It’s no secret that I’m enamored with the oak trees here on St. Simons Island. Their old, gnarly limbs telling stories of centuries gone by. The Spanish moss that blows softly and elegantly in the wind as it protects their long kept secrets. The golden light that filters through moss and limbs to give them that dreamy and enchanting feeling that I love so much.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve found these trees to be as haunting as they are romantic, but I’m yet to photograph them in a way that does justice to the feeling they evoke. It’s that engulfing yet gentle way about them that I fail over and over again to capture in a snapshot, yet I continue to try as I spend much of my free time walking amongst them and seeking out new ways to soak in their mystery and splendor.
The Avenue of the Oaks is one such place where you’ll find a breathtaking row of these beauties, which surprisingly I visited for the first time only recently. It’s oddly located at what’s now the grand entrance of the Sea Island Golf Club, which used to be Retreat Plantation, one of the most prosperous cotton and rice plantations during the 1700s and 1800s. These trees were planted in 1826 by Anna Page King: a double row of 160, now nearly 200-year-old, live oak trees that will absolutely take your breath away.
The stunning Avenue of the Oaks IS on an active golf course, though, so plan your visit accordingly. I recommend exploring here on off days and off times – and off season if you have the choice. There isn’t much of an area to park and cars drive by on either side as they enter and exit the club, so remain aware because it’s easy to get lost in thought as you meander through this entrancing place.
📍 100 Retreat Avenue / Canary Drive (Canary Drive is the side of the road that leads to the club while Retreat Ave. is the side that leads away from the club, but these are the same place!)
🗓 Open year-round