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13 February, 2009

Small Plot Curiousity

Comments : 2 Posted in : Travel Guide for Durham - NC on by : becca

Reyn Bowman, director of the visitor’s bureau for Durham and author of the Bull City Mutterings Blog, posted a piece about the family cemeteries that dot the Durham landscape.  Apparently,  I haven’t been imagining things; there are an awful lot of small cemeteries in this region.

Small cemetery on Ocracoke Island, NC

Small cemetery on Ocracoke Island, NC

I’ve always been fascinated by graveyards.  I love to spend a quiet afternoon in them, though I rarely do.  The last one I frequented with any regularity was a little Jewish cemetery within walking distance of The Archer House, where I spent my last two years of college.  I don’t remember how I know it was a Jewish cemetery but I do remember that a cat used to jump in and out of the headstones occasionally, which was obviously a big draw for a pet-starved college student.

I’d sit on one of the moss-infested stone benches until darkness engulfed me as I’d read whatever was on my syllabus list for that week’s classes.  It was so peaceful and lovely.  I have no idea if I was allowed there but since the gates were often unlocked, I figured it was okay.  Not that the low fence was hard to step over when it wasn’t.

Weeping Willow headstone in downtown Charlotte, NC

Weeping Willow headstone, downtown Charlotte, NC

When I go to a new cemetery, I feel the need to browse the headstones to find the oldest and youngest person interned and also the oldest stone, period.  Of course, plenty of stones have had their inscriptions rubbed away by the weather, so I can never be sure if I’ve found the right one.  And really, I don’t care if I did find it or not, it’s just one of those things I like to do.

Headless Angel grave marker in Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, NC

Headless Angel grave marker in Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, NC

So now I am left wondering if I can take jaunts into the little cemeteries of Durham legally.  I’ve only been to one since we moved here and I came across it while heading off one of the trails in our neighborhood and into an apartment complex.  The cemetery was gated but I let myself in and got that thrill of discovery I so love.  I made Ben look at it too, when we went back to the complex’s tennis courts I had discovered that same afternoon.

Entrance to the confederate section, Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, NC

Entrance to the confederate section, Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, NC

Wish me luck on my upcoming graveyard explorations!

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