoy a cup of hot cider while browsing through the homemade wreaths, ornaments, and other holiday related items.
Another way to find and cut your own tree without spending the whole day driving to get there is Windsor's Christmas Tree Farm. Since 1980 John and Janice Windsor have opened their sheep ranch turned tree farm to Northern Colorado. Although the Windsor's tree farm was one of the hardest hit places in the tornado that hit Windsor in May of 2008, they have recovered and are back at doing what they do best, growing trees. The most unique feature at Windsor's Christmas Tree Farm is the Moonlight Hayrides through what they call the "Enchanted Forest." A moonlight hayride with hot chocolate through the moonlight snowfield is a great experience. But, if you choose to arrive in the daylight you can still visit the gift shop where you are offered complimentary cider and snacks while browsing through the fresh Alpine Fir decorations.
Christmas Tree Acres offers, hands down, the best prices for fresh cut Christmas trees, and it is a small family owned farm with all the holiday fun to go along with the tree finding experience. Because of the small friendly environment, it almost feels as though you are at Grandma's house as you enter the gift store for warm cider and cookies. Unlike the other you-cut-it farms where you are taken to the field of trees in a wagon or by foot, at Christmas Tree Acres you take your own vehicle to the trees, which gives you a more personal experience and makes for much easier loading. Adding to the down-home, country Christmas feel, they don't have a website, so make sure you call before you head out, and bring a 4X4.
Now come on, how could we not include one of the biggest tree farms in the world that happens to be right in our back yard on this list? That's right, I am talking about the forest! Typically $10 for a permit from the Forest Service, the price doesn't get better either. To me, the perfect family holiday afternoon is bundling up, driving to the mountains, hiking out into the forest, find just the right tree and haul it back to the car – only to discover that it’s actually 12 feet tall and your ceilings are 8 feet. Beware – the trees look a lot smaller in the forest than they do in your living room. Research should be done on which forest to go to, how long it will take you, and what you need to bring. Just don't forget your cider, because the wildlife is not as welcoming as the owners of the cities tree farms. Here are some forests that tree cutting is permitted in... * Arapaho National Forest * Grand Mesa National Forest * Gunnison National Forest * Pike National Forest * Roosevelt National Forest * Routt National Forest * San Isabel National Forest * San Juan National Forest * Uncompahgre National Forest * White River National Forest