Choose, Cut and Stay in the Christmas Tree Capital

Choose, Cut and Stay in the Christmas Tree Capital

Ninety percent of North Carolina Christmas trees are Fraser firs, prized for their pyramid shape, sturdy branches and natural fresh holiday scent. North Carolina Fraser firs have been chosen for the White House 12 times – the most of any state and any species. A record seven of those are from Ashe County alone, earning the High Country destination the title of America’s Christmas Tree Capital.

The North Carolina Christmas Tree Association lists some 60 Christmas tree growers who invite visitors to their farms to choose and cut the perfect tree. The North Carolina Farm Fresh and the Eastern North Carolina Christmas Tree Growers Association also offer great information about where to find trees in the mountains, central region and on the coast.

Here’s how the hunt for the perfect North Carolina-grown Christmas tree usually plays out. You bundle up, pile the family in the car and hit the road. Depending on which farm you visit, your trip could include an old-fashioned hayride to the top of a mountain, a visit with Santa, shopping in a holiday gift shop, drinking hot apple cider or cocoa, or even joining a marshmallow or hot dog roast. Choosing, measuring and getting your tree cut is easy with help from large farm “elves” who wrap it up and load it for the trip home. With lots of lodging options near local tree farms, you can easily turn a daytrip into a weekend adventure.

North Carolina trees harvested right off the farm are fresher, smell more fragrant, and stay greener as family arrives and your celebration unfolds. But whether you take a tree home or not, a visit to a Christmas tree farm creates a lasting holiday memory.

As you plan your trip, consider this: Our state’s top five Christmas tree-producing counties are Ashe, Avery, Alleghany and Watauga in the High Country and Jackson in the Great Smoky Mountains. Species grown in eastern North Carolina include Leyland cypress, Norway spruce, Eastern red cedar, white pine, Scotch pine, Virginia pine, Arizona cypress (Blue Ice, Carolina Sapphire) and the white cedar cultivar Green Giant.

Malia Kline

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