Special Christmas Shopping in the Skylands

Has the hectic holiday season got you hopping and shopping all around town, again? Why not make a relaxing trip to the country part of your annual Christmas tradition? Spend an enjoyable day with your family in scenic Warren County and restore a sense of peace, while filling your senses with joyful pleasures and good tidings you can enjoy all season long.
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Nestled between Rt. 80 on the north and Rt. 78 on the south, are some of the state's most nostalgic farmsteads just yearning to share some Christmas cheer with you. A winsome journey along Rt. 519 will take you to some of the most refreshing holiday destinations in the state. Here's but a sampling of what you can savor while traveling southward.

Tantalize your taste buds at Four Sisters Winery. There's nothing like a holiday toast with one of the many fruit wines made from grapes and apples grown right here on this 250-acre farm. So plan a trip back to sample these special wines and join us for one of our grape-stomping parties. Pick up a schedule of events while there and ask about the Christmas in the Country promotion.You could receive a gift during your travels!

Further south, you will have to stop at the blinking light. To your right is Hensler Farms, formerly known as Crossroads Farm. Enchanting, hand-made wreaths and greens are prepared inside. Known for their fragrance and beauty, displaying these treasures on your home or business will welcome visitors throughout the entire season. Just down the road a piece is Mackey's Orchard; look for the big apple on the left. Have a bite to eat and restore your energy further. After some home-made soup, bread, and fresh-pressed cider, you won't be able to choose just one dessert. You will be tempted by apple turnovers, dumplings, cake and apple crisp. Undoubtedly, you will need to take one or more of the fresh-baked pies home. You'll have to decide between apple, cherry, blueberry, peach praline, pineapple- upside-down, apple walnut and very berry. As you think about who to invite over for some pie later, pick up another gift for them and you as well.

Across the street, a stones-throw away is the Gro-Rite Greenhouse Garden Center. Their vibrant poinsettias are always a pleasant addition to anyone's house this time of year. During the warmer months, Gro-Rite can also provide many of your gardening and landscaping needs. Your new-found energy will come in handy as you make your way just a bit further to the Wyckoff's Christmas Tree Farm on the left. For more than 45 years, this eight-generation farm has created life-long memories for many families as they make their annual trek to the hilltop to find and cut their family tree among the thousands of trees available on this 172-acre farm.

Visit Perfect Christmas Tree Farm on Rt. 22 in Phillipsburg. The whole tree selection experience is conveniently streamlined for you as they will prepare the tree for easy transport, display and care at home. To recycle your tree, return in January to the farm, which holds an annual Tree Chip Day celebration. The day includes plenty of other activities. Make it a Green Christmas this year!

Continuing south on Rt. 519, you may find that perfect centerpiece, cemetery blanket or log box at Clucas Farms West. Better yet, you may want to custom order for an added personal touch. A pleasant change from the mass production look of the large stores, friendly and helpful faces create refreshing choices for your holiday needs. Once your tree and other decorations are ready to go, you probably will be as well.

Traveling the bucolic hills of Harmony Township will eventually lead you back toward suburbia near Rt. 22 that leads to Rt. 78. If you're not ready to end your Christmas in the country just yet, continue further south on Rt. 519, then to Rt. 627 south, to Villa Milagro Vineyards. Your journey began with one winery; it can end with a second one. This vineyard is noted for having numerous green practices. If the weather outside is frightful, you may have the opportunity to learn how to take advantage of rainwater during a rain-barrel workshop at the winery, in addition to sampling some of their superb blends. Consider making this an annual tradition for you and your family. As you head home, your senses will thank you all the way.

For more ideas on exploring northwest New Jersey visit Highlands Tourism.