The Rocks Christmas Tree Farm Kindles Nostalgia, Family Traditions

Long-time volunteers return to help host holiday guests

Dave Anderson | December 13, 2022
Sam Chase pauses outdoors during a sales day at The Rocks.

Sam Chase began volunteering at The Rocks in 1993. (Photo: Dave Anderson)

I recently headed back up north to the the land of the pointy firs during this holiday season, a comforting seaonal ritual and kind of a family tradition. 

Other families pursue similar rituals of picking out the family Christmas Tree and enjoying a horse-drawn wagon ride. 

This year, the wagons once again traversed the scenic open fields with ranks and rows of  "cut your own" Christmas trees and stunning views of the surrounding White Mountains. That iconic view at The Rocks includes the Pilot Range in Jefferson and the high snow-clad peaks of the majestic Presidential Range — from north to south: Mts Madison, Adams, Jefferson and Washington — to the north of The Rocks.

I met a few long-time Forest Society volunteers at The Rocks on the sunny, cold Saturday — blue skies, full sun, no wind and just before the first snowfall for much of NH on Sunday. Karen and Dennis Roselin have been cheerful volunteers at The Rocks, helping out at Christmastime during the busy tree sales weekends from Thanksgiving to mid-December for many years. I recognized both from Christmases past.

Wagon ride host extraordinarire, smiling Sam Chase began volunteering at The Rocks in 1993. He trained as a "Project Conserve" Docent helping to lead — among other programs — the maple sugaring season programs and tours and to host the horse-drawn wagon ride tours while sharing the history of the John Jacob Glessner family's land purchases and development of their hilltop summer estate in Bethlehem in the 1890's and early 1900's era.    

We reminisced and remembered a few names of former staff and volunteers from years gone by and enjoyed the camaraderie of shared experiences. 

It is fortunate that The Rocks continues to inspire long-term commitments and loyalty from a dedicated cadre of local North Country volunteers who return to The Rocks to help the Forest Society host education programs, bus tours and Christmas tree sales each year.

Three smiling wagon riders at The Rocks during Christmas
Three generations find a Christmas tree at The Rocks. (Photo: Dave Anderson, right)

This year, my son, Cody, and grandson, Ivan, joined me for a day outdoors exploring the fields of trees, having a picnic lunch together and finding a few very large rocks in the open fields to scramble up. Large rocks? Go figure. 

I spent most of my day helping to bale-up Christmas trees for families before they began their journey home with trees from the fields at The Rocks.

I recalled bringing my son and his older sister 20 years agoto help Forest Society guests out in the fields with hand saws and helping to point out areas to find a perfect family Christmas Tree. At that time, I had helped host wagon rides to share the history of the property. 

This year, I was accompanied not only by my son, but also grandson for the first time!

By mid-afternoon, we wandered the fields and cut our own tree and hauled it back toward the historic Carriage Barn now under renovation as part of the Forest Society North project at The Rocks.

We caught the very last wagon ride of the day with volunteer Sam Chase and a few other visitors while the Belgian horses pulled the creaking wooden wagon driven by Orford, NH, Teamster Bruce Streeter — another long time personality and fixture of holiday traditions at The Rocks.