Did you know that Savannah is nicknamed “The Forest City”?
Organized urban planting began in 1891, and Savannah is now known worldwide for its superstars: centuries-old Southern live oaks (Quercus virginiana) heavy with Spanish moss. Named the official state tree of Georgia in 1937, the Southern live oak is found from Florida to Virginia and as far west as Texas. Live oaks are called so because unlike most other oaks, they are evergreen.
These are strong, hearty trees, providers of the very material that gave the U.S.S. Constitution its nickname “Old Ironsides,” eventually earning her the designation of the world’s oldest ship of any kind still afloat! Thankfully, these lovely trees have been retired from the shipbuilding game, and are easily recognized now for their furrowed, scaly bark and the wonderful shade provided by their majestic crowns.
While Savannah is sheltered by miles of live oaks, there are three spots that you must visit if you’re looking for that iconic, Spanish moss-draped live oak shot!
Wormsloe Plantation Historic Site:
THE quintessential Savannah picture. This lush, 1.5-mile tunnel of more than 400 live oaks leads to Georgia’s oldest plantation. The Noble Jones family’s burial plots and walking trails lead to boardwalks and overlook the marshes. Less than four miles down the road is the Pinpoint Heritage Museum. The Gullah-Geechee community runs the museum and story it tells.
This is an easy one! Forsyth Park is as central as it gets. Its twisting, tree-lined lanes and famous fountain are instantly recognizable (even when they pop up briefly in movies!). As popular as it is with visitors and locals, this 30-acre park always has a spot for you. Sitting a spell is the BEST way to soak in its laid back but energetic atmosphere. Also, just next to Forsyth is the Candler Oak Tree. Planted in the 1700s, it is one of the oldest living landmarks around!
Savannah Cruzers founder Tess Scheer may have put it best: “Surrounded by centuries-old live oaks and Spanish moss, full of jaw-dropping statuary and steeped in symbolism, Bonaventure is an outdoor museum set in a Victorian garden.” You can get to know this 100-acre cemetery on foot, by bike, in your own car or via an expertly guided golf cart tour!
By Dani Ray