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Monday, July 18, 2016

#Microblog Mondays: Interesting Discoveries

Bryce and I just returned from our summer vacation -- a wonderful New England kite-shaped trip that involved Salem, Massachusetts, Augusta-area Maine, and Grafton, Vermont before heading back to Western New York.

Something we do frequently is go to old cemeteries. I love old cemeteries, and Bryce REALLY loves old cemeteries. We love the history, the epitaphs (for me the more Victorian and morbid the better), the feeling like maybe we're "visiting" stones and memories of people who haven't been visited in a long, long time.

We found one of the oldest we've been to in Salem:

Burying Ground in the center of Salem.

But then when we went to Grafton, Vermont and Manchester, Vermont, we noticed something interesting.

Grafton Vermont cemetery

Factory Point Cemetery in Manchester, VT

Do you see the tiny purple flowers? That's not grass, that's a creeping thyme! It made the most wonderful scent when we walked on it, and there were honeybees everywhere.

I didn't think it could be a coincidence, and my theories were that it was a good groundcover that you didn't have to mow and it smelled nice.

WELL.

I found this post here about how thyme has a long history with death, but in older cemeteries it is indeed a great groundcover, and it was meant to mask the odors of, well, death.

The things you learn when traipsing about in cemeteries from the 1700s on vacation.

The Grafton cemetery again, super gloomy and Victorian looking.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!

25 comments:

  1. Aren't those old cementaries so cool? We've been slowly exploring the ones here. I've never seen gravestones like these and it always causes a mental time warp.

    Very interesting about the thyme!

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    1. They so are! Nothing like a good, old, New England cemetery. And we never ended up in Boston, there was so much to do in the Salem area we just decided to soak that all in. So another trip, another time, another opportunity to hopefully meet you in person! :)

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  2. I work within a couple of block of one of the oldest cemetaries in Chicago. I've spent some of my lunch periods walking about. Indeed, fascinating.

    Love the thyme. :-)

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    1. What a great place to spend some of your lunch! They are really neat. We have the cemetery where Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony are buried (separately) here, and it's just beautiful and park-like, a great hike in fall especially (and very hilly from all the glacial stuff). I bet your cemetery is amazing, too!

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  3. That's very interesting. The smell of death being masked by living things. Bob and I also have a fascination with cemeteries especially the ones we come upon on our trips. I'll pay attention next time.

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    1. Yes...absolutely a beautiful way to cover up some of the unpleasantness of death. I'd be so curious if it's a regional thing or all over where the thyme carpets the spaces between the stones.

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  4. Now I have "parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme" going through my head. It is interesting and kind of awful to think about a time on the past when death must have been a much bigger presence in the lives of almost everyone.

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    1. Ack! Such an earworm! :) We had "Tiiiiime, is on my side, yes it is!" in our heads the whole time in Manchester. It is always sad to think when there are large quantities of people with similar death dates, and how an illness like the flu could take out large numbers of people all at once. Definitely makes you respect and feel grateful for modern medicine.

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  5. I love old cemeteries too! I did just learn about the thyme, as the celebrant for my mother's funeral brought some thyme to scatter on her grave, though we preferred the roses we'd taken, because her maiden name was Rose.

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    1. How interesting about the thyme, and beautiful about the roses. I guess it's outside of New England then! ;-)

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  6. So cool! I love stuff like this too. My uncle does a lot of genealogy and I love going on exploring missions with him to find old headstones for ancestors.

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    1. That is such a neat idea! I never thought to look for people I might ACTUALLY be related to, although it is a kick when you find stones with names similar or identical to people in your family. The epitaphs are my favorite part. So many morbid rhymes from those Victorians in particular, or sweet notes, like one more modern one that just said under the name and dates, "A Very Special Friend."

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  7. Excellent! Cool "old thyme" trivia!

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    1. Har har, great pun! :) Neat, right? I liked the linked post in particular for all the interesting information it contained.

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  8. Oh, wow. That's so fascinating about the thyme. Next time I'm in a historic cemetery, I'm going to have to see if I can spot the flowers.

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    1. Isn't it? Tell me if you see it elsewhere! I'd love to know if it's a widespread tradition. I haven't seen it here in Rochester, just up in New England, and I only just noticed it this trip, even though we've been to both those cemeteries multiple times over the years. So maybe we DO have it here and I just never looked closely enough...

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  9. I love cemeteries, too, but I didn't know that about thyme. If you guys ever roadtrip down to DC, Harpers Ferry has a great, old cemetery with lots of ruined stonework from old buildings. Plus it's on a hill overlooking the river.

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    1. Oh, that sounds amazing! I love old cemeteries. There's one in Buffalo I've been wanting to go to that has a large pond of sorts in the middle. The Harpers Ferry one sounds amazing!

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  10. That is so cool! I have always loved loved old cemeteries. It's one of the first thing my husband and I bonded over.

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    1. How awesome! They really are an underrated thing to explore. So much history, and art through the stones, and even poetry.

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  11. That's fascinating! I hope we get to hear more aobut your trip! I probably already told you this, but I really want to do a New England road trip at some point. So in the meantime, I'm tagging along through your photos. ;)

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    1. Absolutely you should do a New England road trip! It's a beautiful place, with each state and region offering something new and different. It's amazing to me how Vermont woods are different from Massachusetts woods are different from Maine woods. Maine woods are distinctive for sure. Old New England cemeteries though are pretty similar, just different in their locations. I look forward to sharing more about the trip and swaying you further into coming that way... :)

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  12. Too funny - when you posted this, I was on vacation in Pennsylvania with my family, and only returned to New Hampshire this past Friday. And I believe it was Monday that we passed a super cool cemetery, and I told hubby I wanted to make a point to go back and photograph it when we weren't in such a hurry - guess what we never got to do. *pout*

    Awesome pictures! Next time you're up this way, you should add Gloucester (and Hammond Castle) to your itinerary. Glad you had fun!

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  13. My husband has family on Cape Ann in MA, and to get from their cottage to the beach, we had to walk through and old graveyard. Others were creeped out, but I always though, "wow. There are a lot of stories buried here."

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  14. Another person who loves tramping around old cemeteries, whether or not I have ancestors buried there. :) The only one I've found remotely creepy was the Old Burial Ground in Halifax, which dates back to when the city was founded in the mid-1700s. Lots of huge old trees and tombstones with skulls on them, etc.

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