There’s nothing like the smell of fresh pine needles in your home to summon the warm fuzzy feeling of the season. We New Yorkers may not have saplings in the backyard, but it’s still possible to have some old-fashioned holiday fun cutting down your own tree. A day trip to one of these Cut-Your-Own locations in New York, Long Island, New Jersey or Connecticut could become your newest family tradition. With handsaws available to borrow you don’t even need to raid the tool box — all that’s needed is some festive cheer and a bit of collective arm strength.
Wyckoff's Christmas Tree Farm
This family-owned farm nestled in Warren County near the Delaware Water Gap has been in the business nearly 50 years and, in the past, has provided The White House with its official tree. Having prestigious clients means five star service - there’s a special machine to shake off dead needles before wrapping it, making set up back home a bit tidier. Make a day of it and hang with friends - there’s a special area reserved for tailgate parties allowing people to enjoy ball games in the clearing. For some extra fun there’s a hayride, as well as decor for sale including wreaths, gifts and garlands. Staff provide hand saws although you may bring your own and trees are priced based on size and quality. 249 Country Rd. 519 (Mile marker 39) Belvidere, NJ 07823 908-475-4508 Hours: Open daily 8am to 4.30 pm Nov 25th-December 24th. Online: wyckoffs.com Photo credit: Wycoffs
Wilkens Fruit and Fir Farm
This year Wilkens Farm celebrates 100 years of harvest and has just diversified into wine making. An hour north of the city, the Christmas trees are grown on expansive land that was originally planted with peach trees in the 1970s. The family grows Douglas and Fraser firs and offers a free cider with every tree purchase. After your festive centrepiece is squared away, head to one of the farm’s three different markets, the Bakery, Apple Farm Market and Country Market to load up with signature apple cider donuts, jams, jellies, fruit and locally crafted holiday gifts. 1335 White Hill Road Yorktown Heights, NY 914-245-5111 Hours; Daily from November 26th 10am - 4pm Online: wilkensfarm.com Photo credit: Wilkens Fruit and Fir Farm
Barclays Tree Farm
This family owned and operated farm in Middlesex County promises one of the most affordable Choose-and-Cut tree options in the area. Trees are $55 for heights up to 12 ft and $90 for varieties over 12 ft. Great service is their top priority and staff are on hand to help pick the right tree, providing saws, squaring off and shaping branches as well as netting and securing the tree to your car. The Douglas and Fraser firs are the farm’s bestsellers. Also on offer are the Blue Spruce which has a dusty blue look, the distinctive White Firs which have a fragrant lemon-pine scent and the classic Norway Spruce. Dogs need to be leashed but are welcome to join the fun. 35 Orchardside Drive Cranbury, NJ 609-799-1855 Hours: Saturdays - Online: barclaystreefarm.com Photo credit: Barclay's Tree Farm
Tilden Lane Farm
Step back in time with a trip to Tilden Lane Farm tracing its history to the earliest East Coast settlers. The farm offers three types of spruce trees, good for holding the weight of lights and decorations. The firs have the piney scent and are a little longer lasting than the spruce. The farm is easily walkable and manageable with strollers and small wagons. There’s also a free pinecone bird-feeder craft event for kids. The cost of the trees varies depending on the height but is generally in the $70-80 range. Hand saws are available or you can bring your own and staff can help with tree wrapping and securing to your vehicle. They’ll also help out with family photos around your chosen centerpiece and there’s a discount on homemade wreaths if you buy a tree. Cash and checks only, no credit cards. 48 Wyckoff Street Greenlawn, NY Hours: 3 weekends only, November 26/27, December 3/4 and December 10/11 9 a. m. - 3 p. m. Online: tildenlanefarm.com
Elmwood Christmas Tree Farm
This small home-run lot has more than 4000 trees and is one of Long Island’s most westerly Christmas Tree farms. Bring your own saw and you can take home one of their many tree varieties including firs, pines and spruces. Set on a picturesque spot on a slight hill, the farm is low frills but gets super busy. Trees are reasonably priced based on the height and species you select. Most trees are in the 6 - 8 ft range. Staff recommend arriving early on the weekend to cut wait times. The farm also offers living Christmas trees to plant out in the new year. Cash and check only, no credit cards. 1500 East Jericho Turnpike, Huntington, NY 631 368-8626 Hours: Weekdays 3 p. m. til dark from Black Friday and weekends 10 a. m. til dark. Online: elwoodpumpkinfarm.com Photo credit: Jason Lander via Flickr
Shamrock Christmas Tree Farm
What's more fun than cutting down your own tree? How about slurping down oysters and enjoying a wine tasting while you're at it? Shamrock Christmas Tree Farm offers fun for both kids and adults; little lumberjacks can visit with Santa, hop on a holiday train ride and drop a letter to Santa in a hot red mailbox. The farm also provides plenty of photo ops such as the Peanuts crew rendered in plywood at the "Charlie Brown Christmas Tree" stand and festive old timey sleighs. (Our advice: cut down your tree before the wine tasting.) If you're not up for cutting down your tree, you can buy one already pre-cut, as well as wreaths, kissing balls, and more.
20685 Main Rd.
Carter Christmas Tree Farm
This farm in the heart of Miller Place Historical District on Long Island has trees ranging from 3ft to 9ft tall and offers Douglas Fir, Scotch Pine, White Spruce, as well as the iconic Norway Spruce. Handsaws can be borrowed and they'll wrap the tree for easy transport. They do ask customers to bring sturdy rope to fasten the tree to your vehicle. The trees can be pre-tagged starting November 19 and must be paid for by cash or check. 123 North Country Road Miller Place, NY 631 331-4699 Hours: Weekends only, 9 a. m. to 4.30 p. m. from November 19th to December 18th Online: cartertreefarm
Jones Family Farms
This 200 acre farm in Fairfield County offers a variety of height and species including towering firs, pines and spruces for $69. The theme this year is Here We Go A'Caroling and they even have a bonfire to sing around. Tree buyers get a complimentary locally-made pewter ornament. The farm’s Barnyard Shop sells holiday treats and decor including wreaths, handmade crafts and tree stands. They also serve hot mulled cider and home made cookies at the Harvest Kitchen Christmas Canteen. Staff are happy to see dogs in the Christmas tree fields but bring and leash and payment is by cash or check only, not credit cards. 555 Walnut Tree Rd. Shelton, CT 203 929-8425 Hours: Daily from November 19th to Christmas Eve (closed on Thanksgiving) Online: jonesfamilyfarms.com Photo credit: Jones Family Farms via facebook