map

Bonaventure Cemetery

icon-location-red

0.00/5 - (0 Votes)

Attractions Details

📌 Address

330 Bonaventure Rd, Thunderbolt, GA 31404, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps

0.00/5 - (0 Votes)
expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit Bonaventure Cemetery near dusk, when the setting sun casts beautiful shadows through the Spanish moss, providing an ethereal atmosphere unique to this historic site. Also, while there, look for the secret garden area adjacent to the Johnny Mercer plot; it's a less frequented spot that offers a tranquil space to reflect away from the main paths."

What is Bonaventure Cemetery?

Bonaventure Cemetery is more than just a final resting place for the dearly departed. It's an outdoor museum whispering stories of Savannah's past through its elaborate tombstones, statues, and winding pathways. Situated on a scenic bluff overlooking the Wilmington River, this 100-acre cemetery is famed for its haunting beauty, historic significance, and the Southern Gothic atmosphere that pervades its extensive grounds.

Our Most Popular Tour:

All-Inclusive
The Ultimate Wine Country Experience

Always pictured yourself wandering through rows of grape vines, sun shining down, glass in hand, smelling those rich berry notes? Well now’s your chance t...

US$699/pp Learn more

As a burial ground, Bonaventure isn't just a collection of graves; it's a verdant sanctuary of live oaks and Spanish moss that seems suspended in time. Enveloped by such natural splendor, it has captivated visitors for generations. It came into the spotlight with the publication of John Berendt’s book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," where it played a significant role and has since earned a spot in the heart of many who’ve wandered its paths.

History of Bonaventure Cemetery

Bonaventure’s history stretches back over 150 years, but it began not as a cemetery but as the plantation of John Mullryne. Ever since it was established as a public cemetery in 1846, Bonaventure has borne witness to the ebb and flow of Savannah's history, enshrining the lives of notable figures including poets, politicians, and generals.

During the plantation era, the site was already steeped in legend and social gathering before transitioning to a more solemn purpose. A little-known fact is that during the American Civil War, no battles occurred at Bonaventure, but it did house a blockader named the USS Water Witch, captured by the Confederates in 1864. The transition from private estate to public cemetery marked a significant turn, transforming the landscape into a storied tableau of remembrance.

Why is Bonaventure Cemetery Important?

Delving into its importance, Bonaventure Cemetery is significant not only for its art and architecture but also as a cultural and historical touchstone of the South. The cemetery encapsulates a peculiar blend of beauty and melancholy, reflecting the Victorian era's attitude towards death and remembrance. Each headstone tells not only a story but also illustrates the social and artistic movements of the time.

Additionally, Bonaventure's allure transcends history to have considerable influence on literature and art. It plays muse to photographers and writers seeking inspiration among its stately monuments and has been featured in cinema. Serving as a pivotal setting in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," Bonaventure has become somewhat of a character in its own right, attracting throngs of visitors who want to experience the atmosphere that played such a central role in the narrative.

Things to Do & See at Bonaventure Cemetery

At Bonaventure, it's not just about paying respects; it’s about exploration and discovery. Visitors often embark on self-guided tours, following maps to graves of notable people such as Johnny Mercer, the famous lyricist, and Conrad Aiken, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet. I'd suggest taking it slow, allowing the stories etched in stone to unfold as you meander.

Don't miss the iconic "Bird Girl" statue, although it now resides in the Telfair Museum for preservation due to its fame from the cover of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." Nonetheless, there are plenty of other evocative statues and mausoleums to admire. For those a bit more adventurous, guided tours offer hidden anecdotes and historical insights that you wouldn't stumble upon on your own.

Our Top Trending United States Tours:

  • All-Inclusive

    Chicago Downtown Highlights Private Walking Tour

    US$189/pp Learn more
  • All-Inclusive

    Boston Walk Through History Tour

    US$279/pp Learn more
  • All-Inclusive

    Chicago Instagram Tour: The Most Famous Spots

    US$599/pp Learn more

And, if photography is a passion of yours, the cemetery provides a rich canvas of contrasts and textures, especially during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset when the light plays through branches and moss to create an ethereal setting. Remember, Bonaventure isn’t just a place to visit; it’s a place to experience—a living story where each visit adds a layer to your understanding of Savannah and its storied past.

Frequently asked questions

What is Bonaventure Cemetery?

Bonaventure Cemetery is a public cemetery located on a scenic bluff of the Wilmington River, east of Savannah, Georgia. It became famous when it was featured in the novel 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil'.

How can I visit Bonaventure Cemetery?

Bonaventure Cemetery can be visited by the public, and it's open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are guided tours available, or you can explore on your own.

Is there an admission fee for Bonaventure Cemetery?

No, there is no admission fee to visit Bonaventure Cemetery. It is free and open to the public.

What are some notable features of Bonaventure Cemetery?

Notable features of Bonaventure Cemetery include the historical statues and tombstones, the ornate mausoleums, and the peaceful, picturesque landscaping. It is also the final resting place of notable figures such as Johnny Mercer and Conrad Aiken.

Are there any special rules or etiquette I should be aware of while visiting Bonaventure Cemetery?

Yes, visitors should respect the quiet nature of the site as it is a place of rest. There is no littering, and pets must be on leashes. It's recommended to stay on the paths and avoid touching or leaning on the headstones and monuments.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

330 Bonaventure Rd, Thunderbolt, GA 31404, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps