Located in picturesque Hermann, Missouri, Pea Ridge Forest offers a great half-day excursion for St. Louisans. Enjoy a wagon ride into acres of Scotch pines, White pines and Norway spruce trees. After yelling "tim-ber!" ride back to the barn where you can warm yourself by the fire while enjoying homemade baked goods, warm drinks and kettle corn. Santa makes an appearance on the weekends. Be sure to check online to see what other Christmas activities are happening while you're in Hermann. The town is home to several German-style Christmas markets along with other festivals and holiday happenings. Beginning Saturday, Nov. 19, Pea Ridge Forest is open daily through Christmas Eve, 9 a.m. to dark.
Pea Ridge Forest, 22735 Tree Farm Road, Hermann, MO, 65041, 636-932-4687
Heritage Valley Tree Farm
Just south of Washington, Missouri, Heritage Valley Tree Farm is an hour's drive from St. Louis and even less for most county residents. The 75-acre farm has been family-owned for more than a century. Take a wagon ride to the field where you can choose from three types of Christmas trees: the short-needled Canaan fir, the long-needled White Pine and Norway Spruce. Refuel with hot chocolate, apple cider and baked goods afterward. Stop by the farm's historic 150-year-old log cabin to for a little country Christmas atmosphere. The farm opens Friday, Nov. 25, and then will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends through Dec. 18. Credit cards are not accepted, so be sure to bring cash or a checkbook.
Heritage Valley Tree Farm, 1668 Four Mile Road, Washington, MO, 63090, 636-239-7479
In addition to the vast acres set aside for pick-your-own apples, peaches, berries and pumpkins, the folks at Eckert's also grow thousands of Scotch and white pines to brighten local homes during the holidays. Cut-your-own trees will be available at both the Millstadt and Belleville locations beginning Nov. 25. The latter location also boasts a wide selection of pre-cut pines and firs if you can't find the one you love in the field. The Belleville farm also has the added bonus of holiday storytelling, breakfasts with Santa and gingerbread house workshops. See their calendar for details or call 800-745-0513.
Meert Tree Farm
Meert Tree Farm offers thousands of cut-your-own trees in four different varieties: Scotch pines, white pines, Canaan firs and Norway spruces. Located in nearby Festus, Missouri, the farm offers a great option for families who want to cut down their own tree but don't want to make a day of it. On the weekends, the farm provides wagon rides to the tree fields. Also available on weekends are refreshments, a Christmas shop and mini-train rides for kids. Meert Tree Farm opens Friday, Nov. 25, and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week until Dec. 23.
Meert Tree Farm, 14560 Dry Fork Road, Festus, MO, 63028, 636-931-3901.
Starr Pines Christmas Tree Farm
Starr Pines Christmas Tree Farm is located in Boonville, Missouri, a two-and-a-half hour drive west of St. Louis, making it a daylong excursion. Wayne and Ann Starr began planting their pines more than a quarter of a century ago and their 200-acre farm has now been open to the public for more than two decades. Visitors enjoy a hay ride through the farm's manicured fields before being let off to select and topple their own Scotch pines. Plus, you can save 25 percent off your Scotch pine by bringing in your artificial tree! A limited number of short-needled Norway spruces also are available. Warm up with a free cup of hot cider afterward. Open 9 a.m. until dark every day Thanksgiving through Christmas.
Starr Pines Christmas Tree Farm, 21298 Pleasant Hill Road, Boonville, MO, 65233, 660-882-6858.
Country Pines Christmas Tree Farm
Enjoy a bit of the Smokey Mountain Christmas tradition with a premium pre-harvested Fraser Fir Tree, all the way from the Smokey Mountains. If you'd prefer to cut your own, you may choose from Scotch or a few white pines, though selection is limited so plan your visit early. After selecting the perfect tree and garland, do a bit of shopping in the gift shop, enjoy a cup of cocoa and share your wish list with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, who will be visiting Country Pines Christmas Tree Farm on weekends. Starting Saturday, Nov. 19, Country Pines is open 1-5 p.m. weekdays (closed Thanksgiving Day) and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 17. For a country-inspired Christmas card, families may also book a sitting with a professional photographer at Country Pines. The photographer will also be available without an appointment on opening day and weekends throughout the season.
Country Pines Christmas Tree Farm, 14533 State Hwy. M, Wright City, MO, 63390, 636-745-0653.
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