DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- Ready to deck the halls?
Consider chopping your own tree. Whether it's a long-held Christmas tradition or something you're planning to do for the first time, there's plenty of opportunities for fresh air-- and often hot chocolate -- at a Hudson Valley tree farm where you'll also find gift shops filled with wreaths, decorations, and, yes, Virginia, fresh pies.
What follows is a sampling of local spots. Feel free to tell us your favorite in our Facebook comments. Or better yet, send us a selfie with your tree.
- Abel's Trees (435 North Clove Rd., Verbank, 677-6395): is open weekends until Christmas, from 9 a.m. to dusk and offers plenty of 10-foot high trees; among them Balsam Fir, Blue Spruce, Norway Fir, Serbian Spruce, Canaan Fir and White Spruce. If necessary, they may be able to make appointments for weekday visits.
- Battenfeld's Tree Farm (856 Route 199, Red Hook, 845-758-8018): There's 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 Tree Farm (407 North Tower Hill Road Millbrook, 845- 677 3785): Cash or check only at this family-run farm where you'll find Douglas Fir, Frazier Fir and Spruce. Trees start at $45 and if you don't want to do the cutting, they'll do it for you.
- Solvang Tree Farm (80 Bedell Rd., Poughkeepsie, 8450 473-0224): Ten to 15-foot fresh cut Fraser and Balsam are available as are cut your own up to eight feet. Cut our own varieties include Blue Spruce, White Spruce and Scotch Pine with Frasier Fir, Concolor Fir and Doughlas Fir in fresh cut varieties. Complimentary tree baling is available.
- Fabulous Firs (664-702 Van Wagner Rd., Poughkeepsie, 845-635-3206): Five varieties of fir, including the farm's award winning Fraser Fir, are grown here. You'll also find a number of varieties of Spruce and White Pine. And on weekends, they often have a fire truck and hay wagon rides to the fields, along with a gift shop, fresh wreathes from their own greens, and sometimes, a visit from Santa. Call for details at (845) 590-3337.
- Saltsman Christmas Tree Farm (214 Route 308, Rhinebeck, 845-876-8801) : Open through Christmas (or until the trees are sold out) with pre-cut: Fraser Fir, Balsam Fir, Concolor Fir and choose and cut: Blue Spruce, White Spruce, Fraser Fir, Balsam Fir. Trees range in height from six feet to 12 feet. You'll also find plenty of wreaths, kissing balls, and other holiday decorations as well as an outdoor fire, hot cider, roasted chestnuts, and doughnuts.
- Plains View Farm (21 Freedom Rd., Pleasant Valley, 845-485-4277): All trees are $55 here and include White, Norway and Blue Spruce along with Douglas, Balsam, Fraser and Canaan firs.
- Wonderland Farm (191 White Schoolhouse Rd., Rhinebeck, 845-876-6760): Open weekends from 9:30 a.m. to dusk; selection includes four to 15-foot-tall trees in Balsam, Frasier, and Canaan Firs, as well as Blue Spruce.
And nearby in Putnam...
- Hardwick Tree Farm (213 Wood Street, Mahopac, 845-528-5814): Expect a wide variety of trees including Douglas Fir, Frasier Fir, Balsam Fir, Concolor and Canaan at $13 per foot from now through Christmas. The farm is open Saturday and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and offers free hot cider and cookies. Saws and baling provided.
- Emmerich Tree Farm (101 Sleepy Valley Rd., Warwick, 845-986-0151): Pine, spruce and fir are available where, this year, the Emmerich Tree Farm website promises larger choose-and-cut options. Wagon rides to the field, music, bonfire, and free hot chocolate round out the fun. They are open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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