Leading from the gorgeous old plantation is a trail that heads east into the woods. At one time this trail was a country road, which is easiest to see when it crosses over the railroad tracks on an old wooden bridge. Once across the tracks, the woods embrace the trail and nature surrounds visitors. The mix of pines and hardwoods attracts numerous woodland species such as northern cardinals, blue jays, tufted titmice and Carolina wrens. Once migration has started and residents from further north and west move into the area, common woodland species are joined by some surprises. Although nearby nesting pine warblers are expected, the arrival of a family of chestnut-sided warblers or a single northern parula or magnolia warbler is a welcome surprise. Other members of the flock could include blue-gray gnatcatchers and red-eyed vireos quickly stuffing themselves with fall caterpillars before heading to the Bahamas for their winter vacation.
Search quietly within the woods for a tom turkey and his mate as they wander across the path picking at seed heads as they go, or listen as an indigo bunting starts chipping up a fuss at your presence. Where the woods open up, common green darners can be seen speeding overhead, bringing terror to their tiny insect prey. At the side of the path, inches from your shoes, tiny pink and purple blooms attract finely-patterned pearl crescents and the staring eyespots of common buckeyes. Settle into the woods, and make yourself comfortable, as the show has only just begun.
From Tall Oak Farms, continue south on Rt. 699/Mt. Carmel Road for 1.2 miles to Rt. 711/Alton Post Office Road. Turn left (east) for 3.7 miles to Rt. 655/Blane Road. Continue left (east) for 1.1 miles, then turn right (east) on Rt. 658/Cluster Springs Road and follow it 4.5 miles to Oak Grove Plantation B&B.