Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Christmas Tree Experience

Posted December 1, 2010

Have you bought your Christmas tree yet? If so, where did you go? Is it always the same vendor for you? What type of tree do you like? Does it have to be a Fraser Fir or is a white pine your favorite?

Our family has a tradition of buying a Christmas tree each year in the mountains at a choose and cut lot near our cabin in Alleghany County. This year we bought at 8 foot Fraser Fir at Bobby Maines lot off Highway 21 near Roaring Gap. The price was quite pleasing - $40. There is a plentiful supply of trees this year. North Carolina ranks second nationwide in the number of trees harvested. This year's harvest could top 5 million.

We were in and out of the tree lot in 15 minutes. We have a family rule. Everyone has to agree on a tree before we make the purchase. We quickly found a beautiful Fraser Fir - full and fresh and flourishing on an impressive hillside. We hoisted our PVC pole, which is used to measure the height of the tree, and Bobby Maines came by with his chainsaw. He also trimmed the bottom of the tree so it will be easy to place it in our stand. We always ask a member of the tree crew to secure the tree to the top of our car with string and then reinforce it with bungee cords. I would hate to launch a tree missile coming down Highway 421 at 65 miles an hour.

When we arrived back in Raleigh I and put the tree in a big bucket of water. I will probably not be able to put the tree up in the house until Sunday evening. I love the choose and cut option because these trees are so fresh and last through New Year's without shedding too many needles.

Locally, there are many great places to find a tree. Since 1989 former NC State basketball star Tommy Burleson has been bringing batches of great trees down from the mountains. Tommy has a lot on Kildare Farm Road in Cary near Western Wake Med. You never know who might show up. One year I bought a tree from Tommy's Wolfpack teammate David Thompson. That was a thrill!


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  • swordmistress Dec 2, 2010

    I like going to the Baptist Church over near Atlantic and Millbrook (I think it's on Old Wake Forest) in Raleigh. They have absolutely GORGEOUS trees, they are incredibly nice, and all their sales go directly to local charities which are listed on a big sign when you enter their lot. We've gone early and late in the season and their trees never waiver in quality or duration. I make wreaths from the trim that stay green for months and smell fantastic. Might head over there this weekend, in fact.

  • nativeofwake Dec 1, 2010

    We always go to Phillips right off 55 in Cary. Never had a tree dry up as long as we remember to water it reasonably ;-)

  • thinknc Dec 1, 2010

    Getting one this weekend from somewhere in the Boone area or up around Sparta. Started doing this when the kids were small, and 12 years later, feel that we have to go get a Fraser Fir from the mountains. Makes for a nice day together with family, even though the kids aren't so small anymore. And this year, there's the added fun of going to two concerts our son is playing in this weekend at ASU.

  • NCCaniac Dec 1, 2010

    I second Pop-N-Sons lot in Cary. Been buying my tree from them for several years now...back when they were out in front of the Big Lots on Kildaire Farms Road and now when they are over by the Fresh Market. They bring fresh trees in every weekend or two so you are never buying a tree that has been out for a long time.

  • tarhillmom Dec 1, 2010

    Can't wait...going to Boone this weekend for the express purpose of harvesting a tree! Of course we're going with friends and having a nice dinner out, too! Snow flakes are in the forecast, too, so that will be perfect.

  • Raleighnative58 Dec 1, 2010

    Great topic today Bill! Our son is selling Christmas Trees this year for the first time. His fresh-cut the fraser firs himself from a farm in Avery County last week. Come visit him at his lot on Morrisville-Carpenter Rd. near Town Hall Dr. in Morrisville. It has been a great family experience so far! There is nothing better than a fresh cut tree smell!!!

  • thecatsmeow67 Dec 1, 2010

    We like to go to Evergreen Ridge in Newland, NC. we have been going there for about 6 years. We like to go on Black Friday. this year I had the "pleasure" of working all night at Tanger Outlets and then going and picking out our Christmas Tree--I would not be denied. We look until we find 1 that we all can agree on and our daughter is the one that usually finds the perfect one for us. We enjoy it loads more when there are snow flurries, but Mother Nature normally makes it good and cold for us each year.

  • no more - no less Dec 1, 2010

    Pop-n-Sons Tree Lot at the Fresh Market in Cary.

  • cwood3 Dec 1, 2010

    Thank you Bill Leslie. you always come up with great stories. WE buy our's from a local church in Clayton. Same place -same day-Saturday after Thanksgiving every year. Their trees come in on Wednesday-told they were cut Monday-so it's 6 days off the ground when we get it.

    Oh, we go 2 miles to buy the tree-saves gas-helps a local church-win-win!!

    Merry Christmas to all. Prayers for a bright, cheerful 2011.

  • PAINFREE Dec 1, 2010

    Thanks for a fun topic this morning! I have always had a real tree until I got a cat that I thought would destroy a live tree. After going without one for a number of years, I put a tiny one up and he paid no attention to it! Just like a cat!! Then another option opened: a crabpot tree from down east. Prelit, can be used round (3 dimensional) or opened out half-way to place flat against a wall, or maybe to hang on a wall. They are available locally at Logan's and perhaps other places. Also are online; just look for "crabpot Christmas trees". Mine is 3 feet tall, and fits on a big table in the front window, so neighbors can enjoy.




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Bill Leslie