Canopy Roads
November 9, 2011 11:24 PM   Subscribe

So a canopy road is just a road with lots of overhanging trees? Well, damn. I never knew there was a special term for that. We have plenty in the UK but we just tend to call 'em pretty country lanes, I think.
posted by Decani at 11:34 PM on November 9, 2011 [4 favorites]

Well, it helps if there's Spanish moss. If you're ever in Gainesville, FL, you should visit the La Chua trail, which, in addition to the alligators and buffalo and wild horses (I've never seen the buffalo), has a long canopy road that leads to the parking area.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:57 PM on November 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's pretty hard to justify a post like this on the usual grounds. There isn't a news story here. There isn't a particularly interesting web site. There's no novelty in this post.

I just like old country lanes. I like walking down a road covered with trees. It's a post about something I like.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:59 PM on November 9, 2011 [3 favorites]

Come to Washington state. I have something to show you...
posted by ZaneJ. at 12:40 AM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Most of these just looked like normal country roads to me, until I came to this one. That looks weird and beautiful and alien.
posted by lollusc at 12:48 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Canopy roads make me think of Napoleon, insisting trees be planted so his troops could march in the shade. When they said yer nuts, they'll take forever to grow, he said you better hurry up and plant them then. Probably paraphrased with no historical accuracy, but I do love tree-lined roads and the idea of having them at all times, just in case.
posted by hypersloth at 1:14 AM on November 10, 2011

My kids call them 'tree tunnels', which I think is much more poetic.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:19 AM on November 10, 2011 [6 favorites]

Makes me nostalgic for my hometown of Pensacola, FL, which is the furthest west you can go in the Panhandle without being in Alabama. There was a beautiful tree tunnel there on 12th Ave, a main thoroughfare en route to "downtown."
posted by thermopoetics at 4:04 AM on November 10, 2011

Leave it to Florida to revel and glorify the mundane. Signs, even!
posted by crunchland at 4:07 AM on November 10, 2011

I love these. For the more vertical effect, there's Bamboo Avenue in Jamaica. Not really a horizontal canopy, but the stuff gets huge in Kyoto!
posted by yoga at 4:26 AM on November 10, 2011

We used to have those in the suburbs of Milwaukee, WI, before Dutch Elm Disease killed off all the trees.
posted by Slinga at 5:08 AM on November 10, 2011

Aw, there's even one about Old St Augustine Rd. That road is beautiful. I used to drive down it all the time.

And seriously, I live in WA state, and I've been to the UK. I assure you, the canopy roads in Florida are different from both.
posted by MadGastronomer at 5:11 AM on November 10, 2011

Wow, this reminds me of the roads near my grandparents in rural Northern Florida (about 30 minutes outside Gainesville, give or take). I grew up there nearly every summer until I was 15 and never knew there was a name for it.

It reminds me not that all of Florida has to have beaches to count.
posted by Kitteh at 5:51 AM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

PEI has some roads along these lines.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:08 AM on November 10, 2011

I had never heard this term before either. I had heard it said that the old elm trees formed a "cathedral-like roof over the roads", before the disease got them.
posted by Goofyy at 6:14 AM on November 10, 2011

These are nicer for biking fwiw. And it's not just my imagination but the signs, at least in the city I'm in (which rhymes with fat-and-sassy), do help make people more aware and maybe even a bit more chill when it comes to passing bikers.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:21 AM on November 10, 2011

Thanks for sharing; these are beautiful.
posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 7:41 AM on November 10, 2011

Were these roads deliberately planted with trees, or is this more what you get after carving a road through existing vegetation?

In France you have all these beautiful tree-lined roads and canals where the trees were deliberately planted. Often plane trees, they're set very close to the road and very tightly spaced making a beautifully formal lane. I imagine they were originally planted to provide shade and make travelling on hot days more pleasant. They also now make it impossible to widen the roads. I'm always happy when I'm driving around on vacation and stumble on to one of these tree lined roads, I know I'm travelling on something old and beautiful.
posted by Nelson at 7:52 AM on November 10, 2011

In many places they cut back the trees to prevent limbs falling on utility lines, making this sort of thing impractical except on certain roads.

France has some of the best, as Nelson pointed out. Yet they are having trouble, The disease killing Europe's plane trees, a fungus brought over by American troops during WWII.
posted by stbalbach at 7:59 AM on November 10, 2011

My kids call them tree tunnels... I love em too.
posted by zeoslap at 8:08 AM on November 10, 2011

Canopy? I was thinking of something more like a covered bridge, but miles long.

Anyway, this is a perfect time for one of my favorite jokes.

A King visited a neighboring kingdom and was impressed by the lines of tall, stately trees along the road approaching the castle that gave shade to travelers. When the King returned to his own castle, he summoned the Royal Gardener to order him to begin a similar project in front of his own castle. He asked the Gardener how long it would take. The Gardener said, "I have seen the trees along that road, it will take about 150 years to grow trees like them." The King responded, "Well then, you better get started TODAY."
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:23 AM on November 10, 2011

This post makes me feel nostalgic. I grew up in rural Manatee County, and lived down a 1/2 mile dirt road that was a lovely canopy dangling with Spanish moss. I used to pick wild grapes from the trees to snack on when I walked home from the bus stop, and there was all kinds of wildlife that would come traipsing along and blithely ignoring me - quail, possum, armadillos, a fox, and I saw bobcat tracks a few times, though I never ran into one during my walks. Now a lot more of the property alongside the road has been sold off and the trees cut down so that the big houses can have those sweeping grass lawns that are so silly. There are golf courses instead of dairy farms all along the main road, and there's actually a stop light and a grocery store up at the corner.
posted by lriG rorriM at 9:14 AM on November 10, 2011

There are a couple of those in SC that I have driven on many times over the years. US 25 near Trenton is lined with pecan trees (and looks more impressive when the leaves are on them) and highway 174 to Edisto Island has a few stretches of canopy road that always remind me of the vacations we took there as kids. I'm not sure if I have heard the term canopy road before, but it is perfect!
posted by TedW at 10:10 AM on November 10, 2011

General Hutchinson Parkway in Sanford, FL used to be like this-- not sure it is anymore. Worth noting, though, is the county park it leads to, Big Tree Park. I love that there's a park to celebrate a big tree. (It's more old than big, but it's still pretty big.)
posted by cereselle at 1:04 PM on November 10, 2011

These were pretty common in the US before the loss of elms due to DED. My hometown, Janesville, WI, was long dubbed "Bower City" for its streets lined with mature elms even though the name predates the technical maturity of an elm tree, and in the wake of DED, it's a moniker all but forgotten. The trees that replaced the elms -- and I can look out my window now and tell you where they were -- are just not similar enough in form to create this effect.
posted by dhartung at 1:26 PM on November 10, 2011

It's less than half a mile long, but I've always enjoyed that little unexpected burst of green that you get on Snelling Ave in St. Paul between St. Dennis Rd and West 7th. There's two little places where the road is actually canopied but the whole stretch is wooded and lovely. Beautiful after a snowfall too.
posted by marsha56 at 4:41 PM on November 10, 2011

I never realized it was a thing.
posted by mike3k at 7:28 PM on November 10, 2011

Good god but I want to go to France and hang out by a tree-lined canal, drink beer (no, not wine) and have strange adventures. That is all.
posted by ashbury at 8:09 PM on November 10, 2011

It's really awesome.Thanx for sharing
posted by iqternet at 5:46 AM on November 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

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