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New Hampshire
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More Travel Info:
New Hampshire
Cutting Our Own
at the Windy Ridge Orchard
and Christmas Tree Farm, NH
By Polly Tafrate

Two of our grandchildren are visiting us for the weekend. They’re from New
York City and buy their Christmas tree from a street vendor.

“Last year the needles fell off the day after we put ours up,” Sophia says.

“It didn’t even smell good,” adds her brother, Max.

“It must have been old,” I tell them. “Let’s do the real-deal this year -- go into the
woods and cut down a tree. I know the perfect place.”  

The next morning, after checking that everyone is dressed warmly, two kids, two
parents and two grandparents pile into the car and drive over to Windy Ridge
Orchard and Christmas Tree Farm, located on Route 116 outside of North
Haverhill New Hampshire.  This is a family farm owned and run since 1967 by
Richard and Ann Fabrizio and their five children.

Once there we walk over to the gift shop. Inside we’re assailed by the aroma of
Christmas -- there’s no other way to describe it. Ann Fabrizio warmly greets us.
She and her daughter, Lynn, promise us a complimentary drink of hot cider and
warm donuts when we return from our tree cutting adventure.

Outside we meet Richard Fabrizio, sitting on his tractor. Even though there is no
snow on the ground today, the tractor will pull the wagon with all of us inside
across the road, down the hill and past the pond to The Christmas Tree
Plantation.  Richard and Ann's son, Mark, follow in the gator which brings the
cut trees back. His job on the farm is to maintain the thousands of trees -- a year-
round job of pruning, mowing and planting.

Everyone scatters once we climb down from the wagon. I take a few deep sniffs
-- love that pine scent!

Shouts of "Look at this one!", "I think this is it!" and "You gotta see this one!" are
heard as we walk among the rows of trees.  Richard and Mark wait patiently
while we make our decision.

The one we choose is a beauty. Richard hands the kids' dad a hand saw, and
shows him where to start the cut. After a few minutes he hands the saw to Sophia
and then Max, for carefully supervised turns. I can’t take pictures fast enough.

We stand back as the tree falls with a soft thud onto the ground. Mark drags it
over to the gator and starts up the hill. And we get back into the wagon headed
for more fun at The Gift Barn. Its warmth is more than welcome.

Christmas songs are playing as we enjoy our refreshments and thaw out our feet.
Looking around I admire the festive decorations.  

Sophia sits at a table to color a holiday picture and Max and Grandpa set up a
game of checkers nearby. I welcome this time to browse around the store which
is chock full of Christmas decorations, local crafts, Yankee candles, jams and
jellies, and so much more. I grab a basket and start to put must-haves into my
basket. “Who makes these gorgeous wreaths?” I ask Ann.

“Richard. I do the decorating,” she says. I know one will be going home with me
along with a few bottles of wine from their Seven Birches Winery and a bag of
donuts.   

Two little giggling elves approach me. I see Sophia and Max have found the
dress-up area.

“Wait,” I tell them. “I need my camera.” Close to where I left it, I notice Santa’s
mailbox. I encourage the kids to sit down and write a letter to Santa.  

We say our goodbyes to Ann and Lynn. Once outside the kids notice some
pre-cut trees propped against the building. Sophia mentions how much more
fun it was to cut down our own. Over at the parking area I see Mark helping the
guys tie our tree to the roof of the car.     

The kids are bubbling with enthusiasm on the ride back to the lake. They can’t
wait to get back to the city to put up their tree.

“This year,” I tell them, “The needles won’t fall off your tree once you get it
up.”   

“And it will smell good too,” says Max.

Windy Ridge Orchard and Christmas Tree Farm, Route 116, North Haverhill ,
NH * 603-787-6377. Open weekends 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. until Christmas.

Advice on choosing/cutting your own Christmas tree.

About the author: Polly Tafrate is a well-published freelance writer who especially enjoys
writing about New England.