Cutting Our Own Capital District Tree

We’ve got our Christmas tree. We cut our own at Bob’s Trees this year. This was a departure for us–we’ve been to Ellm’s Family Farm for the past two years. And we do like Ellm’s (here’s the post from last year). But last year the choices seemed a little sparse, so we thought that we’d venture out.

Bob’s is a farther drive away from us than Ellm’s, but not by much. Both places have lovely extras, like reindeer, Santa, and food to buy. All the cut-your-own trees cost $45, while at Ellm’s, prices vary by height, but they’re generally higher.  The selection at Bob’s was better, absolutely, but I’d also say that Bob’s was a bit more challenging. At Ellm’s, you park, and then ride on a trolley through the farm to get close to whatever bunch of trees that you like. They provide saws as well as little drag-your-tree-around carts. You bring your tree back to the trolley stop and the staff remove the trees and bundle them up for your convenience. At Bob’s, you drive in and park so that you’re somewhat closer to trees, but you’re likely to do some hiking in your hunt for the perfect tree. They provide saws, but no carts. So you walk back to your car carrying the tree, then you place your own tree onto the car. Really, you could get help by carrying or driving your tree down to the sort of “base camp” at the bottom of the hill, but that’s not super-convenient. Cute W and I agreed that at Bob’s, it felt more like you were tramping through the woods on your own looking for a tree, which feels more fun and authentic. But that’s because we don’t have little kids anymore. If I had toddlers or preschoolers, it might feel like a death march. And I’d definitely bring a red wagon.

J & M ponder our tree's worthiness.

Oh, but here’s one bittersweet custom that I appreciated at Bob’s. You can claim your tree early: people actually tagged their future Christmas tree and decorated it in some cases. Cross-country skiing is available, so you’re encouraged to scout out next year’s tree. And I say bittersweet because of course the pre-claimed trees were the most awesome trees around. We’d see one, head for it, and then notice that someone had already added tinsel. Dang.

If you’re thinking of cutting your own tree and need a little help on your tree hunt, you can check out the post I wrote last year on All Over Albany or the list available on


  1. Marianne Russell

    We went to Bob’s last year, and it was okay. But this year – went to Bailey’s Family Tree Farm and enjoyed it much more! We had a hard time picking two trees – there were so many beautiful trees! Two fields, one on either side of the street, with very nice maps, easy directions and even labeled fields – imagine that! The owners drive around and if you don’t want to drag your tree in, they will load it on their vehicle and drive it up for you! Then we took a short ride and ended our adventure with some yummy Ice Cream Man ice cream! Definitely a repeat plan for next year!

  2. NanaDeb

    HELP…it takes sooo long for these trees to grow! Could you please tell me WHAT the reasoning is of real vs fake? You can capture the smell w/ awesome pine scents! I think in todays economy it is a waste of money! And for our planet the life of a tree, wasted! I am the biggest Christmas lover for ALL reasons, but it hurts my heart to see so many trees chopped down for a moments pleasure. I am sure you have your reasons as to why you do this, as do I for not! Merry Christmas! 🙂

  3. Heather

    We did Bob’s a couple years ago. Could have used your post them-esp. the notice about having toddlers/preschoolers and a wagon. Jack still says he doesn’t want to go to the “bad” Christmas tree place! 🙁 It was a bad mix of cold temps, & bad timing by parents (not enough snacks in the car while waiting in the car line to pay),
    Maybe one day he’ll get over the trauma, we’ll be able to try it again!

  4. Michelle

    I love cutting down my own trees for Christmas for a lot of reasons. I love the tradition of it, of course. There’s something so fun about hunting down THE perfect tree and cutting it down yourself (or taking pictures while your husband cuts it down). But beyond that, I love that it supports sustainable agriculture and local farms. While I may be enjoying my tree for only a month, there are already new trees being planted in the very fields I cut my tree down from. As those trees grow, they are providing oxygen for us and animal homes (like the nest Katie found – was it last year?) I also know that my tree stayed in the ground until I cut it down – no chance of a bunch of unwanted trees being ‘wasted’ at a side of the road stand. And when I am done with my tree, it will be put outside to hang bird feeder pine cones on. And when THAT is done, it will be fire wood for my summer fire pit. Good to the last bit 🙂

    Katie – glad to hear you went to Bob’s! We got our tree there as well. Loved it!

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