Romantic Things to Do: A visit to a cemetery might not immediately come to mind as a romantic outing, but Bonaventure is no ordinary cemetery. The storied 150-year-old resting place of many of Savannah's glitterati, perched on a bluff overlooking the Wilmington River was once the site of Bonaventure Plantation. Striking sculptures, monuments and elaborate burial vaults adorn the 160-acres dotted by graceful, moss-draped live oak trees. Visitors can explore mid-19th century gravesites with breathtaking views of the nearby river, or venture further to the Greenwich section and hike the area with its reflection pond, river and marsh. The newer Greenwich section was once the scene of early 20th-century silent films.
Best Attractions & Activities: For more than 150 years this beautifully haunting cemetery has captured the imagination of writers, poets, photographers and filmmakers. In 1771 John Mullryne and his son-in-law, Josiah Tattnall owned approximately 9,000 acres of land in Georgia, including 600 acres just three miles from Savannah on St. Augustine Creek. The site became the family plantation, which they named Bonaventure, Italian for "good fortune." A small family plot was established on the grounds, which was to form the nucleus of present-day Bonaventure Cemetery. Purchased as a private cemetery in 1846, it became public in 1907 and since then, the nearly 100 acres have become the final resting place of many of Savannah's prominent residents. Today, the beautiful area perched on a bluff overlooking the Wilmington River is dotted with striking monuments and elaborate burial vaults lined by ancient oak trees. In 2001 it was named to the National Registry of Historic Places. Tours of the cemetery are conducted on weekends.
Sightseeing, Free Things to Do, Historic Sites: This storied 150-year-old cemetery, perched on the bluff overlooking the Wilmington River, is at once beautiful and haunting. The final resting place for may famous Savannahians, among them lyricist Johnny Mercer and poet Conrad Aiken, the 160-acre cemetery features striking monuments, elaborate burial vaults and grand live oak trees. Visitors will enjoy exploring the gravesites, many of which date back to the mid-19th century, and taking in the breathtaking view of the nearby river. While visitors will have plenty to keep them occupied in the main section of the cemetery, those who want the full Bonaventure experience should also visit the cemetery's Greenwich section, which requires a drive or hike around neighboring Forest Lawn Cemetery. The journey is well worth it: among the treasures in the Greenwich section are a reflection pond that was used in several early 20th-century silent films and a scenic view of the river and marsh.
Local Expert Amy Pine Says:
Sightseeing, Free Things to Do, Historic Sites: "If you're not up for navigating Bonaventure on your own, take a tour of the cemetery with Shannon Scott Tours. The company's daytime and evening tours give a fascinating glimpse into the cemetery's history and folklore."
Best for Sightseeing Because: Bonaventure Cemetery is arguably one of the most picturesque burial grounds in the Southeast. The 19th-century cemetery has breathtaking river views and fascinating historic tombstones.
Best for Free Things to Do Because: Overlooking the Wilmington River and teeming with breathtaking live oak trees, Bonaventure Cemetery is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in Savannah--and anywhere.
Best for Historic Sites Because: Historic Bonaventure Cemetery has gravesites dating back to the mid-1800s including those of several notable Savannahians. The cemetery's live oak trees and waterfront views are magnificent.