Home » 2000 Chesapeake RV Road Trip

Wye Oak State Park, MD

Thursday, November 9, 2000 - 3:00am by Lolo
26 miles and 0.75 hours from our last stop


About a half hour from our campground and on our way to St. Michael’s, we stopped in the town of Wye Mills to see the famous Wye Oak, the oldest white oak in the United States. This tree is more than 450 years old, which actually is pretty amazing. It was here even before the Europeans arrived in this area. Unfortunately, it was also the time period I was up to in Michener’s book Chesapeake, which I was desperately, and somewhat obsessively, trying to read while we were still here—only 688 pages to go.

In addition to being the oldest white oak tree in America, the Wye Oak is also the largest, at an impressive 95 feet tall, 37 feet around, and with a crown large enough to shade an area of almost half an acre. This was a very tempting tree for little boys, but unfortunately not one which they were allowed to climb.

In hopes of something more interesting, Andrew and Tom headed over to a small brick building a short distance from the tree in the hopes of being able to spend money in some way. However, all they could do was stare into the window of an old colonial one-room schoolhouse. Tom summed up his Wye Oak experience with the touching words, “Cheap, no gift shop.”

Postcript: 2 years after our trip to Chesapeake, I was saddened to learn that the Wye Oak tree was destroyed in a thunderstorm. I feel fortunate that we can count ourselves among those that were able to see this beautiful tree during its very long lifetime.


The town of Wye Mills is home to three historical sites: the Wye Mill, the Old Wye Church, and the Wye Oak. The Wye Mill, which was built in the early 1700s, ground flour for Washington’s troops at Valley Forge in 1778. The Old Wye Anglican Church was also built in the early 1700s. It is still a working church and open to the public each Sunday for service. The third historical landmark in this tiny town is the famous Wye Oak, the largest and oldest white oak in the United States. This tree is over 450 years old and even predates the arrival of Europeans to the area. It stands at 95 feet tall, 37 feet around, and its 165 crown can shade an area of almost half an acre.

In 1939, the state of Maryland purchased the tree and the 30 acres around it and established Wye Oak State Park. Next to the site of the tree, and also part of Wye Oak State Park, is a one-room brick schoolhouse from the colonial period.

Postcript: On June 6, 2002, a thunderstorm destroyed the Wye Oak.