Why Tour Bonaventure Cemetery?

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One of Savannah’s oldest sayings, and always hovering in the Top 5, “You haven’t been to Savannah until you’ve been to Bonaventure.”

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Photo By Shannon Scott (C) 2018

The moment you get to town, you’re going to hear people talking about Bonaventure, as if it’s their coolest cousin. You know, like that one who went to school abroad and took up modeling for awhile. This may sound peculiar or downright bizarre, but if you’re REALLY paying attention to your new cultural surroundings, you’ll start to realize that it’s not so strange and entirely normal. And that to not go, or to not rearrange your schedule for the sake of exploring The South’s most famous cemetery, is truly missing out on the chance of joining a special club. Plus, you wanna meet our coolest cousin same time right?

It doesn’t matter if you don’t like cemeteries. have never toured in one, or history isn’t “your thing.” Trust us. Forget what you think you know or don’t know, open your mind and just let the Bonaventure Cemetery magic happen to you. It defies, then treats. 

Once you make the 10-minute trek from Downtown Savannah to Bonaventure Cemetery, you won’t have any other questions about “Why Bonaventure?”  Or. why almost 1,000,000, annually, make what we call “The Bonaventure Journey.” The massive, plantation era live oaks greeting you will just make one say, “Oh. Wow, now I get it.”  As you start to peer through the entrance, your spirit will take over and before you know it, you’ll be floating through the gates. Then “POOF,” you disappear for what will probably be hours. You know how it goes in your favorite art museum. One marble statue leads to the next, and then security is kicking you out.

Moreover, Bonaventure quickly demonstrates how the famous Savannah downtown in many ways belongs in life legacy, to those buried here. We call it putting faces to buildings. And those human stories are just as wildly colorful and delightfully decrepit as are some of the buildings they once occupied! Really Bonaventure and Savannah will start to feel like the same place. One doesn’t just read the start of a book and then stop in the middle. At least not The Savannah Story anyway. The ending tells much about all of the other parts. Bonaventure is like that. You have to read this story until the end. Then you can go home and speak of your trip with the fullness it deserves. 

People ask, “Well, is it free, and can we go on our own?” Positively. Bonaventure is open 365 days, 8AM to 5PM. But here’s our practical appeal, and yes, sales pitch. It’s a dizzying 200 tree covered and shrub-populated acres. Think cemetery jungle. And the freebie maps are only so useful, which is us being nice. Even for the most confident explorer, it ends up being more like wander-lost. We see many well-intentioned visitors bite off more than they can chew and throw in the towel, shrugging,We didn’t know a tour was available” or “We’ll come back next time.”  We say, “Get it right the first time!”

What we provide is organized, informed and impassioned storytelling wanderlust. Shannon Scott’s Bonaventure Cemetery Journeys has been doing it longer than anyone, more often, and offers more on-site experiences than any other company in Savannah. Click our TOURS tab to learn more!

 

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GivingTuesday For The Bonaventure Historical Society

 

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Although I’ve reservations about some of the controllers and operation tactics of PayPal & Facebook, one has to give credit where its due and there’s no denying how both came together along with the obvious support of the cemetery’s loyal fans to help The Bonaventure Historical Society. When I saw that Facebook and PayPal would be matching funds donated for the first 7 million dollars raised, naturally I sprang into action and launched Gracie’s #GivingTuesday Fundraiser and made the first donation just to see what might happen. Well I couldn’t have been more pleased obviously when I saw us make the $500 goal and then exceeded it by another $245.00. I am unsure if we fell into the “match” areas or not but at minimum, $745.00 wasn’t half bad for a day out with the dead. And in such a small city like Savannah where it lacks overall population, a broad youthful one at that, and then city laws and those budget constraints, every bit extra helps. For some time now, I’ve been adding a donation button to many of my Facebook posts as its an easy thing to add asking for contributions to The Bonaventure Historical Society and also reminds me to donate when I’ve got the spare change! The sad epilogue for me though was learning that the Director, Lee Maltenfort had passed away unexpectedly in August of 2018. As I was visiting my family in Illinois, I received the news rather late and was bummed to think I could not share the good news with him. But in my own way #GivingTuesday, Dec 3, 2018 dedicated to Lee, who was so passionate for Bonaventure like no other really and he will be sorely missed. Like Bonaventure Cemetery itself, Lee Maltenfort was one of a kind and irreplaceable. I’ll write about him soon and Rest In Peace Mr. Maltenfort. We’ll carry on the good work. Please consider making a donation in his name or joining at www.bonaventurehistorical.org

From Left, Greeter Stacy Doty (RIP), Lee Maltenfort (RIP) and Lee’s lovely widow, Judy.