|San Jacinto News-Times - Local News
Stories Added - November 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company
A family adventure: Tree farm offers more than trees
San Jacinto News- Times - November 2008
OAKHURST -- Mill Hollow Christmas tree farm east of Huntsville and near Lake Livingston has for nearly 25 years provided a family experience and lasting memories for thousands of Texas families and will be doing it again this year. “Mill Hollow is especially set up for families who want this annual traditional trek to be a memorable adventure. Several of our customers came to the farm as children and now share this experience with their own children,” said owner Marge Gunia. “Mill Hollow provides one with the opportunity to de-stress during these trying economic times by connecting with family and experiencing the relaxation of being in Nature.” The drive is through beautiful East Texas with the farm located in the very scenic and forested hills between Huntsville and Lake Livingston just off of US 190 on Palmetto Drive. On the country road, you will go over a bridge, through the woods and up a forested steep hill until a Christmas tree farm nestled in the woods opens up before you. This is Mill Hollow Christmas Tree Farm. You will be greeted, given a map of the farm and its various attractions, a saw and a measuring pole. The family is now off to fi nd that special family Christmas tree in the hollows surrounding the hill. After the tree has been found, cut, cleaned and baled, it is time to explore. Where is that tree house? In one of the Christmas tree fi elds, you will fi nd stairs leading up to a real tree house nearly unseen in this old pin oak tree. From the tree house, you will see a huge 100-year-old majestic oak tree laid fl at by Hurricane Ike. On top of the hill near a fl uttering Texas fl ag, you see a haystack. Time to enjoy the feel and smell of fresh hay. Nearby Jude, the petting dog, is trying to get your attention by tossing a can. He needs some love and a scratch or two behind the ears. What is this? A hand operated water pump for pumping water. All you have to do is go up and down on the handle and water comes out. The smell from the wood log fi re reminds one of a simpler time. Several people are sitting on the surrounding benches and enjoying the crackle and dancing fl ames of the fi re and some are even roasting marshmallows. Nearby, very young children are crawling, climbing and just playing “make believe” in a log cabin playhouse. A hayride is getting ready to leave for a relaxing ride around the Christmas trees. For the children, they will learn about the “creepy and crawly things” who call these East Texas woods home. You will also find out why Mill Hollow Christmas tree is helping customers reduce global warming. If that growl is in your stomach and not one of the many wild animals in the adjacent forests, it is time to eat. The hot dogs are free but you must roast them yourself on a charcoal fire to the right degree of crispness. Free potato chips and beans round off this meal. Soft drinks, marshmallows and other comfort foods are also available to purchase. A full tummy means time for exercise. First, a very popular contest of seeing who can roll a tire the farthest past the log fire, past the port-a- potties and into the woods.
The winner of this family contest is lost in the excitement of the tire roll but sure to be debated on the ride home. Now it is time to try out a real tree swing on the huge old oak tree. Nearby, you can explore Spooky Hollow Trail, cross the running creek and follow the trail to the grassland labyrinths and maze. Labyrinths are rumored to relax you. The maze will test your navigational skills. The trail continues through the forest hills to a fallen dam from over 100 years ago with trail signs to tell you about a once thriving sawmill town which has now vanished and has been reclaimed by the forest. Along the trail, you find and check out the underground spring, the blue bat and the ever popular shoo tree. The farm opens Thanksgiving Friday, Saturday and Sunday and will be open only on weekends until Sunday, Dec. 21. “We do have a special event for those who want to do the Christmas tree hunt differently. On Friday, December 5, from 3 till 8 p.m., you can find your tree at dusk or even in the dark. We call it our Moonlight Adventure. This does require an RSVP, a flashlight and is held only if weather permits. The farm is also available for groups and family reunions.