Families looking to rekindle an old holiday tradition can visit Jackson County, NC. where the experience of selecting your own real tree from one of several tree farms in the area, replacing the artificial tree from the store.
Due to the location, range of elevations, excellent soil and rainfall, Jackson County is home to the southern-most natural stand of Fraser fir in the world. Researchers have even shown that the genetics recovered from this southern stand produce some of the fastest growing, most aesthetically pleasing Christmas trees.
Below are a few spots, many family-owned, where visitors can choose and cut their own tree while visiting the area:
Hutch’s Mountain Trees: Owner Jerry McAbee has been growing his Fraser firs for more than 30 years, and his Masters in Forestry has led Hutch’s Mountain Trees to a growing forest of 200,000 firs in the ground. All trees are grown at or above 3,800 feet in Glenville, in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
Tom Sawyer Tree Farm: Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina overlooking beautiful Lake Glenville, Tom Sawyer Tree Farm and its Elf Village offer a full day of holiday celebrations. 80 acres of Fraser Firs are maintained by Tom Sawyer’s “elves” who help maintain the trees. Pick from Christmas trees ranging from 3’ to 12’ in height, and use one of the farm’s handsaws.
After you find the perfect tree, visit the elf-sized collection of houses in the Elf Village, where kids can make crafts, visit Santa Claus, write and mail letters to Santa, hear holiday stories, roast s’mores and even take horse and carriage rides.
Buck Knob Farm: Trek the sloping mountainside acres of Fraser firs at Buck Knob Farm where firs are anywhere from five to 10 feet tall, and available to choose and cut.
There are a number of choose and cut farms in the area including: Grandy Mountain Farm and Landscaping, Moss Tree Farm Inc., Mountain Hardy Christmas Trees, Sandy Hollar Farms, Pressley Tree Farm, Boyd Mountain Tree Farm and Long Hollow Tree Farm. If you are looking for additional farms, or more information on how to choose and cut your own tree in Jackson County, visit JacksonCountyTrees.com.
Jackson County’s festive celebrations don’t stop there! After the tree is taken care of, get in the holiday spirit and check out the festivals, arts and crafts shows and Christmas parades throughout the towns of Jackson County.
Holiday Events and Activities:
- In Cashiers, visitors to Cashiers Crossroads can enjoy twinkling lights, the village tree lighting, holiday music, s’mores and more—including a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus—during the Festival of Trees.
- In Cullowhee, the Hard Candy Christmas Show features more than 100 vendors selling Christmas trees, crafts, holiday gifts and more.
- One of the best small-town celebrations is Dillsboro’s Lights and Luminaries event, where the streets are lined with 2,500 lights and luminaries. Held during the first two weekends in December, this evening festival transports visitors to a winter wonderland, where they can shop, listen to carolers, take horse and buggy rides and indulge in treats like Christmas cookies and hot cocoa.
- Stroll under the lights through fun, interactive displays that tell ancient Christmas legends during the Cherokee Lights & Legends Christmas event. You can also see the lighting of the 40-ft. Christmas tree, have a visit with Santa, and take a spin on the synthetic ice rink. Warm up by the bonfire and enjoy Cherokee storytelling. With bounce-houses, face painting, balloon animals, and more. Happening every Friday and Saturday from December 2 – 31, with a special fireworks display on New Year’s Eve.
- Visitors can also stay in Jackson County and still travel the short trip to Bryson City on to hop onboard The Polar Express. The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad takes families to and from the North Pole on a 1.5-hour train ride. Listen to the story of The Polar Express, sip hot chocolate and sing Christmas carols on your ride.
- Both Cashiers and Sylva host festive Christmas parades in early December to usher in the season. The Cashiers Christmas Parade starts at The Village Green and features more than 75 floats, marchers, musicians, vintage cars, fire engines, animals for the “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly” theme. On the other end of the county, the Sylva Christmas Parade is themed each year, and floats this year will be decorated as “A Cinema Christmas.”. The parade strolls right through Sylva’s iconic Main Street.
Jackson County finds a way to bring holiday cheer to both visitors and locals alike through their small-town charm. So, load the sleigh and head our way for a new kind of holiday tradition!