A visit to Oakland Cemetery, with its more than 70,000 graves, is not the somber trip you might imagine. You can spend a day threading your way among the tombs on its 48 acres and get pleasantly lost in the history, fine architecture and tranquility in the heart of Atlanta.
There are moments of surprise and even delight as you lean in for a closer look at a tombstone. Whether a simple epitaph — “I loved him, but he burned the candle at both ends” — or a symbolic Victorian engraving, there’s a story there. Sensing these stories and silent histories lends a welcome touch of nostalgia to your walk.
Meanwhile, all around you, especially in spring and summer, the garden is vibrant with life. Blooms, like the pale pink milk-and-wine lilies, droop over stonework, adding a heady scent to the burial grounds. The butterflies, movement, color and supple fragrance contrast charmingly with the chiseled monuments.
And the flowers, pretty and temporal, are quite at home among the memories.