Boyd family continues over 100 year family historical farm on Jonathan Creek
Entertaining locals, visitors searching for perfect tree — When Dan Boyd, along with his wife Betsy, son David, and 7-year-old grandson Bryce geared up for a busy first-of-December weekend of selling Frasier fir Christmas trees off of Boyd Mountain, their historical family farm in Jonathan Creek, they were surprised yet delighted to see a highly unusual vehicle pull up on the mountain.
They thought they had seen everything – until this day.
“We looked up and saw a van that had a sign on it that read, ‘Hunt for the perfect Christmas tree!’” said Betsy Boyd. “When that van pulled up, ten friends from Knoxville and Atlanta piled out of there with tacky and fun Christmas sweaters and hats on.”
This happy-go-lucky, 50ish crowd was ready for a fun Christmas experience of choosing and cutting their own tree and had carved out a whole day for the bonding event.
On the way up the farm driveway, they learned much of the rich history of Boyd Mountain, which has been in the Boyd family over 100 years, when they passed the white home place of Dan Boyd’s grandparents, David J. and Kate Moody Boyd, who built the house in the early 1900s and raised nine children there. The Boyd family originally raised cattle and grew tobacco, corn, and potatoes. David Boyd, fondly known as “Tater Dave,” lived to be 100. Their oldest son, Dock Boyd, was the father of Dan Boyd who is the present owner of 130 acres which includes the tree farm and authentic, restored cabin rentals.
The traveling buddies were highly interested to hear that Dan and Betsy were not always tree farmers. In fact, when they originally met in Richmond, Va., Betsy was a school librarian while Dan was a dental student.
“I never will forget the day the local Avon lady asked me and my roommate, ‘Do you want to meet some dental students?’” recalled Betsy Boyd.
After the two went out on that first blind date arranged by the Avon lady, they were inseparable and married in 1970 before moving back to Haywood County in 1972, and then built a house on Boyd Mountain in 1974. While Dan practiced dentistry on Hazel St. in Waynesville, Betsy raised their two children, David and Mary Alice.
They planted their first Frasier fir Christmas trees in 1984, then began their antique cabin rentals in 1989. “I never will forget it took 7 years for those first trees to grow and the first tree we cut from the field was about 6 feet tall,” fondly recalled Betsy Boyd. “I was so proud of that tree that I just changed the Christmas decorations to Valentine’s Day and Easter and kept it up till April!”
In 1994, Dan retired from his dental practice in Waynesville and began working full-time on the farm, including starting the “Choose and Cut” facet of the farm in 1999.
While the fun van-bunch chose and cut their own trees, they also loved watching the kids and their parents cut their perfect tree with a saw. One of those kids was 11-year-old Taylor Nicholson. “Taylor was so excited when he first cut down the tree that he yelled, “Timber!” said his father, Darren Nicholson, mandolin player for local bluegrass band Balsam Range, who enjoys helping out on the tree farm.
Afterwards, the friends meandered around the farm for even more fun. “The whole flavor of the place is not just cutting a tree, but it’s the whole experience,” added Darren Nicholson.
They looked around the shop featuring gorgeous traditional wreaths and mailbox covers as well as cross and candy cane wreaths. Families often play around the pond and watch the fish, play badminton and corn hole games, eat a picnic lunch, take Christmas card pictures, enjoy free refreshments of hot chocolate, coffee, apple cider, cookies and toffee, and, of course, get their picture made with Santa.
“We probably had 5000 people here Thanksgiving weekend,” said Betsy Boyd, adding that many customers book a cabin for Thanksgiving weekend, and then leave with their tree.
“It’s a good feeling to watch a family drinking their hot chocolate while their tree is strapped on their car roof,” noted Darren Nicholson.
The group strolled the farm along with hundreds of customers – people like Caroline Snellings, her husband Jesse, 4-year-old son Jack, 2-year-old son Grant and 1-month old baby Ethan from Burlington, N.C. who found Boyd Mountain after googling “Christmas trees” online. “We were coming back from riding the Polar Express train in Bryson City and Jack kept saying, ‘When are we going to get our Christmas tree?’ and we ended up loving the whole thing,” said Caroline Snellings.
Mark Jones, another customer who just moved from Raleigh to Sheepback Mountain Road in Maggie Valley in April, found the farm by following the colorful road signs. “It’s my first Christmas in the mountains and I just had to have a real mountain tree!” said Jones.
When the group of friends piled back into their rented van and headed back down the mountain, they were all smiles. “When they left they had a Christmas tree strapped to the top of their van and one coming out the side of the van and they were all smiling and waving and excited,” said Betsy Boyd.
“That’s my favorite part about this farm – seeing people so happy this time of year,” she added.
To contact the Boyd family, call 926-8888.