By Dalia Colon for the Orbitz Travel Blog
Some burial grounds give us the creeps. Others are drop-dead gorgeous. Some are both. This Halloween, we explore five American graveyards that offer more treats than tricks.
Built on the site of an 18th century plantation, Bonaventure serves as the backdrop for John Berendt's 1994 murder mystery Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and its subsequent movie. On the second Sunday of each month, a free walking tour highlights the cemetery's history and Southern Gothic-style statues and tombs. Among those buried at Bonaventure are writer Conrad Aiken and Georgia's first governor, Edward Telfair.
This lush, 1899 spot right off Santa Monica Boulevard is steeped in the romance of old Hollywood. The cemetery, which runs adjacent to Paramount Studios, beckons with winding palm-lined paths that take you past a lagoon, stately mausoleums and the burial sites of famed actors and musicians such as Johnny Ramone, Cecil B. DeMille and Jayne Mansfield. Events such as the Cinespia film screenings also bring in huge crowds during the summer months.
Just outside the French Quarter, this 18th century burial ground is the Big Easy's oldest still-operating cemetery. A daily walking tour showcases the iconic above-ground tombs of the city's French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese communities. St. Louis No. 1's ornate architecture is featured in the 1960s movies The Cincinnati Kid and Easy Rider.
Leave it to the hipster city to offer quirky cemetery events like a Halloween tour, headstone cleaning workshop and even beer tastings. The cemetery also features a rose garden dedicated to the women of the Oregon Trail. Among those buried at Lone Fir are many early pioneers who died on the trail, as well as those who survived to settle in Oregon.
The cemetery's design and history are so captivating that they're the subject of an art exhibit at Columbia University that runs through Nov. 1. The main masterpieces are the cemetery's mausoleums, which showcase mosaics, stained glass and marble inlays by some of New York City's most well-regarded artists. Notable residents include newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer, as well as jazz greats Duke Ellington and Miles Davis.
Lakeview is the final resting place of President James A. Garfield, who is memorialized by a 180-foot-tall monument that offers sweeping views of downtown Cleveland and Lake Erie. Another point of interest is the John D. Rockefeller monument, made of a single piece of carved granite. In December, the mausoleum hosts a holiday program of lights and music. And in springtime, the cemetery's "Daffodil Hill" attracts newlyweds, families of small children and others looking for a colorful photo op.
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