Whether choosing and cutting your own Christmas tree is a decades-old ritual in your family or a new addition to your holiday tradition, consult our guide to find a location in Southeast New York (including Westchester and Rockland Counties).
Before you visit any of these Christmas tree farms, here are some tips - or reminders - to help you and your loved ones get the most out of the experience.
1. First, make sure to dress in warm, practical clothing when visiting any of these locations - a sturdy pair of shoes is an essential accessory for every member of the family.
2. Before you pack the gang into the car, call or visit the Web site of your intended destination to check that weather conditions are favorable and that the type of tree you're looking for is still available-this becomes more important as it gets closer to Christmas when the snow really starts to fly and the tree supply has been picked over (some locations may sell out of trees before their listed close date).
3. Most farms allow dogs, but call to check before you pack up your pet.
4. Check to see if the tools you'll need, like a saw and netting to pack up your tree, are provided. Most farms provide you with tools and optional assistance in cutting down and carrying your tree, but it's best to be prepared. If you have to bring your own tools, opt for a handsaw and steer clear of axes or chainsaws, as they're usually not allowed.
5. When you've chosen your tree, cut it as close to the ground as possible so you'll have enough trunk left to cut it a second time at home. This second cut allows the tree to soak up more water, which makes for a healthier, greener tree come Christmas morning.
6. Once your tree is placed in your home, keep the room temperature a bit lower, around 65 degrees (or at least keep the tree away from direct heat), to help keep it looking and smelling fresh throughout the holiday season.
7. Water your tree daily. Fresh trees tend to be very thirsty, so check your tree regularly to make sure the base is always covered with water.
Click here for our complete 2009 Guide
For other region-specific guides, visit: Long Island; Fairfield County, Connecticut; New Jersey
WHERE TO CUT YOUR OWN TREE IN SOUTHEAST NEW YORK
130 Hardscrabble Road, North Salem
Open Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve, 8am-6pm daily. Store on premises with homemade pies and donuts, farm produce, and holiday decorations.
Wilkens Fruit and Fir Farm
1335 White Hill Road, Yorktown Heights
Open November 28 through December 13, 10am-4:30pm. Each family member gets a free cup of hot cider while you choose and cut your own Christmas tree. Farm market, bakery, and gift shop with roping, tree stands, and decorations.
Hardwick Tree Farm
213 Wood Street, Mahopac
Open weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 8am-dusk. Saws and bailing provided. Free hot cider and cookies.
Abel's Tree Farms
435 North Clove Road, Verbank
Open Friday after Thanksgiving, weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 9am-dark. Complimentary bailing and handling assistance provided. Free hot chocolate and free wagon rides to fields. Also available: wreaths, tree stands, tree preservatives, and automatic tree watering devices. A variety of hot food available.
Battenfeld Christmas Tree Farm
856 Route 199, Red Hook
Open daily November 28 through December (check Web site for closing date), 8am-4pm. Handmade, decorated wreaths available.
26 Bilmar Boulevard, Pleasant Valley
Open daily November 27 through Christmas Eve, weekends 9am-4:30pm, weekdays 10am-4:30pm. Hay wagon and fire truck rides to and from the fields on weekends. Refreshments available for purchase on weekends. Tools and bailing provided.
Fabulous Firs (satellite farm of Bilmar Nurseries)
664-702 Van Wagner Road, Poughkeepsie
Opens November 27, open weekends November 28 through December (check Web site or call for availability), 9am-4:30pm. Hay wagon rides to and from the fields. Tools and bailing provided.
Sonny Sky Tree Farm (satellite farm of Bilmar Nurseries)
Rombout Road, LaGrange
Opens November 27, open weekends November 28 through mid-December, 9am-4:30pm. Tools and bailing provided.
407 North Tower Hill Road, Millbrook
Open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday November 27 through December 20, 9:30am-4:30pm. Handsaws and free bailing available. Precut trees and fresh, handmade holiday wreaths also available.
1697 Salt Point Turnpike, Salt Point
Open November 27 through December 22, weekends 9:30am-4:30pm, weekdays 12pm-4:30pm. Precut trees also available. Hayrides and hot chocolate available on weekends only. Families receive a complimentary cup of hot chocolate with tree purchase.
Schultzville Road, Clinton Corners (one mile east Taconic State Parkway)
Open December 5-20 weekends only, 9am-dusk. Tools and assistance provided.
Primrose Hill Farm
203 Fiddler's Bridge Road, Staatsburg
Open December 4-6 and 11-13, 9am-4pm. Tools and assistance provided. Christmas shop with wreaths, gifts, ornaments, crafts, baked goods, and hot chocolate.
Saltsman Christmas Tree Farm
214 Route 308, Rhinebeck
Open November 28 through December 24, 10am-dark. Precut trees also available, as well as wreaths, kissing balls, and other holiday decorations.
Solvang Tree Farm
80 Bedell Road, Poughkeepsie
Open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday November 27 through December 20, 9am-4:30pm. Rope and bailing provided. Precut trees also available. Small petting zoo, refreshment stand, and gift shop.
191 White Schoolhouse Road, Rhinebeck
Opens the Friday after Thanksgiving, 9:30am-dusk. Open Saturday and Sunday November 28 through Christmas Eve, 9:30am-dusk. Saws and binding provided. Selection includes 10-14 feet trees. Hot cider and cocoa available.
Graney Tree Farm
24 Lang Drive, Pine Bush
Open weekends November 28 through Christmas Eve, 10am-dusk. Rope provided. Decorated and undecorated wreaths available.
Manza Family Farm
730 Route 211, Montgomery
Open daily December 5 through Christmas, 8am-5pm. Precut trees, wreaths, and roping also available. Gift shop on premises.
Pine View Farm
575 Jackson Avenue, New Windsor
Open December 12 and 13, 9am-4pm. Tools and assistance provided. Homemade wreaths and Christmas decorations available.
Stone Oak Farm
207 Stony Bar Road, Slate Hill
Open weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 9am-4pm. Other times by appointment.
Sumner's Wintergreen Tree Farm
123 Brola Road, Middletown
Open weekends in December, 9am-4pm.
Bell's Tree Farm
647 Mettacahonts Road, Accord
Open November 27 through Christmas Eve (open until noon); weekdays 9:30am-dusk, weekends 8am-dusk. Hayrides offered weekends only November 27 through December 13, 11am-3:30pm. Precut trees also available. Tools and assistance provided. Gift shop on premises.
Hardenburgh Christmas Tree Farm
206 Hardenburgh Road, Ulster Park
Open weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 9am-dusk. Tractor rides through the tree fields offered. Tools and assistance provided. Precut trees and handmade wreaths also available. Holiday and gift shop on premises.
Mountain Fresh Farms
Baileys Gap Road, Highland
845-795-2260 (weekdays); 845-795-2728 (weekends); www.mountainfreshfarms.com
Open November 27-29, December 5-6, 12-13; 9am-4pm. Tools and assistance provided. Refreshments available. Hayrides and firepit with make-your-own s'mores. Santa appearances throughout the day.