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The Most Beautiful Cemeteries in New England

The Most Beautiful Cemeteries in New England
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Are you a Tombstone Tourist? Do you enjoy visiting cemeteries as a destination for the art, history, nature, and serenity? If so, you’re in luck. New England is home to several historic “garden style” or “rural” cemeteries, a landscape style made popular throughout the nineteenth century by combining “final resting place” with a “place of natural beauty,” making them a popular destination for both the living and the recently living. Stroll one of these historic, garden-style cemeteries today and see why we’ve named them the most beautiful cemeteries in New England.

Mt. Auburn Cemetery – Cambridge, MA
Founded in 1831, Mount Auburn is often cited as one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world, and the first of the “rural cemetery” movement that combined cemeteries with park-style landscaping. Walking paths wind between more than 5,000 trees and more than 30,000 monuments, including top displays from early American sculptors. Famous “residents” include artist Winslow Homer, poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and cookbook author Fannie Farmer, though in total over 90,000 people are buried at Mt. Auburn today. Guided tours of the cemetery’s historic, artistic, and horticultural points of interest are available, and well worth it.
580 Mount Auburn St. 617-547-7105; mountauburn.org

If you like Mount Auburn Cemetery you may also wish to visit historic Forest Hills Cemetery in nearby Jamaica Plain, founded in the same garden style in 1848.

Mount Hope Cemetery – Bangor, ME
Founded in 1834, Mount Hope Cemetery in the up-and-coming town of Bangor was likely modeled after Mount Auburn Cemetery’s “garden” style. Its prestige and beauty made it a natural attractive resting place for Maine’s political elite — includes the gravesites of a Vice President, two Senators, eleven Congressmen, two U.S. Ambassadors, five Governors of Maine, eight Civil War Generals, and numerous other prominent Maine businessmen and residents. Whew!
1048 State St. 207-945-6589; mthopebgr.com

Swan Point Cemetery – Providence, RI
Founded in 1846, Swan Point Cemetery’s original 60 acres (now 200) of meticulously maintained grounds, trees, and walking paths have long been a serene sanctuary for many Ocean State residents. Dozens of Rhode Island political and military figures are buried today at Swan Point, including Civil War General Ambrose Burnside.
585 Blackstone Blvd. 401-272-1314; swanpointcemetery.com

Cedar Hill Cemetery – Hartford, CT
Founded in 1866, Cedar Hill was designed to serve as a “rural cemetery” in the style of Mount Auburn Cemetery, with mature trees, walking paths, and gravestones doubling as art. It spreads over three tows (Hartford, Wethersfield, and Newington) spanning 273 acres, including the Northam Memorial Chapel and Gallup Memorial Gateway. Group or self-guided tours available.
453 Fairfield Ave. 860-956-3311; cedarhillfoundation.org

Hope Cemetery – Barre, VT
When the “granite capital of the world” town of Barre, Vermont founded Hope Cemetery in 1895, it was understood that its stones would be something special. Serving as both cemetery and unofficial art gallery, its original 53 (today 65) acres display masterful carvings by many of the world’s top granite sculptors. In fact, a large number of the tombstones mark the graves of the sculptors themselves, and were sometimes even carved by the very artist that now lies beneath it.
262 E Montpelier Rd. 802-476-6245

Aimee Seavey

Author:

Aimee Seavey

Biography:

Assistant Editor Aimee Seavey is a staff writer for Yankee Magazine and assists in the development and promotion of content for YankeeMagazine.com through blogging and social media outlets.
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9 Responses to The Most Beautiful Cemeteries in New England

  1. Kelly Stocking October 16, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    I love cemeteries…not just for the natural beauty of the Earth but also for the history. I love to look at the headstones and read the names of those who have gone before and imagine what their stories are. I am also a lover of old and unusual names.

  2. Angel October 16, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    I think Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, NY should have definitely made the list.

    • Vaun Healey May 7, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

      Brooklyn, NY is not in New England.

  3. theparsley October 16, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    I’m pretty sure Brooklyn is not in New England.

  4. Shannon October 18, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

    I have a beautiful picture of a cemetery in Manchester, NH. One of my absolute favorite places to photo :) . I’d love to send a photo somehow. Real nice fall colors. Beautiful cemetery setting. They do an amazing job there-

    • Tina November 6, 2013 at 7:32 am #

      I know, it’s beautiful and I know there are MANY beautiful ones in NH, one of them should have made the list!

      • Aimee Seavey November 6, 2013 at 9:36 am #

        Hi Shannon and Tina. We chose these cemeteries because they fit the historic “garden style” that was popular during the 1800′s. We think the park-like landscaping makes them especially beautiful, but we’d love to hear about any other cemeteries you think fit the bill. Let us know!

  5. Mary Beth November 14, 2012 at 11:53 am #

    I grew up very close to a small cemetary named Guntown Cemetary as a kid we would always explore it and read the names, it’s not a beautiful cemetary buy very old and supposdly haunted, popular around halloween. Found this excerpt online: One of the oldest cemeteries in the area, the Gunntown Cemetery in the Millville section of Naugatuck, CT dates back over two centuries to 1790, and features numerous headstones from the Colonial era. A smallish plot, it is enclosed by a stone wall and an iron gate

  6. ann December 27, 2013 at 7:16 am #

    Old Willamantic Cemetery is full of history and amazing monuments.

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