CROSSNORE — There is a hole over Crossnore where the big Christmas tree’s top seemed to brush the sky.
As a giant chainsaw cut into the quiet, the 50-foot-tall tree, planted 20 years ago by the Crossnore Enhancement Committee, was braced from the top by a huge crane, and slowly, slowly the trunk was split in two and the tree hung from the crane’s cable, waiting to be bound for the trip to the Biltmore House in Asheville.
The tree had been planted by CCE members Clotta Smith and Ann Baker to be a Christmas tree for the village of Crossnore the year that CCE was founded, but, alas, the tree had grown too close to power pole and electrical wiring and had become too difficult to decorate the last few years because of its height.
So the committee agreed it should be sold. Greg Andrews, who provides Christmas trees for the Biltmore House, offered to buy the tree.
On the day of the cutting, Friday, Oct. 18, Andrews masterfully set up to take down the tree and carefully loaded it on his flatbed truck for the journey. George, his father, who’s been in landscaping here in Avery County for 50 years, was on hand to supervise and Greg’s niece, Mekaylah Brookshire, helped her uncle steady the tree’s weight transferring it to the truck.
The tree has left Crossnore to be displayed in the front of the house that George Vanderbilt opened for the first time with a party on Christmas Eve, 1885. It is now the No. 2 tourist attraction in North Carolina behind the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Crossnore Christmas tree will welcome the Biltmore visitors during the Christmas season.
Meanwhile, Clotta and Ann, who were there to document the cut, have already talked to Greg Andrews to bring a 12-foot tree to plant near the same site for Crossnore’s new Christmas tree. The check from the tree sale will go toward future work for CCE’s projects to make Crossnore a better place to live, and the new tree will be decorated for this year’s annual Crossnore Christmas Party, held in mid-December. Everyone is invited to attend.