by Meghan Collins from HRM Parent
For the fifteen years that I've lived in Nova Scotia, my family and I have travelled up the south shore to Mahone Bay and then inland on a bumpy little road to the Ernst Christmas tree farm to cut down the family tree.
It's a wonderful place, lots of room for hiking around and exploring, but so full of perfect trees that you could literally jump out of your vehicle and grab the nearest tree. This year my four-year-old was thrilled to be allowed to help saw the tree down, he was so proud of himself! If you don't feel the need to bring your own saw you can have them cut yours down after selecting it and they'll even help you tie it on the car.
It's a family run operation and I'm always happy to see them continuing to do well year after year. They always give my son a small tree for his room (and this year one for his classroom) and make a big production of sending the tree through the wrapping machine.
Normally we have a colossal family battle on our hands when it comes to selecting THE PERFECT family tree. Some want a skinny one, some a fuller one, some want the tip to be crushed against the living room ceiling, some would like the tree to have some breathing room. The hunt always culminates in various family members staked out next to their version of the perfect tree while screaming over to the others that theirs is perfect and would Dad just bring the saw over and cut it down already! This year was strangely anti-climactic and we all agreed rather easily. We started the drive into town in near silence, each secretly displeased at how easy it had all been.
We always go straight back to Mahone Bay to the Mug and Anchor and warm ourselves by the toasty fire with a drink and their famous zucchini sticks and curry dip, yum! One year they were selfishly having their Christmas party the day we'd chosen for our tree trip and we were horrified to find we had to go somewhere else! Never fear though, there are plenty of other great kid-friendly spots to stop for a bite.
The whole town is done up like a winter wonderland and there are plenty of great shops to finish up any shopping you might have. What better way to return home with the kid(s) fast asleep in the car, full tummies, rosy cheeks and sap sticky hands clutching a small fir branch?
Ernst Tree Farm
659 Sleepy Hollow Road RR2
Coming in to Mahone Bay, look for the sign and turn right at Bayview Cemetery and follow signs. Approx 12km up the Woodstock Road between Mahone Bay and Walden.
Open: Friday, Sat., and Sun, 9am-4:30 from December 1 to 19. Cash only.