LOVE STORIES OF OAKLAND
A SURPRISINGLY ROMANTIC TOUR TAKES OVER OAKLAND CEMETERY FEBRUARY 10 AND 11
When it comes to romantic Valentine’s Day date nights, a cemetery might not jump to mind as the most appealing venue. But for the last several years that it’s held the Love Stories of Oakland tour, Oakland Cemetery has proven otherwise.
“We’re always looking to change the conversation about what a cemetery is, how you can learn at a cemetery, and we thought it would be really fun to do it on Valentine’s Day weekend,” says Marcy Breffle, education coordinator at the Historic Oakland Foundation.
The hour-long tour makes 25 stops throughout the Victorian garden cemetery, where a guide shares the stories of Atlantans past. From storybook romances to tales of familial bonds, all kinds of love—and people—are celebrated here. For this year’s tour, Breffle freshened up the lineup with a selection of all-new stories, and there are plenty to choose from: Oakland Cemetery is the final resting place of more than 70,000.
“There are some people on this tour who weren’t famous generals; they didn’t build skyscrapers in Atlanta, they didn’t write novels like Gone with the Wind. They were everyday people, and we still want to remember and recognize them,” says Breffle. “We want visitors to know that there’s so much history here and that everyone can make history.”
Love Stories has become such an attraction that two additional themed tours are now offered throughout the year: one on Mother’s Day weekend and another at the end of summer. Oakland also partners with local Grant Park restaurants to encourage visitors to go out to dinner at the end of the tour.
The event also serves as a fundraiser for the Historic Oakland Foundation. “For a lot of people, if this is their first time in Oakland, it makes them want to come back, and it makes them want to become members of the Foundation and come to more events,” says Breffle. “We want to share this place with everybody, and we want everyone to realize what a treasure Oakland is.”
STORIES: Claire Ruhlin
Photo: Pamela Henman