CANNON FALLS AND ENVIRONS
At Hampton Hills Farm in Cannon Falls, Minn., you can cut your own Fraser fir, balsam fir or scotch pine. Hampton Hills also offers free horse-drawn hayrides and visits with Santa (998 310th St. Way; 1-763-753-4595; www.cutyourown.com).
Where to sleep: The Archer House in Northfield (about 12 miles distant) has been hosting guests since 1877. The inn has 36 rooms; many are decorated with antiques. Rates range from $79 to $169 (212 Division St.; 1-507-645-5661; www.archerhouse.com).
Where to eat: In Dundas (which abuts Northfield), Fermentations has an extensive wine list and serves anything from duck crepes to butternut squash lasagna to pumpkin cheesecake (236 N. Railway St.; 1-507-645-8345; www.fermentations-bistro.com).
Where to shop: Division Street in Northfield has lots of interesting shops, including Digs, a bonanza for knitters, sewers and home interior lovers (310 Division St.; 1-507-664-9140; www.shopdigs.com).
STILLWATER AND ENVIRONS
In Somerset, Wis., St. Croix Valley Trees offers both cut-your-own and precut balsam firs, Fraser firs, spruce, white pines and Norway pines. The gift shop sells ornaments and other holiday items. Other attractions include hayrides and straw tunnels that kids can play in (458 Rice Lake Road; 1-715-247-5500; www.stcroixvalleytrees. com).
Where to sleep: On the Minnesota side of the St. Croix, 11 miles from Somerset in Stillwater, the Outing Lodge at Pine Point sits in a 360-acre park with groomed cross-country ski trails. The nine guest rooms and suites range from $115 to $245 (11661 Myeron Road; 651-439-9747; www.outinglodge.com).
Where to eat: Often heralded as the best wine bar in the Twin Cities area, the very charming Cesare's Wine Bar in Stillwater has one of the state's best wine lists and appetizers and main courses that pair well with their vintages (102 S. 2nd St.; 651-439-1352; www.cesareswine.com).
Where to shop: You can take care of much of your holiday shopping on Stillwater's Main Street. One standout is the Chef's Gallery, a kitchen and dinnerware store with an unrivaled selection of cookware, utensils, gadgets and gourmet food items (324 S. Main St.; 651-351-1144; www.the chefsgallery.com.)