I remember seeing signs for the Wye Oak on my many trips to the beach over the years and wondering why in the world there would be a sign on Route 50 for a tree, of all things. But I was always in too much of a hurry to get to the beach on the way down, or to miss the bridge traffic on the way back to ever stop and see it. I just don't like anything cutting into my beach time to the point where I would often go there by myself just so that I could do it no breaks. But one day in 2000 or 2001 I had Doug with me and we decided to stop and see it. Doug just loves taking little side trips and I figured it wouldn't take up too much time so I went along with it.
The tree was enormous, very old and very weather beaten, and it was clearly past its prime. It was the kind of tree that you could almost imagine somebody hollowing out and making into a house except that it was really not in very good shape at that point and you just don't do that sort of thing to trees anyway, except in cartoons. But that's how big it was. At the time it was the largest White Oak tree in the entire United States and had held that title since at least the early 1900s. I had never known that as I sped past the exit to it at least a hundred times over the years so I'm really glad I finally got to see it.
I found some old pictures of the Wye Oak here and there. I have linked to all of the websites where these pictures were originally located down at the bottom of this post.
I had my camera with me when I went to visit it again this last time. Here are some of the pictures I took:
This is the official sign. Click on it if you want to see what it says.
They planted a young clone of the Wye Oak in the middle of its former trunk.
The Wye Oak seems to be asking WHY?
and an old abandoned barn is just around the corner
So if you aren't in a big hurry to get to or from the beach the way I usually am, visiting the Wye Oak is a great little side trip to take along the way. Here are some links to additional information about the Wye Oak:
An American Champion