Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Rocks Estate is for the birds – and bear and deer and…

Bluebird atop a Christmas tree

We’re best known at The Rocks for growing Christmas trees, but there’s more to the property than neat rows of fir trees lining the fields. With some 1,400 acres of managed farm and forest lands, The Rocks is home to countless wildlife species, including turkey, bear, deer, and an array of songbirds and raptors who nest here or simply pass through seasonally.

Northern Goshawk
Earlier this week we were visited by a flock of bluebirds, who perched in the Christmas trees, pretty as any ornament. Killdeer are summer nesters in our fields. After we mow the fields to keep the grass low between our trees, we often see Northern Goshawks and Kestrels, which both assist our Christmas tree cultivation efforts by hunting voles, which can damage and kill trees by eating the roots and bark.

With trails through open fields and woods, The Rocks is a popular place for birders. So, if you’re coming to one of our tag-your-own tree weekends this fall, or simply looking for a pretty place to explore amid the blaze of fall color, bring your binoculars along. You might see something unexpected!

The Rocks Estate is the North Country Conservation & Education Center for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tag-Your-Own Christmas tree at The Rocks Estate – and make it gaudy!

Dig out the Christmas tree decorations… tag-your-own tree season opens at The Rocks Estate this weekend! And with the varied colors of fall foliage popping, there’s no more beautiful time to visit the farm – and get a jump start on the holiday season.

The Rocks will be open for tag-your-own weekends from September 22nd through October 22nd. During that time, the two holiday shops at The Rocks will also be open, as will the extensive trails system on the property and self-guided tours of the interactive New Hampshire Maple Experience. As always, leashed pets are welcome to accompany their humans at The Rocks.

Tag-your-own tree seekers are encouraged to select a tree in the field and decorate it in their own unique style using ornaments, ribbons, and whatever else it takes to distinguish that tree as their own. The showier, the better – and easier to find come cutting time. Customers should return after the farm opens for the season, between November 17th and December 24th, to cut and pay for their tagged Christmas tree. 

To celebrate tag-your-own season, The Rocks is inviting customers to participate in a “Gaudiest Tree” contest on Facebook by posting a photo of their tagged tree to The Rocks Estate’s Facebook page. The tree with the most “likes” will be presented to that customer free of charge. Visit The Rocks Facebook page for details. 

The Marketplace at The Rocks and the farm store will both be open during tag-your-own weekends. The Marketplace features an array of goods from various New England artisans, as well as Fair Trade items, from pet goods and ornaments to jewelry and home goods. The Rocks farm store is filled with local maple syrup, along with jams and jellies, Rocks t-shirts and mugs, ornaments and decorations.

Whether you’re looking for your perfect tree, hoping to get an early start to your holiday shopping, or just want to enjoy the kaleidoscope of autumn colors and surrounding mountain vistas, we hope to see you at The Rocks this fall!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The maple’s gift to autumn: crisp color

The springtime gift of the sugar maple tree is the sap used to make maple syrup and sugar. In autumn, the sugar maple offers another gift: crisp color that stretches from golden yellow to brilliant red and paints the hillsides like a calico quilt.

There is, perhaps, no more splendid time to visit The Rocks Estate and the New Hampshire Maple Experience than during the color explosion of autumn. The Maple Museum is open through Columbus Day for self-guided tours that will bring visitors into a landscape of color to the museum and sugar house, contained in one of many carefully restored historic buildings at The Rocks.

Guided maple tours are also available to bus groups and those looking for a personalized experiential tour

As always, our trails are open daily, from dawn to dusk, for visitors to meander and explore. Smart phone users may enjoy the Mobile Tour of The Rocks Estate, which uses QR codes to share the property’s history, modern day forest conservation and management efforts, and information about the varieties of Christmas trees grown on the farm.

Speaking of Christmas trees… tag-your-own Christmas tree season runs weekends at The Rocks from September 22nd - October 22nd. Take in the fall foliage as you search for and mark your own perfect Christmas tree, which you’ll be able to collect and pay for beginning November 17th, when The Rocks officially opens for the Christmas tree season. The two holiday shops will also be open at The Rocks during tag-your-own weekends.

So, whether you want to get an early start on your holiday shopping, are interested in learning more about the age-old tradition of maple sugaring, or just want to take in the unbeatable scenery of The Rocks Estate in autumn, we hope you’ll visit us this season!