By setting out to provide visitors with one of the most beloved Christmas traditions, Anthony Gallo Nurseries has practically become a tradition in itself—the Christmas tree farm has spent more than a century decking homes with the holiday’s decorative centerpiece. At the nursery, tree-seekers peruse a lineup of firs hand-picked from Gallo’s tree farm, including Fraser firs, a modern-day favorite seen in many American homes including the White House, and Balsam firs, a classic choice known for filling spaces with their festive aroma. In addition to trees, the nursery offers mixed garlands and florist-designed wreaths sprinkled with colorful berries, handmade bows, and tiny cameras that stream footage to Santa's behavior-analysis department.
On the 15-acre parcel of countryside dubbed Winding Hill Riding Club & Show Stables, head instructor and trainer Christy Alexander-Van Eron coaches both horses and humans to become safe and successful competitors. She uses the facilities––including more than 40 paddocks, a pair of outdoor rings, and a large indoor arena renovated with new footing––to accomplish this task, which, in a way, has always been her life's work. Currently a Red Cross- and Horsemanship Safety Association-certified instructor, she's been riding since the age of five and has long been competing at a high level, including showing with hunters and jumpers throughout college. Over her career, she whittled instruction down to three key necessities to producing successful riders: riding for pleasure, competition, or sugar cubes.
The definition for “raw beauty” may be found in Chelsea at Libra Leather, a 12,000 square-foot leather fashion house, the largest in the city. Operated by the Alfus family since 1977, the company houses about 100 European tanneries under its roof and supplies designers and celebrities like Alexander Wang, Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, Lady GaGa and Prince. In addition to coloring, cutting, perforating, stretching and distressing of skins, Libra also sells finished products such as handbags, vintage clothing, pillows, rugs, throws and leather-bound journals. Even if not actually shopping, the warehouse-sized space creates enough magical ambience with its combination of textiles, metalwork, antiques, drapery and statuary to earn a visit.
Nestled in a renovated coal barn from the 1920s, Village Gardens of Brightwaters welcomes visitors with its quaint cedar-wood interior, and lofty ceiling beams overlook myriad garden tools, decorations, and plants. Outside the building, the bright blooms of perennials and annuals soak up sunlight, the fragrance of herbs fills the air, and verdant shrubs beckon gardeners who’ve had their thumbs tattooed green. In addition to root-bearing loot, customers head home with bags of mulch and topsoil for spreading over the graves of accidentally ripped paper dolls. Elegant statues and birdbaths further personalize gardens, and custom wreaths twine together silk flowers, fruit, birds, and berries for creations that brighten front doors or the necks of prize-winning rocking horses.
When working with the certified lawn technicians at Whole Lawns, homeowners never have to worry about their grass soaking up the hazardous lawn-care chemicals of old. Eschewing those practices completely, the team achieves verdant pastures by spritzing yardscapes with organic, eco-friendly products. They keep themselves accountable to this practice by listing every ingredient on their detailed product labels, whether they’re controlling pests or feeding grass roots with organic nutrients.