Papa Goats Tree Farm
We got in the Christmas Spirit a little early this year. And by ‘we’, I mean, ‘me’. Kids are always in the Christmas Spirit!
When I started this story, I was thinking that we really don’t have a lot of formal holiday traditions here. We enjoy the holidays as a family, but we don’t have a long list of things we call ‘our traditions’. But the more I thought about it, I see that we actually do. I won’t spoil those upcoming stories by making a list here, but suffice it to say that many of our traditions are a bit untraditional! And I absolutely love that about us!
There is one of our traditions that I think any family would enjoy- our trip to Sparta NC to hunt for our tree. This started for us many years ago when we stopped to gaze at a tree farm along 421 when we were returning from Blowing Rock. As a farm kid, I was amazed- I grew up in the flatlands of IL, where you survived in a maze of soybeans and corn for miles and miles. No view. Just heat and humidity. And here in the gorgeous Appalachian Mountains farmers are growing fields of Christmas Trees!!! We returned that year after Thanksgiving to choose and cut our own. New to the drill, we stopped at a gas station in Sparta and when I asked the cashier which farm she thought was best, the man in line behind us, a total stranger, gave us glowing praise for Papa Goats Farm. Perfect.
That trip has now become a staple in our recipe for the Holidays. Your ingredients and results may vary, but for what it’s worth, here’s our mix:
- Plan a day when you can kill the whole day, and sleep in! We live about an hour and a half from Sparta, so part of the fun is the mini-roadtrip! Roadtrip junkfood is a must. Mix CD or playlist of your latest favorite Christmas songs is also a nice touch. NO other electronics- Sing. Talk. Play tacky roadtrip games. Seriously.
- Check the weather! Sparta is up in the mountains, and the weather can be significantly different up there. Colder for sure. Bundle up! You wouldn’t want your hunting to be cut short by cold feet!
- Take the dog. The family dog belongs on this roadrtip as much as he or she belongs in front of a crackling fire or at the foot of your child’s bed. We had been missing this important element until this year. Willie Wonka and Pretty Lady can now check ‘Hay Rack Ride’ off their bucket lists.
- If you’re approaching Sparta on 21 North, stop at the scenic turnout just before you get to town. You can see Pilot Mountain which is about 60 miles away as the crow flies. It’s an amazing view in all directions. I’ve been getting a picture of the kids with the tree atop the van and the mountain in the background at this turnout each year for years, so I can do a little slideshow of them growing up once they’re older. Both kids agreed this year that I can ride in the back and rile up the Grandkids when they’re piloting their own family trucksters in the future. Win.
- Go to Papa Goats! I know there are many tree farms in and near Sparta, and I’m sure there are many good ones. I can only speak of this one though, and we’ve never had any reason to go to another. This is a family day and I do work hard to find family-friendly places to take my kids. Big fire outside to roast marshmallows over? Check. Free hot chocolate? Check. Hot apple cider? Check. Little gift shop? Check. Photo op with Santa? Check. Hay rack rides to and from the tree fields? Check. Lots of friendly help to assist you in finding, wrapping, and securing atop your car just the right tree? Check.
- But here’s the big thing- every single person we’ve come across in all the years we’ve been going to Papa Goats has always genuinely been happy to see us, and glad that we bring the family to visit every year. We’re not just valued customers, we’re also welcome. ‘Welcome’ is one of the top secret ingredients to all Holiday Fun that I’m happy to spill for anyone and everyone who might apply it to all their Holiday endeavors.
Even if you get home late because you stopped to clown around at various locations on your return trip home with your tree as we did, get that tree in the house right away! Our house smelled of fresh pine at bedtime last night. It’s another one of those things that opens up the bag of memories that welcome in the Holidays for us. And it’s a magic bag- when this kind of day trip story opens that bag of memories, that story also instantly becomes a memory that goes back in the bag when you tidy up from the Holidays in January. Holidays Welcome the Magic, and the Magic Welcomes the Holidays. And whatnot…
Papa Goats Tree Farm is located at 687 Three Creeks Lane, Sparta NC, 28675 and you can find them on facebook at the following link:
And there you have it- let the Holidays begin!
Cheers from The www.ThreeFiveZero.com Holidays