What graveyards did you visit on vacation this summer?

Win a copy!

Travel took me to Manhattan, Ontario, and Michigan this summer.  I visited the African Burial Ground, a Colonial-era churchyard, my first Canadian cemetery, and a cemetery with one of the largest collections of private mausoleums in the United States, which happens to lie not far from 8 Mile Road in Detroit.

Those that I haven’t written about yet will be the subjects of upcoming Cemeteries of the Week, of course.

So tell me: What cemeteries were you lucky enough to visit this summer?  What was the most beautiful thing you saw?  Would you encourage other travelers to go out of their way?

Leave your response in the comments below before September 1, 2012 – and you could win a copy of the Cemetery Travels Notebook.  Illustrated with photos from this blog to inspire your own cemetery explorations, the perfect-bound notebook has plenty of room for your own notes and ruminations.

You can see a sample of the Cemetery Travels Notebook here.

ETA:  I’ve contacted the winners for this giveaway, but tune in next month for another.  I’m going to want to hear scary (true!) cemetery stories.  In the meantime, you can order a copy of your own here: Cemetery Travels Notebook by Loren Rhoads.

 

About Loren Rhoads

I am the author of the essay collection Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, co-author of the novel As Above, So Below, and editor of The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two. In addition to blogging at CemeteryTravel.com, I blog about my morbid life at lorenrhoads.com.
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27 Responses to What graveyards did you visit on vacation this summer?

  1. rachelynne says:

    I got the chance to visit the Fairview Cemetary in Halifax where the bodies of those who drowned on the Titanic are buried. It’s a really powerful experience to see all the graves, especially those whose bodies have not been identified yet. The most beautiful thing to see there is the Grave of the Unknown Child. Although they have since identified the body, for a long time it was a mystery, and as they were trying to figure it out someone would leave flowers everyday at the grave. They only discovered later that the man who identified the body had been leaving flowers. Now he is buried a short distance from the grave. Sorry to ramble! I have a post about this here: http://pennilesstraveler.com/2012/08/15/unknownchild/

    • Loren Rhoads says:

      I just came across a photo of that cemetery yesterday and was struck by how powerful those simple graves are. Thanks for the link to your experience! I’ll go check it out.

  2. hello loren! i went to green-wood cemetery in brooklyn, NY. unfortunately i had to breeze through due to a timing mix-up, so i really only got to see the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. i hope to re-visit one day and spend a more leisurely time there though. my favorite thing was pretty simple- the old gravestones, especially this area with a bunch shaped like crosses. in california, it seems harder to find old graveyards, and i appreciate that old aesthetic. i also really liked all the trees and the black iron signs for the roads, and the names of the roads inside the cemetery.

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  4. Less than a week ago, I was in Hammamet, Tunisia, where I happened upon the tiny Christian cemetery. It’s a really pretty place, full of old tamarix trees, right beneath the ancient city walls. I was lucky enough to meet a Tunisian who was – unofficially – in charge of maintaining the grave of Italian politician Bettino Craxi’s grave (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bettino_Craxi). He was truly passionate about the place and showed us around. He pointed out some interesting graves: the first French bakers of the city, the man who opened the first hotel in Hammamet, the curé who dedicated his whole life to his parish, etc… None of the graves was particularly noticeable yet they told us about days gone by, about the common history of two countries, Tunisia and France. Fascinating…

  5. coastalcrone says:

    I did not visit any cemeteries this summer, but I did visit one in New Orleans last fall and wrote about it in a post, “Coffee, books and a Cemetery.” It was established in 1833 and is the oldest in New Orleans. All are above ground – the city of the dead – and was featured in Anne Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire.” I am sure you have visited it. I only took one picture there – should have taken more.
    http://coastalcrone.com/2012/02/11/coffee-books-and-a-cemetery/#comments

    • Loren Rhoads says:

      Thanks for the link — and reminding that I should feature Lafayette as a Cemetery of the Week! I haven’t been back to New Orleans since before Katrina, but I plan to go next year. Maybe I’ll take the Garden District tour this time.

  6. coastalcrone says:

    Also – other comments have been interesting! Thanks to all!

  7. Josh Perry says:

    Hey Loren, here’s my answer to your question. As for me, I didn’t visit any cemeteries out of town this Summer. Pretty much due in part, to the fact that I’m heading back to L.A. in October, so my funds have been kinda on the skinny. But I did get a chance to do a little grave hunting in the Detroit area where I reside. I checked out some cemeteries I’ve been to a multitude of times, found some new graves, yada yada. When I head back to L.A. in October, I’m planning on visiting some of the cemeteries I didn’t get a chance to visit the last time I was there in the Spring of 2011. I’m also planning on participating in the 1st Annual Death Hag Weekend activities.

    • Loren Rhoads says:

      That all sounds great! I got the chance to poke around Woodlawn Cemetery earlier this month and it was spectacular. I’m never sure how safe Detroit’s cemeteries are, but I haven’t had a problem there yet. What’s your favorite?

      • Josh Perry says:

        Well my all time favorite Detroit cemetery would be Elmwood, located downtown off Lafayette Ave. Another favorite would be Woodlawn on Woodward, and then there is Mt. Olivet on Van Dyke. Each of those cemeteries are favorites for different reasons. Elmwood because of the history, Woodlawn because of the Motown era personalities buried there, and Mt. Olivet because of the Detroit organized crime figures there.

      • Loren Rhoads says:

        Elmwood is pretty spectacular. I’ve been to Woodmere too, to see Buick’s grave. I haven’t been to Mt. Olivet yet. Is it safe(ish)?

      • Josh Perry says:

        Well to be honest Loren, Detroit is Detroit, its just like any other major American city. The crime is there, you just gotta be vigilant when grave hunting in crime infested areas. But to answer your question I’ve never had any problems at Mt. Olivet, or the other Detroit, or Chicago cemeteries I’ve been to. When I was downtown at Elmwood about a year or so ago. I was wandering around a particular section and this guy came up to me outta no where to ask how to get back to the front of the cemetery. So I pointed in the direction, and told him to follow the signs. Usually no one really bothers me when I’m grave hunting. While were on the topic of Mt. Olivet, Arcadia Publishing has a nice book on that cemetery.

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  9. Dawn DuBois says:

    Hello! I was not as able to visit as many cemeteries this summer as I was hoping to, as I have had some major health issue. I found out I have an auto immune disorder, and am scheduled for my fifth sinus surgery in less then a year, ugh! I am also a stay at home om, so the summers keep me occupied, but I was able to visit some I had not been to before. One was Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, IL. It is a large and beautifully landscaped place, and I was able to take some lovely pictures there, a few even allowing me t enter and win a few small contests. I also was able to visit Lakeside Cemetery in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Right across from Mackinaw City, in St.Ignace, this historic cemetery offers a beautiful view of the Mackinaw bridge along with some awesome tombstones.
    Of course, living in southern Michigan there are many rural cemeteries to visit and I kept to my normal route, as I always like to visit at different times of the year, from Brookside in Tecumseh, Michigan, to Oakwood in Adrian, and Maple Grove in Hudson, there are many amazing stones and mausoleums to explore.
    Also, in Toledo there is the incomparable Woodlawn Cemetery.
    I look forward to fall, as it is my favorite time of year to take photos. I have many of the pictures on my facebook page, open to the public, and welcome anyone to come and check them out.

  10. Brian Schifferdecker says:

    I will do my best to try and remember them all..lol. I headed south this summer and went to PA, DE, VA. The list goes as follows: 1.Soliders National Cemetery: Gettysburg, PA. 2. Harrisburg Cemetery: Harrisburg, PA. 3. Alexandria National Cemetery: Alexandria, VA. 4. Ivy Hill Cemetery: Alexandria, VA. 5. Arlington National Cemetery, VA. 6. UMC Cemetery: Alexandria, VA. 7. Bethel Methodist Cemetery: Lewes, DE. 8. Presbyterian Cemetery: Lewes, DE. 9. St. Peters Episcopal Churchyard: Lewes, DE. 10. Betts Cemetery: Milton, DE. 11. Whites Chapel UMC Cemetery: Milton, DE. 12. Christ Episcopal Churchyard: Dover, DE. 13. Barratts Chapel: Frederica, DE. and last but certainly not least….Washington Street UMC Churchyard: Alexandria, VA. They were all so very beautiful. If I had to suggest which one to visit, I would have to pick St. Peters Epicopal Churchyard. It is the 1st church in the 1st town of the 1st state. It is very well manicured and looks exactly like it did 150 years ago. Beautiful monuments with the whitest stones I have ever seen.

  11. Dave Wallace says:

    Vacation was in Cape Cod this year. One of my goals was to visit a couple cemeteries (the other goal was whale watching) in the area. My interest was to see some of the old slate tombstones and the decorative carvings. I am the volunteer president of a 17 acre non-profit cemetery in Pennsylvania, incorporated in March of 1862. Visits were made to Woodside Cemetery in West Yarmouth http://ancestorsatrest.com/woodside-cemetery-yarmouth-massachusetts/. Also the South Street Cemetery in Hyannis http://www.capecodgravestones.com/barnhy.html. Each has the type of carvings I was looking for and photographs were obtained. My curiosity was satisfied as to both the style and how many of these markers withstand the harsh winters. In the South Street Cemetery there were several that the face of the marker did not survive the freeze factor and the face had broken off, rendering the tombstone unreadable. The Harsh winters and poor quality of slate in PA has ruined most all of this type of marker here. I urge anyone traveling to your favorite vacation spot or a new one to seek out a cemetery or two. The styles and artwork vary from area to area!

  12. Ed Snyder says:

    Well lets see, is there enough space here for my list? Whoever dies with the most, wins, right? LOL! Wilkes-Barre City Cemetery and Hollenbak Cemetery, right next to it. These are coal mining region cemeteries in northeast PA. A few in Philadelphia (where I live): St. Mary’s, St. Peters,and the Old Swedes’ Church (churchyard cemeteries from the colonial era); Historic and West Laurel Hill cemeteries, and of course Mount Moriah (several times). Also explored the pseudo-abandoned Tremont Cemetery in Norristown, PA, and visited my ancestors’ graves at Hanover (PA) Cemetery and Evergreen, in Shavertown, PA. At the Jersey shore, Atlantic City Cemetery and Greenwood Cemetery in Manahawkin; in central Jersey, Mount Hope in Lambertville. Then there’s Riverview Cemetery in Wilmington Delaware and a few in Charlotte, NC: Elmwood, Pinewood, Hebrews Cemetery and the Old Settlers’ Cemetery. (You can read about all these places on my Cemetery Traveler blog: http://networkedblogs.com/Bywu8)

  13. Chuck Kearns says:

    I visited Puritan Lawn Memorial Park in Peabody, Mass….actually for a funeral. The funeral was for the last surviving member of The Platters. His grave overlooks one of the lakes that abuts the cemetery. What’s odd is that there are 2 infamous people buried there as well. Albert DeSalvo, the alleged Boston Strangler & John Salvi who shot up 2 abortion clinics in the Boston area back in 1994. Both men died in prison.

  14. I visited St. Magnus Church in Kirkwell Scotland. Got some incredible photos. Last foreign trip before that was the Cementario General in Santiago, Chile right after the earthquake. Some mausoleums were damaged, while others right next to them did not appear to suffer at all. Again, I took incredible photographs. Both will appear in my upcoming book.

  15. cattyrrell says:

    Visited one of my favourite cemeteries, Nunhead, on their annual Open Day and also during the summer. Open Day was busy with lots of visitors admiring the view of St Paul ’s from the top of Nunhead Hill or tucking into our home made refreshments. I was tour leading towards the end of the day and as we passed the area where the Birds of Prey and woodcrafters of bodgers were sited, one of my tour participants shouted ‘Owls! Owls! They’ve got owls!’ Then another shouted ‘They’re carving wood! They’re making things!’ and half of the tour immediately rushed off to see them.
    I also visited Brompton and Kensal Green cemeteries on their respective Open Days. I hadn’t visited either of them for a while and it was like discovering them all over again. I nearly got locked in Kensal Green once more and had the pleasure of accompanying a Goth couple as we all raced towards the other cemetery gate before it also closed. He was musing hopefully about spending the night in a mausoleum and she was saying ‘No!’ very definitely. I enjoyed a catacomb tour there and have never had the same tour twice. There was a fine display of classic hearses on display and I thought once again how cool it would be to drive up to the supermarket in one of them.

    Brompton was leafy and lovely and I explored their catacombs for the first time. However I was annoyed with other people on the tour who were striking silly poses in front of the coffins. Let’s have some respect please.

    I enjoyed a tour of Elmers End Cemetery which is a local cemetery with some wonderful memorials and statues. A return visit is on the cards. The children’s section with its child angel was very moving. W G Grace the cricketer is buried there and they have a life size statue of a First World War soldier as well. Also revisited Old St Margaret’s Churchyard in SE London which contains a ruined church – only the stump of a tower remains. There’s been a church of one sort of another on the site for over 800 years and 5000 people are buried here. These include an unlucky balloonist, a lady who died in childbirth and is buried with her baby in her arms and Edmund Halley of Halley’s Comet fame. Some of the tombstones date back to the 18th century and it’s a fascinating place in which to wander. Across the road is the vast 19th century St Margaret’s church which had the finest Celtic Cross I have ever seen and a Victorian lych gate.

    But on a rare sunny and hot day (it’s been the wettest summer for 100 years and I can believe it) I also visited St Leonards Church in Hythe, Kent in response to several fb friends who had been already. I’d been meaning to get round to it and it was well worth it. It boasts an ossuary in its crypt with 4 displays of skulls and a pile of thigh bones and skulls – looking forward to taking those pics to the chemist to be developed. The surrounding churchyard which was full of fascinating memorials and symbols and butterflies who thumbed their wings at me and refused to pose.
    But at the top of the hill I enjoyed wonderful sea views as the sapphire waters glistened. What more could you want?
    So it’s been a good summer even though I didn’t visit as many cemeteries as I wanted to due to the awful weather but here’s to an autumn of memorial meanderings.

  16. Sid Graves says:

    WOW where do I start.??? ..I think I’ve gone to over 50 different cemeteries/graveyards this year. He’s some of the Notables, Micanopy Cemetery FL / Miami City Cemetery / Fort Hill Cemetery / Evergreen Cemetery, Fl / Swan Point Cemetery in RI / Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond Virginia / 10 Different Graveyards in and around Charleston SC phewwwwww and well the list goes on..I have about 5 more I plan on visiting to close out the year…Can’t wait for the cooler months :)

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