A fellow Escapee who originally hailed from New Mexico before becoming a full time Rver suggested a local Mexican restaurant to us. He swore he knew his authentic Mexican food & wouldn’t steer us wrong. Having been in bad need of a Mexican food fix we took him at his word. We drove the 20 miles northwest to the quaint town of Daphne. But first a little side trip.
I noticed a Point of Interest spot recently on our Rand McNally road atlas that simply read, Jackson Oak Monument. I quickly did some research on the internet & determined it might be worth seeing since we would already be in the vicinity. (We had a similar experience while sightseeing in Charleston, SC & came across the Angel Oak tree. It was so beautiful! We were glad that we’d made the effort to see it.)
The Jackson Oak is located within the Village Point Park Preserve in Daphne. It was easy to locate the park itself but there were no posted signs visible nor brochures to point us in the general direction of the tree. We did eventually discover a trail that had been laid by a local Eagle Scout Troop to follow but even this path lacked trail markers. We had no idea if we were headed in the correct direction nor any idea what the distance would be but onward we trudged. Eventually we stumbled upon an ancient family cemetery in the thick of the woods. I’m always drawn to old headstones. My curiosity led me to a post with a faded water splattered page of paper on it. Aha, a hand drawn map of the trails. With a little deciphering we determined where the oak was to be found & made our way to it.
What a gem of a tree. What a gem of a park. The decking & viewing area around the tree’s perimeter had been very attractively laid out. Whom ever had planned this had also used quality equipment to withstand the elements & the passing of time. The shame is, whether it’s the city of Daphne or of Baldwin County, someone is neglecting this historic jewel. Tables & benches were in need of replacement or repair. The metal railing attached to the decking looked in dire need of rustoleum paint. Basic trail maintenance would go a long way. That said, the tree itself was well worth the hike.
This majestic oak stands 95′ tall & has a circumference of 28′. I have no idea how old the tree is but it served as a survey line marker in an original Spanish Land Grant survey map from 1787. I would suppose the size of the oak had to have stood out amongst all of the other oaks in the area even then. According to local lore, General Andrew Jackson made a speech to his army while perched upon one of its massive limbs during the War of 1812. Hence the name, Jackson Oak.
Our trek caused us to work up an appetite. We continued on our way to the recommended El Rancho Mexican restaurant. I love Mexican food. It is by far my favorite cuisine. My favorite restaurant is The Matador, a little hole-in-the-wall unassuming joint back in the state of Michigan where I grew up. I compare all Mexican fare to theirs. Few come close. Don ordered a chicken quesadilla. He said it was good but not a standout. I ordered the shrimp tacos. They were wonderfully delicious with a remoulade type sauce that was very flavorful with a bit of a bite to it. I’d give this place a 3.5 out of 5. Why? Well I had to spice up the salsa with habanero sauce to give it some heat. Without it, it was pretty bland. And the chips, they weren’t homemade. Guess I’ll have to continue my quest for a comparable Mexican restaurant.
Here’s lookin’ at you kid………………………..