While on a BFF trip to Charleston SC to celebrate a friend’s birthday, we decided to visit a landmark that was touted as a “must see”. It was free, a beautiful tree and near where we were staying so we ventured out.
Here is the tree:
I don’t want to sound entitled, but I was not sure why this tree has been visited by so many people. I did find it on multiple travel sites that touted, “It is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting Charleston South Carolina. It is on everyone’s top ten list of things to do in Charleston. ” It was also called “The most beautiful tree in the world”. Any tree in our world that lives 300+ years is indeed a wonder and should be spared and admired. However, after driving to this site, hunting down parking, walking to the tree and seeing ZERO signs about its history or anything marking this as a place of interest, finding no one around the tree who were answering questions made me scratch my head.
There was a shack with souvenirs and maybe there was some information inside, but we decided it was not something we were interested in exploring. So, we stood under its glory, snapped some photos and left. There were indeed many people there. Some were in awe and some were looking around to see what the fuss was about. I am someone that is moved my nature and have looked upon old trees with fascination but there was some really strong tourist “trap” vibe going on here, so I was very distracted.
When I returned home and did more research it seems that it is simply a “tourist attraction”. Yes, the tree is indeed huge and real. No one seems to be sure of its age. If you Google it, you will see the estimated age to be 300 years to 1500 years depending on whom you consider to be “experts”. It had been damaged previously, and there are attempts to keep the limbs from breaking.
The official site has very little information:
It took some digging to find more information, but again, it was piecemeal. In the end, I learned it is owned by Charleston even though it’s really not in Charleston SC – it’s on John’s Island, it was privately owned in the beginning and the name comes from the last name of some dude that owned the land. There are some stories that it is haunted but even that was not that interesting.
It’s. A. Tree. Even for a nature loving tree hugger like me, it just was confusing and strange why so much hype surrounded it. So yeah, if you are in the area and you are bored, have a look. But I would not make it a center point of a drive or a visit to the area. It almost felt like The Emperor’s New Clothes type thing – like everyone ooh’d and ahh’d because that is what you were supposed to do. So yes, impressively huge tree but not sure if it is worth a lot of time.