Cemetery Tours

As a companion, or alternative, to a solitary nature walk, consider a cemetery tour.  It may seem strange to suggest this as a family activity, but my son and I have always enjoyed them.  Cemeteries, depending on how one views them, are akin to museums:  they are filled with beautiful works of art and history.

I am in no way suggesting you and your family crash a funeral, but I am suggesting you take in the sights respectfully.  The monuments, mausoleums, crypts, and headstones can be a great gateway into the history of your town.  One of our local cemeteries has sections for those who fell in not only the Civil War, but both World Wars.  It offers a sense of how deep the roots of our community go.

Aside from photography and history, a fun activity is to do gravestone rubbings.  There are plenty of tutorials online for how best to do these.  They are wonderful when researching your genealogy, and not just history overall.

When my son was younger, he used to make up stories about various headstones that caught his attention.  He would go into detailed flights of fantasy about the makers of the tombstones or who it was made for.  This could be a symptom of having a dad who is a writer, I don’t know, but it was, and still is, a marvel to watch his imagination at work.

For as long as I can remember, I have always looked at the people I pass on a daily basis and wondered what their stories were.  It’s the same in a cemetery, and sometimes you get answers.  To quote Pet Sematary, “It’s a place where the dead speak.”