My Cemetery Bucket List

I just finished reading 199 Cemeteries to see before you die by Loren Rhoads. it’s a great read, showcasing beautiful and unique cemeteries all over the world. It has me thinking a lot about travel lately. Unfortunately, travel isn’t really in my future at the moment. We are currently in Step 3 of the Ontario reopening plan due to COVID-19. Restrictions have lifted a little and life is getting a little bit back to normal. But, I am not quite ready to do any major traveling just yet. This past year and a half have been hard, and my mind has wandered a lot – daydreaming of visiting far-off places and new cemeteries. 

Reading 199 Cemeteries to see before you die has been helping curb that wanderlust. A little bit. It’s been a nice escape, but my bucket list of cemeteries to visit just seems to be getting longer and longer!

Here are my current top 5 cemeteries I want to see before I die:

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Located in Sleepy Hollow, New York. This cemetery is 85 acres, and is most notably the resting place of Washington Irving, the author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. This cemetery might be best known for its fictional dead people – as the namesakes for characters in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow come from this burial ground. Supposedly even the grave of the Headless horseman can be found here. This cemetery also offers walking tours; The Original Knickerbocker: Washington Irving & The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and The Classic Evening Lantern Tour. You can also pick up a free legal-sized map at the Cemetery office, or purchase a full color 17 x 20 map for self-guided tours.

Website link: Sleepy hollow Cemetery

The Old Burying Point Cemetery

Located in Salem, Massachusetts. It is also known as the Charter Street cemetery. It’s the oldest cemetery in Salem, and holds some connections to the witchcraft trials that took place there in 1692-1693. It has many beautiful slate and sandstone grave markers. I would love to see the detailed deaths heads in person. Some of the more notable people buried here are; Salem witch trial judge John Hathorne, and a passenger on the Mayfower, Capt. Richard More. There is also a memorial to the men and women who were killed during the witch trials. 

Website link: Salem.org

Fairview Lawn Cemetery

Located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This cemetery holds the graves of over 121 victims of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, that happened on April 15, 1912. They are memorialized with granite markers, laid out in the subtle outline of a ship’s hull. There is also a mass grave for the victims of the Halifax explosion that happened in 1917 and war graves of commonwealth personnel from World War I and World War II.

Website link: Atlasobscurea.com

Toronto Necropolis

Necropolis means “city of the dead” in Greek. This historic cemetery in Toronto Ontario, opened in 1850 and is the final resting place of many notable Canadians; Toronto’s first Mayor, William Lyon Mackenzie and Dr. Roy Dafoe, of the Dionne Quintuplet fame. It is also the final resting place of George A. Romero, director of the horror movie classic Night of the Living dead. This large cemetery also contains a cremation chapel. The chapel was erected in 1872, with the crematorium added later, in 1933. 

Website link: Mount Pleasant Group

Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1

Located in New Orleans, this cemetery opened in 1789, it’s the oldest and most famous in New Orleans. Most of the graves are above-ground vaults, following Spanish custom due to the area having a high water table. The most notable laid to rest here are Voodoo Priestess Marie Laveau, and notorious slave owner Delphine LaLaurie. You can also find the future final resting place of Nicholas Cage here.

Website link: The French Quarter.com

Do you have a cemetery bucket list? Tell me about it in the comments!

The road so far

I recently started reading the book 199 cemeteries to see before you die by Loren Rhoads.

It’s a beautiful book, that can be used as a travelogue, that lists must-see cemeteries all over the world. It highlights the history that makes each of them unique. The descriptions are accompanied by beautiful photos as well. I get wanderlust just looking at them! 

It got me thinking about what my tally actually is for visited cemeteries. When I was younger, in the early days of my cemetery traveling, I did not document my cemetery photos that well, and have actually lost a large amount of those photos. They would have been taken with film cameras and an old digital point-and-shoot camera. I may still have the negatives somewhere. 

I remember getting lost in the large cemetery in Guelph, Ontario, but don’t have the photos to prove it. I also remember chatting with the caretaker at the old cemetery in Amos, Quebec, and how excited he was to show me some of the more interesting stones there. I don’t have the photos from that trip either. That is one I really regret, as my Mother is from Amos. In that cemetery, it was amusing to see her turn around in circles, amazed at all the family that was buried there. I really wish to go back to visit there again someday. 

So based on my folders of properly labeled and dated photos, here is the breakdown of how many cemeteries I have visited, so far:

  • Sudbury – 19
  • Ontario – 56
  • Other Provinces:
    • Quebec – 6 
    • Saskatchewan – 2
  • United States:
    • New York City – 2
  • Total – 85 cemeteries

My record for the number of cemeteries visited in one day is 13. Maybe one day that record will be broken, but it has been standing since 2019.

Thanks to 199 cemeteries to see before you die, I have added a large number of cemeteries to my bucket list. Due to the pandemic though, those won’t be added to my tally anytime soon. For now, I will focus on continuing to visit cemeteries close to me. Maybe by the end of the summer, I will have hit 100?

Do you have a running tally of visited cemeteries? What is your number? 

Chute de Philippe Cemetery, Quebec ©2014

Cemetery Appreciation Month

I just found out today that May is Cemetery Appreciation Month.

It’s not an official declaration by any means, but those in cemetery circles have been celebrating; and that is good enough for me! Cemeteries are often seen as taboo, so seeing them celebrated makes me very happy. 

Cemeteries are a beautiful place to visit and right now with COVID-19 ravaging the world, cemeteries are a great place to social distance as they are not often bustling with people. 

So in honour of Cemetery Appreciation Month, I have created a little bucket list for myself.

Volunteer some time to fulfill some photo requests in my area for Find A Grave.com – This is a great way to explore, take some photos and help others. Using Find a grave, anyone can request photos of a particular grave. This is usually used in research, most commonly genealogy.

Visit a cemetery I have not visited before – This is a great opportunity to take a little road trip.

Visit my favourite local cemetery – It’s been at least a year since I have been to Eyre cemetery, here in Sudbury. This is a great opportunity to pay another visit.

Have a picnic in a cemetery – I am taking a cue from a new Instagram account I follow for this one – cemeterylunches “Promoting death positivity one meal at a time”.

Happy Cemetery appreciation Month!