Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The secret to finding St. Simon's Island Tree Spirits!

I have been to many beach towns and I have never seen a more unique characteristic than that of the Tree Sprits of St. Simons Island.  Hand carved by artist Keith Jennings, over 20 faces are scattered throughout the famous oaks of St. Simons and the craftsmanship is truly incredible.  While some are easy to spot and others a little trickier to find, I uncovered a hidden secret to finding some of the artists most beautiful work on the island.
(This beautiful and stunning mermaid is right outside of the Welcome Center.)

Intrigued by the beauty of this intricate art, I was determined to find as many Tree Spirits as I could.  I stumbled upon the artists website where he shared a map to all of the tree spirits he has carved in St. Simons, both on public and private property.  The public tree spirits can easily be found using a map from the Welcome Center but the private ones, we were on the hunt for.  Using the map from Keith Jennings website, if you zoom in and look near the downtown area, there is a small circular cluster of spirits between Ocean Blvd. and Kings Way.  This little cluster of Tree Spirits is in the most charming neighborhood filled with picturesque homes that are straight out of a magazine.
(Can you find the 2 Tree Spirits in the picture above?)
 
We took advantage of a break in the rain and spent the morning strolling through the quiet neighborhood, gazing at all of the incredible architecture and breathtaking oak lined streets.  From the front porches to the beautiful hydrangea filled landscape, every single detail in this neighborhood was a dream to walk through.  Loyal and I had the best time dreaming about which house we would take if we could move there.  It was hard to choose a favorite!
The kids were so ecstatic every time we spotted a new one and to be completely honest, Loyal and I enjoyed it just as much.  After learning a little bit about the artist and his work, it was fascinating to see the detail within each carving.  Each uniquely named, these now famous weather faces began appearing across the island back in the early 80's.  The faces of the Tree Spirits fueled legends of resembling fallen sailors who lost their lives at sea.  Whether true or not, the sorrowful expressions of many of the spirits appear rather eerie and haunting in a way.
When I stopped by the Welcome Center to pick up a map, the sweet man working inside started chatting with me about the Legend of the Tree Spirits.  He was so knowledgeable about Keith Jennings and his precise carvings.  Apparently Jennings does everything by hand without any power drills at all and much to my surprise, they don't take him long to complete.  The mermaid above only took him 2 weeks!
This was definitely a highlight of our trip.  If you decide to venture over to this lovely neighborhood, please be mindful that it is a "Private Drive." :)

More about St. Simons and our trip here, if you are interested.
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