The other day on a walk through Bear Brook State Park I came across a tree with long serrated leaves that I just knew had to be an American chestnut (Castanea Dentata.) After closer inspection of the leaves, bark and structure of the tree, there was no mistaking it, it was indeed an American chestnut. Most people have probably never seen an American chestnut, and for those that have, the grandeur of this tree is nothing more than a memory. These days
the American chestnut grows as an understory tree; sprouting from old decaying trunks and hiding under the shade of the upper canopy. When I see a chestnut I am reminded that things were not always as they are today. A field was once a forest, a road once a path, and in the case of the chestnut, just a few sprouts are left of what were once massive trees that ruled the Appalachia.
Like the chestnut, the history of the land at Candia Woods is not widely known; though once in awhile I will hear a local say “ Did you know this place used to be called Charmingrock!?” Actually, years ago when the course opened it was given the name Charmingfare; the rock part came later… I have found knowing the history of this course to be of great benefit. On the rare occasion I am left scratching my head in confusion, I find myself shuffling through the past to piece together the puzzle. I have acquired the history of this land through several different avenues; the fastest being to ask the mechanic that’s been working here for 55 years! I don’t think I would be where I am today without knowing my history. I have had countless occasions that were laden with clarity after a flash from the past. For me, a glimpse of a rugged old tree ridden with barb wire or the passing by of a giant boulder scarred from an excavator
is a reminder that everything I see today has been molded by the past. Perhaps one day someone will be learning my history, perhaps it will help frame their future, or perhaps they will be left scratching their head!
The next time you tee it up at Candia Woods, take a look around and see if you can find some history. Imagine yourself putting out on 18 in a hay barn or calling for the cows from two fairway, or maybe, just maybe, standing next to an American chestnut towering 120 feet tall.
Please view below to read a portion of the history of Candia Woods.
You can learn more about the restoration of the American chestnut by visiting the American Chestnut Foundations web page.