I came across Lichgate thanks to a friend of mine. I was visiting Tallahassee for work and had some free time so we were exploring Tallahassee. Lichgate was the first thing we did. Tucked away in plain sight, you could drive by it a million times and not know it was there (in fact, my second visit I had trouble finding it!).

Lichgate on High Road (2)

Lichgate on High Road (3)

What is Lichgate? Lichgate is the work of Laura Pauline Jepsen. She was a professor of English Literature at FSU from 1946 to 1978. The site of Lichgate features an incredible 200+ year old live oak tree, next to which Jepson built a English Tudor-style cottage. She named it after the Old English word “lychgate” which is a gate that separated the world of the living from the world of the dead.

Lichgate on High Road (4)

Lichgate on High Road (5)

Arriving at Lichgate you park in a small lot. There is a board there with information, and a path that leads through the trees. As you walk you start to get glimpses of the tree, and then all of a sudden you walk out into this large tract of land, upon the middle of which is a huge live oak tree. This thing is massive, and has branches that reach the ground.

Lichgate on High Road (6)

Lichgate on High Road (1)

The cottage is located behind the tree, and is unfortunately closed to the public (although I believe they do open it for special events). To the left of the cottage you can find a variety of gardens. First comes a butterfly garden. Overgrown, as a real garden should be. After that there are some benches that are used for special events at Lichgate. Finally you come upon some vegetable gardens, which are cared for by a local school.

Lichgate on High Road (7)

Unfortunately on my last visit I noticed that they have cut down a lot of the trees in the front area. You can pretty much see the tree and the entire plot of land from the parking lot, so the suspense and surprise aspects are pretty much gone. Nonetheless, this is still a beautiful site worth taking the time to experience.

Lichgate on High Road (8)