Old Wide Awake is an old plantation site and adjacent park about 30 minutes outside of Charleston. The plantation house is a popular venue for wedding receptions, and the park, with its moss-draped live oaks, is a popular setting for the ceremonies. In addition, there is a tiny network of trails that allows for an all-too-brief stroll through pine and oak woodland.
My friends Jenn and Chris chose this site for their wedding. Being part of the ceremony meant that I had the chance to hang around here while waiting through the rehearsal, practicing songs with the band, and waiting for the ceremony to start. Hiking junkie that I am, I took advantage of the opportunity to explore the grounds, which included the house, a long access road, and a small trail through a patch of forest. It wasn’t much, but I eked out about a mile of hiking between playing music, rehearsing, and being in a wedding.
The highlights of this place are probably the oak trees. The live oaks out here look fairly similar to the oaks out in California, with the exception of copious amounts of Spanish moss. This moss is a characteristic sight on southern trees, and it evokes long avenues on plantations lined with moss-draped trees or dusky swamps with moss-draped cypresses.
Fun fact about the moss, however, is that it has parasitic tendencies. The tree lives off of the nutrients and water produced by the trees, and, as it spreads, it can reduce the trees ability to grow. In some occasions, the moss will become so widespread on a tree that it will kill its host. Additionally, bugs love living inside the tangled mess of fine, hairy grey filaments. While it looks inviting to the touch, be aware that spiders enjoy hanging out there.
Last but not least, the wedding itself was a fun, albeit chilly affair. Nighttime temps dipped down into the 30’s during the reception, which was well-heated within a tent. I got up and sang a cover of a Beatles song for Jenn and Chris’s first dance, which was a blast, as well as an opportunity to do something special. I had a great time at this wedding, and I’m glad they picked such a lovely spot.