Christmas tree permits went on sale in Plumas County on the first day of November…. who knew? We usually try to get our tree the day after Thanksgiving, I had no idea people from all over came to our neck of the woods (literally our neck of the woods) to cut trees.
When the kids were little and we lived in San Jose we always went to the Christmas Tree farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains to get our tree, then, when we moved to Quincy, we were so excited about actually going out into the forest to get a tree. Boy can I tell you stories about those adventures! Then of course there was the year we opened the cafe three days before Christmas…. that was the year my kids will have to go counseling for; we were a little busy that year and so on Christmas Eve we went out into the front yard and chopped one down. Although not every year can be described as a “Norman Rockwell” Christmas experience, we have great memories of cutting our tree down and strapping it to the car.
One of my best Christmas memories growing up is the year my family decided to pack all our Christmas presents up and rent a cabin at Northstar for Christmas. We cut a tree on the way and took it up with us. On Christmas day we skied the whole day and opened presents that night. With the high price of ski lift tickets and cabins in Tahoe, who could do that anymore and afford Christmas presents on top of it? But, here in Plumas County there is an abundance of affordable winter activities ranging anywhere from sledding to cross country skiing, there’s even longboard and sled dog racing or ice skating on a frozen pond. Check out the Plumas County Visitor’s guide to winter activities.
If an old fashioned, small town Christmas experience is what you are looking for, plan a trip to Quincy the first weekend in December. The annual “Sparkle” is held the first Friday. All the stores on Main Street stay open late, many serving holiday goodies, then it seems the whole town lines the street to watch the light parade and then Christmas Carols are sung on the steps to the Courthouse followed by the tree lighting.
Christmas tree permits are ten bucks, a peppermint hot chocolate for the drive and lunch at the Alley Cat Cafe in Quincy, which is all decked out for the Holidays, and you have a full day’s fun at a reasonable price. If you’re looking for a weekend retreat from the big city, bring snow shoes and hike the endless trails for free; with no lift lines. Stay at Ada’s Place or the Courtyard Suites for an in town experience or a cabin at Bucks Lake if you’re feeling more adventurous.
As I write this, I’m watching the first flakes of snow fall, soon the lawn at the Courthouse will be white and people will either cuddle up to a nice fire or go out into it to enjoy the crisp air.
I’m not saying life in the mountains is perfect….. but it sure is close.