Today is Halloween.
Our modern Halloween is said by some to be a quirky combination of the Church’s eve of All Saints Day, Latin America’s Day of the Dead, and England’s Guy Fawkes Day. Despite a backlash against Halloween in some corners, trick or treating can teach kids a thing or two about hospitality and history (throw in a little travel and it gets even better…cue Jennifer sighing as Mark mentions history).
Halloween comes with a preoccupation for cemeteries, and what better place to glimpse the past than among those who lived it?
(Jennifer’s sighing just got a little louder…)
Here in North Carolina, we have a number of towns where the past is not just the past but is still with us in ways that just seem to work. Faulkner wrote, “It’s all now you see. Yesterday won’t be over until tomorrow and tomorrow began ten thousand years ago…”
Beaufort, North Carolina is one of those places where it’s all now (mention of Beaufort, Jenn’s perking up a little…)
Old handmade wooden boats are docked beside sleek and soulless yachts, and the 18th Century was just yesterday when the good men of Beaufort took up arms and fought back an invasion of rogues and pirates.
And yesterday won’t be over until tomorrow.
A block off Beaufort’s waterfront, on the north side of Ann Street between Turner and Craven Streets, is the iron gate guarding the entrance to Beaufort’s oldest cemetery, popularly known as the Old Burying Ground.
Nestled among live oaks and azaleas between the Methodist, Baptist, and AME Churches, the Old Burying Ground dates to the early 18th Century just after the founding of Beaufort.
The Old Burying Ground is maintained by the Beaufort Historic Site, and guided tours are available.
We think the best way to enjoy the cemetery is strolling along by yourself in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is breaking through the live oaks at that perfect angle.
The Historic Site makes such a walk easy with this map to the Old Burying Ground.
As with many North Carolina Halloweens, today is going to be clear, with deep blue cloudless skies. The water is still warm around Beaufort and the summer crowds are long gone. The fishing is amazing (even the whales have figured it out).
Get yourself to Beaufort on this Halloween and stroll around the coolest cemetery in North Carolina.
And never forget to:
Relax…you CAN get there from here!