5 New England graveyards you can visit and tour in October

You can sing sea chanteys, take candlelit lantern tours, and more.

Fall at Mount Auburn Cemetery
Fall at Mount Auburn Cemetery. –Flickr / Bill Ilott

Cemeteries are popular touring spots during October, when fall programming involves ghost stories and candlelit tales of New England’s deceased residents.

Ahead, check out five New England graveyards you should wander through this month.

Sing sea chanteys at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge.

You can stroll through America’s first garden cemetery, Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge. The cemetery, established in 1831, will offer the following programs: On Oct. 27 at 2 p.m., you can learn about the sailors buried at Mount Auburn during a walking tour called “Blow Ye Winds: Maritime Notables and Sea Chanteys.” Participants will be led in song by performer David Coffin, who will teach the group sea chanteys, or work songs heard on the decks of ships in the 19th century. On Oct. 28 at 4 p.m., you can examine the sometimes poetic epitaphs at the cemetery during a program called “Having the Last Word: Epitaphs at Mount Auburn.” (580 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge)

Get up close with 17th century witch trial graves at Old Burying Point/Charter Street Cemetery in Salem.


Founded in 1637, Salem’s oldest cemetery is also a popular stop during Salem’s walking tours due to its connection to the Salem witch trials. You can take a self-guided tour and get up close to the headstones of John Hathorne, who served as an interrogator during the witch trials, Bartholomew Gedney, a physician who was present at several of the examinations of those accused, Mary Corry, the second wife of Giles Corry, who was pressed to death after he refused to stand trial, and Rev. Nicholas Noyes, the minister of Salem during the trials. You can also pay your respects to the victims of the witch trials at the Salem Witch Trials Memorial, which is located next to the cemetery. You’ll find the victims’ names on benches and discover how they were executed. (Charter Street, Salem)

Take a candlelit lantern tour at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford, Conn.

Learn about the residents of Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford, Conn., during a nighttime tour by candlelit lantern. Character actors will spin the tales on Oct. 26 during a program called “Hallowed History Lantern Tour.” The 270-acre cemetery features ponds, meadows, landscaped woodlands, and historic architecture that includes the 1882 Northam Memorial Chapel and the 1888 Gallup Memorial Gateway. If you’d rather take a daytime tour, a guided tour will educate guests about the cemetery’s most prominent residents on Oct. 17, or you can take a self-guided tour during cemetery hours. (453 Fairfield Ave., Hartford, Conn.)

Granite monuments like this one are the norm at Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vt. —Mark Wilson / The Boston Globe

Marvel at the artistry inside Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vt.


You’ll want to get your camera ready for the artwork that’s on display at Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vt., which is enjoyed by tourists year-round. Barre is known as the “Granite Capital of the World,” and many of the headstones and monuments inside the 65-acre cemetery, established in 1895, were sculpted by the deceased artists who now rest there. The cemetery features headstones shaped like beds, soccer balls, race cars, pyramids, and even life-sized sculptures of the people buried there. (262 E. Montpelier Road, Barre, Vt.)

Listen to ghost stories at Point of Graves in Portsmouth, N.H.

Get into the Halloween spirit by exploring the 1671 Point of Graves cemetery in Portsmouth, N.H., during a two-hour “Legends, Ghosts, & Graves Tour,” named one of the five best cemetery tours in New England by Yankee magazine in 2017. The tours are led by local author and historian Roxie Zwicker, of New England Curiosities. The tour also takes guests outside the graveyard, where they’ll visit “haunted historic locations” and view 18th century Portsmouth architecture. Tours take place on Saturdays in October. (Mechanic Street and Marcy Street, Portsmouth, N.H.)


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