OUT OF BUSINESS FOR 2018
My Iron Bowl experience was a bit different this year; I enjoyed an uncharacteristically relaxing day at a tree farm with my 17 month old son and my cousin. If you’re looking for a beautiful and unique Santa picture with no waiting lines or packages to buy, this is definitely the place to visit. But the farm has much more to offer!
Thornhill Tree Farm is located in Pisgah, about 20 minutes east of Scottsboro. Driving from Huntsville, the trip took a bit over an hour. Our GPS directed us to the right spot, but we still didn’t see the entrance until passing back and forth a few times. For a landmark note: you will see a beautiful southern-style white house with columns, a small sign that reads Thornhill Tree Farm, and a candy-cane lined driveway to the gift and snack shop.
Driving into the farm, we stopped at the entry station/ticket booth and were greeted by a friendly soul who explained everything. That was great because this was our first time to the farm. Choosing from among all the options, we decided to eat. All three of us strongly believe that a snack is always a good way to start.
The Tree House
At the entrance stands an inviting and cozy house where you can sip free hot cider or hot chocolate. On the day we visited, this treat was most welcome. Remember it is cooler and breezier on the mountain.
My favorite activity in the Tree House was perusing and sampling Ms. Joy’s incredible sweet treats. She is a warm and gregarious K-8 teacher who also makes melt-in-your-mouth goodies. We ate a caramel pecan cupcake right away and packaged more for the road – banana pudding and chocolate peanut butter cupcakes as well as frosted brownies.
As we visited with Joy we learned that this is truly a family farm. Joy and her husband started the farm in the 1970’s. After Mr. Thornhill’s passing last year, Joy continues to provide a backbone to the family business while continuing to teach. Her daughter and son-in-law now run the farm, and you will meet them all – friendly and happy to see you.
We sat in the warm house at picnic tables, chatting with other families and enjoying a tasty bowl of chili. There are a variety of snacks and sodas available for extremely reasonable prices. A face-painting station next to a large Christmas tree attracted the kids, like face-painting always does! A festive toymaker enchanted kids with stories about his collection of handmade metal toys, and parents bought his wares on a constant basis. In this atmosphere of Christmas music, trees, trinkets, and goodies, you can also purchase live wreaths and other seasonal gifts, or even learn to make your own. Call ahead to order custom wreaths and garlands in the sizes you need or simply select from a display of freshly made wreaths which smell heavenly. Take a deep breath!
We found Santa first, tucked away in an impressive stand of trees, alone with his giant bag and his candy canes.
Fun All Around
There is no entry fee to enjoy the farm, sip warm drinks, or visit and take pictures with Santa. Other fun activities are just $1 each, and you can purchase tickets at the entrance or when you visit the activity. We found Santa first, tucked away in an impressive stand of trees, alone with his giant bag and his candy canes. Although my youngster is still too shy to enjoy a Santa-sitting, we all shared a lot of laughs and made many pictures – mostly the kind that end up on “Awkward Christmas Photos” posts. The best part: take all the time you want because no one is rushing you and Santa is super patient and jolly!
Our next stop was the petting zoo, where my son could not stop laughing at a particularly hysterical goat. I love that kind of baby laugh which just doesn’t stop.
We spent a long time at the petting zoo playing with the animals and warming ourselves by the fire.
Kids can also take a gentle pony ride, jump and hide in a corn bin, and ride the Miss Joy, a 60 foot train built by Mr. Thornhill, that winds through the trees. Take advantage of hay rides and walking trails too, and you have a fun-packed excursion!
Facebook fans of Thornhill Tree Farm who post a picture of their decorated tree have a chance to win a tree for the 2015 Christmas season. A winner will be picked on December 20th. This page is updated regularly so check it out for more information and up to date details.
Don’t forget to bring a stroller for the little ones!
Cost: Free entry, cost of farm trees is $7 a foot, trees to plant after holiday are $10 a foot, pre-cuts are per current farm price and extras are separate
Location: 15107 AL Hwy 71, Pisgah, AL (map)
More Info: Website | Facebook
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rhonda Sandlin and her husband Jimmy moved to Huntsville in 2011 and adopted their beautiful boy last year. He has been a true blessing to everyone he meets and brings joy whatever the season. Rhonda is an instructor and life coach for adults with autism. She works with Journey Academy, a program of the Glenwood Autism and Behavioral Health Center. Located in 5 Points, Journey Academy is only a mile from their home, Jimmy’s office and Sam’s daycare – and that makes mama very happy.