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August 03, 2018

Lunch with the dead at a Victorian picnic in Laurel Hill Cemetery

Breaking bread in graveyards was a 19th-century fad

Food & Drink Picnics
Carroll - Laurel Hill Cemetery Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

A statue in Laurel Hill Cemetery.

There was once a time when eating and relaxing among the dead was a national pastime. 

Before the existence of public parks, many 19th-century Americans picnicked in their local cemeteries.


RELATED: The Ghostly Circus will return to Laurel Hill Cemetery for a fifth year


It might seem strange to us today, but for Victorians, the graveyard was the hot spot to go for a lunch date.

At Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, which was founded in 1836, people would picnic, take strolls, go on carriage rides and sightsee.

Today, the cemetery continues to be a recreational destination by hosting a variety of events on the grounds. On Saturday, Aug. 25, there will be a guided walking tour and group picnic at Laurel Hill.

Spend the morning enjoying the grounds, just as the Victorians did.

Those who plan on attending should purchase a ticket, and remember to pack a picnic and bring a blanket.

Laurel Hill also suggests dressing in Victorian-themed attire to really get into the spirit of the unique event.


An Afternoon Out with Our Dearly Departed: Victorian Picnic

Saturday, Aug. 25
10 a.m. | $12-$15 per person
Laurel Hill Cemetery
3822 Ridge Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19132


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