Hang With the Dead: Mt. Auburn Cemetery

5 Nov

Washington Tower at Mt. Auburn Cemetery- Most amazing views of Boston/Cambridge

I call my parents almost every night for a few minutes, and during that time my dad and I exchange fun facts (usually centering around sports or my hometown). Also, almost every week my dad send me an envelope containing articles that I may find interesting. They range from an article about the upcoming UConn game to a feature on a ukelele collection in my brother’s college library. The envelopes also usually contain a little money for groceries (the best part!).

During the summer I got one envelope and the only thing in it was a map of a cemetery. Really, Dad? A cemetery? Come on. But to be honest the map was colorful and cartoon-ish so I actually took a look at it.

I was surprised. Mt. Auburn Cemetery looked interesting. There are two churches on the property and a tower. Many famous people are buried there including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Robert Gould Shaw and Fannie Farmer (my parents use her cookbooks religiously). There are also many memorials there including one for Mary Baker Eddy. There are also some monuments, such as a Sphinx that honors the Civil War soldiers who fought and died. After reading the Yelp reviews (which suggested going in the fall- peaceful, calm, relaxing) I was intrigued.

So…I decided to go one afternoon that I had off.

Gorgeous landscape and the Sphinx dedicated to the Civil War soldiers

There are so many interesting graves there and many are in funny shapes. There are some that look like paper (the person must have been a writer) and ones that are shields. Some have babies sleeping on top and some are dogs. Bigelow Chapel was adorable. The climb up Washington Tower was exhausting (although I climbed up some ridiculous towers in Europe so this was nothing) but the views were absolutely unbelievable. Perhaps the best views of Boston (the picture at the top of this blog is from the top of the tower).

Mary Baker Eddy Memorial

A few graves at the cemetery

Bigelow Chapel
Bigelow Chapel

I went and spent about an hour and a half there walking around and looking at everything. I did not see the entire cemetery and I stayed away from the active burial ground. Some people were there exploring just like me, others were taking their morning/afternoon jogs. But everyone was enjoying the oldest landscaped cemetery in the country, even me, which is somewhat surprising (gotta say, the Tower helped).

How to get to Mt. Auburn Cemetery: It is in Cambridge, but not really accessible by the T. I suggest going to Harvard Square (Red Line) and taking either the #71 or #73 bus to Mt. Auburn Cemetery (right at the intersection of Brattle St.). Once you enter the main gate, you can go into the Visitor’s Center and buy a map for 50 cents. I highly recommend that because you obviously want to see the famous (dead) people. But, as always, just wander and explore.

I walked to Harvard Square after, which is a little over a mile. After walking through the cemetery it was too much and I was exhausted, but I would suggest exploring Harvard Square/University a little at the same time. Old cemetery plus old school equals an interesting day for sure.

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