The Avenue of Oaks is a beautiful oak lined drive that leads visitors straight into Boone Hall Plantation near Charleston, SC. Beautiful is an understatement as the Avenue of Oaks is not only beautiful, but historic, a reminder of a time long gone, and unique. Boone Hall is known for many things; history, beautiful grounds, famous horses, farming, their preserved brick slave quarters, and the Avenue of Oaks.
For years people told me I should visit the plantation. Being a history teacher, loving history, and loving travel, I figured they would be right so I went. And I loved it…but not for what I thought. I thought I’d love the house tour or the fact that parts of one of my favorite movies, The Notebook, was filmed there. I thought I’d love the famous slave quarters that people talked about often, but no. I enjoyed those things a lot, but something else took my breath away.
That something that surprised me the most was the Avenue of Oaks – the plantation’s driveway.
The canopy of moss created by the historic trees takes visitors back in time, back to a place where there were no cars, no masses of people visiting the home, and no movies being filmed there. As I drove slowly through the oaks, I felt like I hardly had to imagine the past to see it.
I passed tree after tree after tree, all perfectly spaced and placed.
If those trees could tell their story! They’ve seen many things, from famous visitors, to the Boone family’s comings and goings, to the slaves that lived nearby, to the house parties, and extravagant gowns. They no doubt had seen the good memories and those dark memories, the deaths, storms, slavery, and hidden histories.
The trees in the Avenue of Oaks, now over 300 years old, are still strong and thriving. They are home to many birds and things that climb. Together they withstand storms and wind as their roots have stretched out and intermingled with each other. As their roots are within the ground, so are their branches above, crossed over, connected, and supporting.
Near the end of my time at Boone Hall Plantation, I walked the path to see a grave that was among the trees.
As I walked in the shadow of the oaks, I was taken aback by their grand size. Their majestic height and massive branches were a testament to their age. The oaks are older than the United States. Guys — those trees are OLDER THAN THE COUNTRY! Wow. They have seen everything.
If you go to Boone Hall Plantation to see the Avenue of Oaks, realize you are walking in the same shadows that history was made in and the same shadows that slaves worked in.
Have you seen the Avenue of Oaks?
*This is the first post in the Charleston Plantations series that I am doing. Keep on the lookout for more information about Boone Hall Plantation, Middleton Place, Magnolia Plantation, and Drayton Hall.
Boone Hall’s official website.