Saturday, September 23, 2006

Mushrooms, Civil War Reenactments, Whatnot

A gem of a spot in Hartford is Cedar Hill Cemetery, part graveyard, part park, part nature preserve its one of the first ever park-like landscaped cemeteries, made by (and for) the Victorian-Era residents of Hartford. A gazillion and one famous Hartford folk are buried in the ground there, but the place itself is sort of a time-capsule, unchanged by the modern world swirling around it.

A few people I've met who grew up in its neighborhood have told me of its importance to them as city children. Its full of ponds and generations of Hartford kids have skated on them or caught frogs or fish. It is also full of wildlife: I've seen a ton of deer and also heard tales of the bobcats. You would never know you are in Hartford.

Only a few months ago we found a turtle walking down a nearby city street and figured he had wandered out of there. We kept him in a tank for a few weeks and then let him free in one of the ponds. He swam out, circled back and popped up his head looking at us almost as if to ask us if it was alright for him to be there or maybe just to say "so long."

The cemetery has started sort of an outreach thing, getting the community more involved. They are even going to get a sign.

They offer a bunch of programs open to the public. Some of them look pretty great. The next one is a Civil War themed thing, I guess over 40 soldiers who fought in the War Between the States are buried there.

We checked out the "mushroom foray" led by a knowledgeable member of the Connecticut Mycological Society. It was great! The guy showed up wearing a sweatshirt with 30 different species of wild mushrooms emblazoned on it. We left with a plastic bag full of mushrooms that we knew wouldn't kill us ( at least I hope).

Information on the programs can be found at

Although it doesn't say, each event is $5 but well worth it to see a guy with a mycological sweatshirt.

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