One of the typical images of Savannah in Georgia is that of wide paths lined with tall live oaks with branches covered in Spanish moss. And if there is one place that lets you see that typical postcard image of Savannah, it’s at Wormsloe State Historic Site.
I believe Wormsloe is best known for its live oak lined avenue which seems to stretch as far as the eye can see, like a long, endless tunnel of greenery. It is a particularly “Instagrammable” spot, and so many people come to pose there that a sign has been installed, reminding visitors that they must obtain an entrance ticket before taking the avenue in photo.
But Wormsloe is much more than this stunning shaded avenue. It is an important historical site, where there are also some trails showcasing the nature of the Isle of Hope in Savannah.
Well, okay, I too am guilty of taking a photo of the avenue. But I swear that I first visited Wormsloe in order to learn more about its history.
Wormsloe was first the colonial domain of Noble Jones, an English carpenter who arrived in Georgia with the first group of settlers. Jones settled on the Isle of Hope, naming his estate after the English township he hailed from: Wormslow (Wormelow) Hundred in Herefordshire.
Jones built a fortified house near the southeastern tip of the island, in order to watch the strategic Skidaway Narrows from a possible Spanish invasion. He was also heavily involved in Georgia’s early colonial days, serving as a doctor, surveyor, builder, and military commander, among others.
Eventually, Wormsloe became a plantation where Jones attempted to produce a variety of crops, such as rice, corn, and fruit and vegetables. On his death, the plantation passed into the hands of his descendants, until the state of Georgia took possession of it in the 1970s. The site is now part of the system of parks and historic sites of State.
Today, it is possible to see the ruins of the old tabby fortified house, the oldest standing structure in Savannah, as well as the site where Jones and his wife were first buried (their remains have since been moved to the Bonaventure Cemetery). The main trail also passes through the site where Jones’ servants and slaves lived.
The trail also offers some views of the Skidaway Narrows that was so important to Georgia’s early settlers. In recent decades, the construction of roads and new water channels has lowered the water level, making this channel almost impassable. Today, it’s hard to imagine that this quiet salt marsh has long been an important strategic point for the defence of Georgia.
In addition to the main trail which passes through the main highlights of the site, there are also a few kilometres of secondary trails, allowing you to further explore the Isle of Hope. The forest is not very old there (the estate was almost entirely converted into farmland, before these fields reverted to forest), but for me, who was visiting this region for the first time, there was something magical to walk under the tall green trees.
I would probably have stayed there for hours to hike all the trails, but we had to hit the road to get to our campsite for the night. But I know I will be back one day. I fell in love with Savannah, its history and its green spaces, so it’s only a question of time before I come back and explore more of its beautiful sites.