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If you’re looking for beautiful sculptures in a serene setting, then Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery is the place for you. While outside of the city, it is worth the short drive to check it out.
We visited Savannah in the hot and humid month of July, but the cemetery is so shaded that the temperature wasn’t so bad. We did visit after lunch, so were visiting in the warmest part of the day.
We really didn’t have a plan when we arrived. I had read about some of the more famous statues, and there are maps available online if you want to find a particular sculpture or grave. We just decided to wander around.
Since John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was released, a book I loved, many people want to see the cemetery featured in the story. You can also visit singer/songwriter Johnny Mercer’s grave.
One other grave gets many visits–the grave of Little Gracie Watson. Gracie was the daughter of a hotel manager in Savannah, and apparently, she captured the hearts of the people of the city. At the age of six, she died of pneumonia. A year later, John Walz carved a life-sized monument from a photograph of Gracie. The story goes that her parents left Savannah after her death, and Gracie was left all alone in Savannah.
There is now a fence around the sculpture to protect it, but you can get a picture through the bars. The popularity of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil had caused Bonaventure Cemetery to have more visitors in recent years. The Bird Girl statue that used to reside in the cemetery and was featured on the cover of the book had to be moved because of the risk of damage by guests.
There are stories that the ghost of Gracie still roams the cemetery and even the streets and squares of Savannah. Patrons often leave toys and gifts at the gravesite, and we did see a stuffed animal on our visit. We didn’t see Gracie, though. Maybe our chances would be better if we were in the cemetery at night; however, I would be a little anxious to visit Bonaventure after dark!
I felt absolute peace as I strolled the lanes of Bonaventure during the day, though. The Spanish moss is gorgeous, and I could have spent hours there. Anyone who makes a trip to Savannah should at least stop by, take a walk, and enjoy the beauty all around. It is a relaxing place that is good for the soul and so inspiring.