Cemetery in a Christmas Tree Farm

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My friend has been researching her family history and visiting the graves of her ancestors. Her recent search led her to some coordinates which pointed to an old cemetery plot that was located in the mountains in the middle of what is now a Christmas tree farm. It sounded like an adventure waiting to happen, so one Sunday morning, my friend, her sister and I piled in the car, made quick stop at Trader Joe’s for some road trip snacks,  and we set off in hopes of finding this hidden cemetery.

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The coordinates took us down the interstate away from the city, and then through some twisting curvy country roads that got smaller and smaller, until we found ourselves way up in the Blue Ridge mountains. We are very much city folk so we began to freak out a bit as our travels took us more and more into the middle of nowhere; into some region of the state that none of us even knew existed.

We eventually turned down a gravel road just wide enough for one car, and followed it to the very end. According to the coordinates the cemetery was just through the woods ahead of us!  The only problem was the big fence surrounding the woods and all the no trespassing signs. There a were a few houses close by and we were concerned someone may call the cops at the sight of a strange car parked on the side of the road. After contemplating trying to find a more secretive way in, we decided just to leave a note and a flower on the windshield explaining why we were there, and then we jumped the fenced and started our trek through the woods.

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We climbed up a giant hill and then came to a barbed wire fence. Just beyond the fence we could see the Christmas Tree farm, with little trees for as far as the eye could see. There was some talk of turning back at the sight of the barbed fence, but the coordinates showed that the cemetery was very close so we crawled carefully through the barbs and continued one.

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We found ourselves on the very top of a large hill filled with little future Christmas trees and an incredible view. The country is simultaneously beautiful and terrifying at the same time.

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As we walked through the row of little trees I glanced to the side, and there I saw what appeared to be headstones! It was the little cemetery!  We could hardly believe we actually found it. And so quickly! My friends laid flowers on their distant relatives graves, and we tried to imagine what it had been like when they lived and worked on this land.

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This was such a peaceful spot.

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On our way back down to the car, we spotted these animal bones!  As we were checking them out, we saw a woman walking down the gravel road, on the phone, staring into the woods towards us!  We were afraid she was calling the police! But then she didn’t seem like she had seen us and began walking away.  We stayed hidden and waited for her to walk further back down the road before climbing over the fence. I didn’t think we would be in huge trouble, but my worst fear when I saw her was that we would have to awkwardly climb back over the fence while she angrily stared us down and I would die of awkwardness. Luckily that didn’t happen and we made it back to the car without being spotted.

Visiting this little cemetery in the Christmas tree farm was definitely quite an adventure. We were all so excited that we were able to find it, and make it in and out without any problems. We travled back down the mountain, ate some pizza at some biker stop right off the Blue Ridge Parkway and discussed the days next adventure..

Cemetery Evening

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There isn’t much daylight left when we get home from work, so an evening walk in the cemetery quickly turned into a night walk in the cemetery.

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I like the Old Salem Cemetery, where the skyscrapers are just barely visible beyond the rolling hills filled with symmetrical headstones.

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Just around the curve, you’ll find yourself on a hill which overlooks another portion of the cemetery, where the symmetry is gone and every headstone is unique.  It is an interesting contrast.

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The cemetery at night feels like a quiet and calming place. Nobody else was around.


(At least nobody that we could see!)

Autumn Cemetery


I’ve always thought cemeteries were a peaceful place. 

Especially on a quiet autumn evening. 
The rolling hills in the Old Salem cemetery are laden with intricate grave stones, and lavish crypts. 

No one else was around, making for the perfect walk, as the setting sun cast a warm glow over all the graves and the crisp cool air began to settle in.





My favorite grave stone is one that takes the shape of two trees, belonging to a husband and wife who are buried together. I like it because it seems like something I would have chosen.




Spending time in cemeteries is good for the mind. A favorite quote of mine suggests visiting cemeteries often, because “To get in touch with life, we must first, get in touch with death.”

A Fog Covered Cemetery





One morning, I looked out the window to see a particularly thick layer of fog covering the 
ground. My first thought was “To the cemetery!” 
I’ve always found cemeteries to be peaceful; a quiet place to wander around, seldom running into anybody else. A good place to think about anything, and everything. All of life’s silly little problems seem to slip to the back of the mind.

The fog hung like a thick blanket. It felt like I was in my own tiny world.















Philosophers have long recommended that we spend more time in cemeteries. To help us appreciate, and understand the fragileness of life. It  was a man named Heidegger who said “To get in touch with life, we must first, get in touch with death.

Giant Cemetery

I was surprised at the amount of cemeteries we saw in Pittsburgh, but the one that really caight my eye when I was looking at the city on goggle maps was this giant one that must have been a mile long! I knew we had to make a stop to check it out.

 It was full of these fancy old crypts.

The cemetery was so large that when you were in the middle you couldn’t see anything except headstones, as far as the eye could see. 

This was mildly unsettling. Was it too keep something out?  Or to keep something IN?

The little roads just kept going and going. While on this road, it kept getting narrower and narrower… But we were on a steep hill so there was no turning around.


 
Eventually the road turned into a grass path, which obviously hadn’t been driven on for quite some time.

 Annnd there was a really steep drop off the other side! It was pretty scary there for a few minutes because we didn’t know if the road would just stop and we would be forced to drive in reverse just to get out of there!  But luckily we got back to the paved road. Whew! I was afriad we were going to end up being part of that cemetery permanently.

Cemetery On A Hill

On our trip to Pittsburgh last spring, we discovered this really neat cemetery on top of a hill overlooking the city in the distance. 

On this particular evening we were driving around trying to find someplace to eat and we soon realized there was a St. Patricks’s day celebration going on…. Hundreds of people with green shirts on filled the streets as they migrated in a drunken, zombie-like stupor to some large gathering. We only saw a few at first, but as we drove on, the numbers increased to overwhelming proportions and we were stuck in traffic as people tried to navigate the crowd and find a free space to park. I felt like I was in some sort of zombie apocalypse movie. Eventually we made our escape by turning down a side road and that’s where we ended up finding this cemetery so it was all worth it!  

Later that night I dreamed about the terrible “green shirts” and how me and everyone I knew were hiding from them in some sort of underground bunker located in a cemetery.. 





We also found a cemetery just for broken old headstones. How sad!!

Icy Cemetery

Early in March we got a freak ice storm. There were a few of inches of snow and ice built up on the road, but for some reason I still went into work!  It was probably the most snow I have ever driven in and I’m still not sure how I made it there in one piece. Only one other person came in though so I only stayed a few hours.

 I work close to this really cool old cemetery, and as I was leaving work, I got the wild idea to stop and take pictures. I usually chicken out when it comes to doing things like that by myself, but I decided it was time to get over that. I did get a little bit weirded out for a minutes because someone was behind me and I felt odd about pulling into the cemetery with someone behind me. (I don’t know!) So I drove right past, I almost went home but then I realized I was being dumb and turned around and went back! (After the other car had passed me of course!)

I’m glad I did, it was a lot of fun. The only downside is that the zipper on my snow boots had broke so my only option was to wear my suede ones. Which is fine for walking short distances, but after about three minutes they were completely soaked and filled with water. 
















The only bad part about the day is when I broke my camera. 😥  I was rushing inside because my feet had gone numb from being soaked in ice water and the lens hit the door. Booo.