Why would anyone go out of the way to visit a graveyard intentionally? In addition to the fascinating stories they contain, cemeteries can be open-air sculpture parks full of one of a kind artwork. They provide habitats for birds and wildlife, as well as arboretums and gardens of surprising beauty. Cemeteries appeal to art lovers, amateur sociologists, birdwatchers, master gardeners, historians, hikers, genealogists, picnickers, and anyone who just wants to stop and smell the roses. Our relationships with the places we visit can be deepened and enriched by learning the stories of those who came—and stayed—before us.
There’s nothing like visiting a cemetery to give you a little perspective, to remind you that every day aboveground is a good day.
199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die visits 48 American states and 58 countries in your back yard and around the world. The hardcover book, fully illustrated in beautiful color, was published by Black Dog & Leventhal in October 2017.
“Once upon a time, we knew that cemeteries were meant for the living as much as for the dead. In 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die, Loren Rhoads does much to restore the cemetery to its proper place as a location worthy of a pilgrimage. From the colorful wooden graves of Romania’s Merry Cemetery to the creative granite headstones in Vermont’s Hope Cemetery, 199 Cemeteries is filled with beautiful examples of posthumous humor, astonishing artistry, and natural settings that rival the world’s best parks. A much-needed book for the curious explorer and budding taphophile (cemetery-lover) alike.” — Dylan Thuras, co-founder of Atlas Obscura
“If you’re like me and find cemeteries a fascinating way to view the real history of a place (or even just a nice, quiet place to eat your lunch), then Loren Rhoads’s 199 Cemeteries To See Before You Die is likely to become a well-worn travel companion. The snappy descriptions and beautiful photographs are just enough to whet your appetite to pack your bags.” — Megan Rosenbloom, director of the Death Salon
“Taphophiles, rejoice! This eclectic compendium is packed with history, eye-catching monuments, quirky local characters, tips on interpreting cemetery symbolism, and fascinating finds. It’s both a useful trip-planning tool and a browser’s delight (although it may turn idle browsers into budding cemetery explorers). Next time someone asks why you love graveyards, show them this book.” — Bess Lovejoy, author of Rest in Pieces: The Curious Fates of Famous Corpses
“Loren’s obvious affection for cemeteries is evident throughout 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die. Her personal appreciation gives life to places most people would consider only to be about death. A must-have book for the budding cemetery traveler and the serious taphophile.” — Lenore of Gothic Beauty
“Loren Rhoads is our fearless tour guide beyond the veil. 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die is a compendium of final and often fascinating resting places—from Viking burial mounds in Norway and Florida’s underwater graveyard to China’s terracotta warriors and the Kentucky Horse Park.
“Beautifully bound with embossed gold, and colorful pages of photos and history, Rhoads inspires that cemeteries can be enriching excursions, offering wonder, and tranquil grandeur. These places are a profound tether to Time, and to those who came — and stayed — before us.” — Jill Tracy