It might seem odd to visit a cemetery, but they are often very beautiful, historic, and tranquil, which Oak Hill Cemetery certainly is. In fact, more than 200,000 people visit this particular historic cemetery on an annual basis and it is even possible to get a tour. We simply enjoyed walking the paths that led us amongst the tomb stones, mausoleums, and tree lined hills. It was a beautiful day and the autumn foliage made it even more wonderful to see. There was only one issue with our visit, we didn’t notice a sign at the entrance that stated that the cemetery closed at 4:30 pm and we ended up being there until 5:00 pm, so we got locked in the cemetery.
When we arrived back at the gate, we were surprised to see it chained up and locked. The fence around the cemetery is very high and not something that can easily be scaled, so great for keeping people out or, in our case, people in. The caretaker’s house is located at the gate, but there is no guarantee that they would be there, but fortunately for us, he was. He was pleasant enough and we probably weren’t the first people to get locked in, but it was embarrassing. Far better to feel a little bit of chagrin than to spend a night in a cemetery with graves that date back hundreds of years.
In addition to the graveyard and trails, there is also the Renwick Chapel in the cemetery. It was designed by the same person who designed the famous Smithsonian Castle, James Renwick. If you do decide to visit the cemetery and are a history buff, you can visit their website, The Oak Hill Cemetery – Washington, D.C. (oakhillcemeterydc.org) to get a map and a list of notable figures from history who are buried there. We’d also recommend that you make note of the current hours in order to avoid getting locked inside.