Bella Vida by Letty

Road Trip: Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia
Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia

A recent road trip led me to Georgia’s oldest city, Savannah. Established in 1733 this seaport city is rich with history, culture and things to see. The local government makes it apparent it is committed to protecting and preserving important landmarks by doing a consummate job of maintaining its many parks and squares.

One interesting place I visited was the Bonaventure Cemetery. This particular cemetery was incorporated into the city’s park system in 1907 but the land has been in use as burial grounds since 1847. Like a few other places in Savannah it’s famous for being featured in the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia
Tree lined dirt paths at Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia

At the entrance of the cemetery a red brick building built in 1918 serves as the Bonaventure Administrative Building and headquarters for the City of Savannah Department of Cemeteries. Inside I was greeted by a small white haired lady balancing the largest thick black rimmed glasses on her tiny nose intent on having me sign the guest book. I politely conceded.

The navigator in me immediately gravitated to the giant map on the wall at the visitors center next to the podium where the guest book rested.  The cemetery’s location was at the very  edge of the Wilmington River making it the first thing I wanted to see, the view of the water.

To get there we drove past rows and rows of gigantic live oak trees draped in Spanish moss. Trees that were already well established long before the cemetery. You could feel their strength by noticing their growth. Wide, tall and twisting to survive everything man and nature has done to them for over 250 years. The cemetery takes advantage of tree lined roadways to provide access and separate the major cemetery sections.

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia
Wilmington River Savannah Georgia

The scenic shore at the Wilmington River turned out to be as lovely and picturesque as I imagined it. Once I saw the watercourse and the movement of the city beyond bright green banks I felt a peaceful calm wash over me. Colossal trees held city noises back leaving us with nothing but the loud buzzing of cicadas which at times can be deafening when they decided to hum together. While the trees could protect us from the suns direct light there is nothing in the world that can beat back the humid sweltering midday heat of the south.  One in the afternoon at the height of summer was incandescent.

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia

I wasn’t sure how it would feel to be in an old cemetery where the final remains of writers, poets and confederate soldiers had been laid to rest. Not because of the many ghost stories of howling dogs seen roaming in packs after midnight or statues of little girls that cried tears of blood if you didn’t leave a trinket because I love ghost stories, especially making them up.

I just knew I did not want to disturb the energy that has been accumulating there for hundreds of years.  Before the cemetery there was a plantation which the owners lost during the American Revolutionary war.  Then during wartime it became a hospital before becoming a plantation again. This land has seen many come and go.  Today it continues to receive and entertain a steady flow of visitors.

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia

Kicking up dust we drove slowly down the dirt paths trying to avoid the few other visitors there on that day.  I didn’t want any distractions.  I didn’t want to have to wait.  I just wanted to snap away with my camera quietly and spontaneously.  Combing the graveyard with a curious eye and listening intently, always listening.  Walking a little making sure to take care where I stepped I discovered many interesting tombstones, headstones, vaults, statues and dedications.  Some were simple while others wildly elaborate or obscenely huge.

I know I don’t care for elaborate tributes when I’m gone. I’d rather enjoy a shared laugh spending quality time together while I’m here.

In the meantime enjoy these images I captured and were the ONLY things I brought back with me from the Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia.

Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia
Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah Georgia


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