Trees may not be the typical tourist attractions but in two picturesque southern towns, people delight in searching for special trees.
In Montevallo, Alabama, and on St. Simons Island, Georgia, visitors might stumble upon human faces or fairytale creatures carved into the trees.
St. Simons Island
About 20 carved trees are scattered across this tiny island community, created by artist Keith Jennings. According to GoldenIsles.com, “Legend has it, the images immortalize the countless sailors who lost their lives at sea aboard the mighty sailing ships that were once made from St. Simons Island oak. Their sad, sorrowful expressions seem to reflect the grieving appearance of the trees themselves with their drooping branches and moss.”
Jennings said he doesn’t set out with a specific design but carves with the “spirit” of the tree until he “reveals each tree’s soul.” See a map of the trees by clicking here.
In this quiet college town, numerous carved cedar trees are located in one 40-acre area, Orr Park. It’s a great place to take children and let them run about looking for carvings that include dragons, wizards, unicorns and sea serpents. The City of Montevallo, which calls Orr Park its “crowning jewel,” says the area with the trees is known as Tinglewood. The park, the city website says, has athletic fields, playgrounds, a walking trail, picnic tables, pavilions and a gazebo “but the magical cedar tree carvings throughout Tinglewood remain our greatest local attraction.”
“Pedestrians and cyclists traveling throughout the park are as likely to amble by gnomes, a dragon or a fish eating a snake as they are to pass by a local family walking their dog. Tinglewood is solely credited to Mr. Tim Tingle, a coal miner by trade, who took it upon himself to transform storm-damaged cedar trees into glorious works of art in the early 1990s. He continues to bless the city with his talents up to today for residents and visitors to enjoy.” Click here for more information on Orr Park.