Travel Destination: Angel Oak Tree in Charleston, South Carolina



Personal Experience:

What would go through your mind experiencing everything throughout the ages. Wars and struggles with small glimpses of peace dotted throughout.

Over a period of hundreds of years. Wait, what?

Yeah, it certainly makes one think, doesn't it? At least I thought about it as I am typing my experience visiting the well-known Angel Oak Tree of Charleston, South Carolina. It was one spot where an old high school friend of mine and his wife mentioned I should visit during my trip here while joining for dinner. I took their advice the next day. How could I pass an opportunity like this?

This time I was able to go on this first part of my tour trip with photographer friends Ron and Colbee as we drove towards the spot. As with everything, I wasn't sure what to expect. Sure I could have read every bit about it beforehand, but then there wouldn't be that magical surprise, would there? It certainly felt that way while on the road. The tree canopy partially sheltered us from the sun as light sprinkled through the branches, giving an enchanting atmosphere.

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That atmosphere only grew as we approached our destination. Only had to pass St. John's Parish Church along the way, with a fence bordering it. The large limbs stretched above and sheltered us as we parked the car on the side of the road as I looked about. Several vehicles were parked along side us as a number of people were exploring the grounds to observe the elderly tree.


First thing I made note of were the signs warning to not climb the tree or sit upon its branches. With the wire work keeping the ancient branches up, it should have been a big clue not to do such things. Not everyone heeds it though and thus signs are needed to spell it out. My focus returned to the tree itself as Colbee and Ron went ahead of me. Standing before me was not just a mere piece of living history. It saw through many wars and even the foundation of this country. Makes you wonder what would have gone through your mind if you end up living such a long life. Your perspective of history from your memory instead of reading it in books or watching documentaries stating how everything happened.


I was more fascinated in the little details however. The variety of moss growing on its ancient branches. The patterns of the bark that covered its limbs. Each little thing gave me such a variety to photograph alone while everyone else just posed in front of the tree. Only natural though. I ended up being one of them of course. Yet I also took a little time to simply look around and took everything in. All the little things just as much as the larger things of this location. It is more than just a tree in a park. Even more than its historic place in America. It's a representation and reminder of how nature keeps pushing forward and always changing. Always adapting. Just as we should do despite the hardships.

Portrait photos courtesy of Ron Delhaye

Portrait photos courtesy of Ron Delhaye


Ron and Colbee walked back towards a picnic area and decided this would be a good time to take portrait shots of each other, including myself. I guess now you can say that I have tried out Sony, Canon and Nikon cameras now. Each with their own benefits. I simply acted the role of an assistant photographer in this case and took photos when I believe it was the perfect time to do so. A few shots of Colbee I have taken using her Nikon camera. I am still not use to the bulk of DSLR cameras as I own a mirrorless Sony camera. Wanted something that was lightweight and easily transportable when out on cycling trips. I will update on shots taken of me for this blog post as they come in.

Portrait shots of Christopher Casson courtesy of  Colbee Lynn Photography

Portrait shots of Christopher Casson courtesy of Colbee Lynn Photography

Portrait shots of Christopher Casson courtesy of Ron Delhaye

Portrait shots of Christopher Casson courtesy of Ron Delhaye


Afterwards we went into the nearby gift shop that was full of photo prints, postcards and other items. It had this old homey feel to it that also felt like stepping back in time to those old fashioned Southern stores. In an age of large corporate stores that have taken over in the late 20th century, it's a rather refreshing sight. It's why I try to support more smaller businesses, from buying their products to even assisting them with my photography services.



Final Thoughts:

For me at least, it was a trip worth taking for anyone visiting the Charleston area and highly recommended. There is still a reason people visit it after all, especially if you're a nature lover. Plus, how often do you get to see a tree hundreds of years old and still counting?




Estimated to be around 400-500 years old, this ancient oak is a hot tourist spot for many visiting nearby Charleston. It has become a symbol of the southern city despite it being outside the city limits and on John's Island. It is thought of as one of the oldest living things in America.

FUN FACT: Oak tree are generally not that tall. Their branches on the other hand can stretch out into wide canopies. Only with very old oak trees would you see the branches more closer to the ground.

Want to see more locations around Charleston?

View my previous Travel Blog Posts, such as the beautiful grounds of Magnolia Plantation or view the Atlantic from the pier of Folly Beach!