Oscar Wilde called Bonaventure Cemetery "incomparable", and with good reason. The cemetery, first made famous by the best-selling book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is laced with 27 miles of azaleas and sits on 100 acres of plush low-country real estate nestled on the Wilmington River. French for "good fortune", the cemetery was once a lavish plantation for the Mullryne family and is a must see attraction when visiting Savannah.
The land that was once a stately plantation is now owned by the city and the final resting place for some of Savannah's most iconic residents such as poet Conrad Aiken, "Little Gracie" and legendary musician Johnny Mercer. With over 100 acres of burials navigating the cemetery can be challenging, even for seasoned visitors. Thankfully, there are a few companies in Savannah that provide Bonaventure Cemetery tours complete with round trip transportation.
"Tour Bonaventure" is one such company. Boasting climate controlled shuttles and convenient departures from the Savannah Visitors Center, the company provides a much needed service for the throngs of visitors who come to Savannah without their personal vehicles. "The cemetery is about 5 miles outside of the city and can be difficult to find. Most GPS devices still don't have the address listed", says company manager Ashley Crook. Harder still, says Crook, is locating the high points of a cemetery comprised of an immense landscape dotted by Victorian headstones and hand carved architecture.
The natural beauty of Bonaventure isn't contained simply in its natural beauty and famous grave-sites though; it is also home to the work of master sculptors like John Walz. Tours of Bonaventure give sightseers the chance to photograph the intricate carvings and funerary symbolism that were hallmarks of Walz and his contemporaries.
Bonaventure has been a celebrated attraction in Savannah for over a century and no trip to Savannah is complete without seeing it firsthand. Bonaventure Cemetery is open from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. 7 days a week. Round-trip tours depart at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Tuesday thru Sunday from the Savannah Visitors Center at 301 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Reservations for the guided, transportation tour are required and can be reserved by calling 912-665-4258.