Invariably, I am asked, “ Bob, what’s the story behind the oak tree?”
The oak tree has been an important symbol in my family for many generations. It represents protection, strength, and endurance. The importance of the oak tree was instilled in me as a child by my grandmother.
As a young boy growing up in the rural South, I spent the majority of my summers exploring the hills and streams, of my grandparent’s farm in the foothills of northern Alabama. Although my grandparents were poor by anyone’s standards, they enriched my life with many unique experiences, lessons, and folklore. They instilled within me an undying belief in God coupled with immense love and respect for the land. They taught me that the land we live on, and care for in this life is like our mother – who gives us life and provides us with all the basic necessities. In exchange, we owe the land our perpetual care and devotion.
In a small patch of grass shadowed by my grandparent’s modest sharecropper house, my grandmother planted and nurtured a small oak tree using a worn-out tractor tire as a planter. Although my grandmother had many beautiful flowers and shrubs nestled among the endless rows of towering corn stalks and soft white cotton bolls, she gave considerable care to the little oak tree, which she loved, nourished, and cherished. When I was very young, she told me of an old southern wives’ tale about the symbolism of the oak tree for the farming families in the South. The oak provides shade from the harsh Alabama sun in the summer; protection from the blowing wind and rain in the winter, and serves as a central gathering place for Sunday company and rowdy children. But more importantly, the oak tree is a symbol of strength and endurance and represents the productiveness of the nearby land.
According to my grandmother, southern folklore declares that as long as the oak tree flourishes, so would the crops in the nearby fields. The land would spring forth spontaneously with a hearty bounty year after year. As I grew, so did the oak tree in my grandmother’s yard. Under my grandmother’s watchful eye, the branches spread mightily as it grew, towering over their humble home. Year after year, her family and her farm would grow under the stalwart protection of her Cherishing Oak.
When I bought this farm in Brooks County, Georgia, I named it “CheraOak” Plantation, after my grandmother’s Cherishing Oak and in dedication and recognition of her unyielding faith in God; adherence to the belief that hard work can overcome all obstacles; and in reverence to her enduring love for the land.
Over the years we have received requests from family and friends to use our farm for family pictures, dances, and weddings. Thus, the idea was conceived for a venue. Through the tireless efforts and hard work of the entire Lambert family, CheraOak Plantation Venue was born.
Unlike other facilities in this area which were built strictly for venue purposes, CheraOak Plantation has been and continues to be today, a working farm. We are very proud of our venue and its rustic barn and surrounding farm buildings.
Prior to its renovation, our barn was where our children swung from rafters, had their sweet sixteen birthday parties, enjoyed tractor rides, and played with their friends. As you walk our property, you can take in the exquisite beauty of a sunset over our pond and pine tree forest and experience the backdrop for fall hayrides, bonfires, and songs around campfires that our family has enjoyed for years.
You might decide to use our hayloft for your rehearsal dinner where we stored 500 square hay bales each year to feed the goats and horses. (The view from the hayloft is amazing!) As evening approaches, you and your guests will gaze toward the pine forest and admire the clouds as they burst into a rosy golden hue. The brilliance of the sunset will set the scene on your special day, as you make your vows to the one who has your whole heart. You’ll dine and dance in the main barn where we once stored tack and saddled up the horses for a day of work on the farm. Your celebration will continue as you and your guests lounge and visit our 24’ x 60’ open bar area among the neon signs, whiskey barrels, picnic tables, and authentic cedar top bar.
If your taste runs toward the rustic and you appreciate the authenticity of farm life, CheraOak Plantation Venue is the only choice for your wedding, family reunion, or gathering. The Lambert family welcomes the opportunity to show you around and tell you more of our story.
Thank you for allowing us to share CheraOak with you.
Michelle Lambert Culberson
Drew, Hannah and Eden Keesling
We Would Love to Show You Around!
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Tours are available by appointment only.