It reaches out its arms in all directions, seemingly wanting to spread its being to the farthest corners of this estate. These branches are magnificent, and this tree is almost as tall as the tales told about it. But at 65 feet, the height of this tree isn’t what first catches your attention: the span of its branches are the most impressive thing about the Angel Oak.
There are those who say this tree is over 1,500 years old; however, there doesn’t seem to be any agreement anywhere about how old the tree actually is. According to the signs placed around it, as well as the website for the park, an age of 500 years is more likely. Regardless of how old the tree actually is, it is nevertheless impressive. And it is beautiful. This tree has inspired many works of art, and many people deserve credit for the amount of work that went into recognizing that this tree and surrounding areas deserve protection.
The park on which this tree stands is a busy place. People come from miles around to see this gorgeous, far-reaching tree, and supervisors ensure that visitors are gentle. You can hug parts of the tree, you can touch its giant boughs, and you can even kiss the tree, but hold tight to your little ones: running under the tree, attempting to climb it, or stepping on its exposed roots will earn you some scolding.
Our kids were not as interested in the tree as they were in running around on the grounds off to the side, so Daniel took them back to the RV to give me a chance to have a minute with this beauty (I had been on a work call when the kids and Daniel first arrived at the tree site). If you’re visiting Charleston, St. John’s Island isn’t too far away, and seeing this gorgeous tree is worth it.
After seeing the beautiful Angel Oak, we head to the Charleston Tea Plantation (also on St. Jonn’s Island).
I love drinking tea, yet don’t know how tea is produced. Coming here will be as much of a learning experience for me as for the children. The Charleston Tea Plantation provides a video tour of its facility, where you can learn how they grow and process tea leaves to create the American Classic Tea, the only tea grown and produced in North America.
We are greeted by a friendly smile and an invitation to try as many of the available teas as we would like. We try several types, as do the kids. Perhaps they’ve had a bit too much caffeine, but no matter—they burn it off by running around the farm chanting, “tea, tea, we love tea!”
A better day could not have been ordered: The sky is a gorgeous blue, and the grounds are a beauty to behold. After learning how tea leaves are harvested and processed, looking at these tea bushes that go on for miles is a more meaningful experience. The tea factory tour is free, and there is plenty of complementary tea on hand at the store. For those who like to collect tea-related novelty, there are plenty of neat-looking tea pots, mugs, and more.
If Charleston is on your “I’d like to visit some day list,” it’s worth adding St. John’s Island to your itinerary. Both the angel oak and the Charleston Tea Plantation offer unique experiences that are worth your while, just a short drive away from beautiful Charleston, South Carolina.