Historic Eastern Cemetery Tours—Now Available!
Although our regularly-scheduled guided tours of Eastern Cemetery won’t begin until July, why wait? We have docents available now to conduct private tours in advance of the regular summer season. Please Email us with the dates and times of your choosing, and we will do our best to match you up with one of our trained guides (or work with you on alternates dates/times if we cant find an exact match). Please allow 48 hours notice to arrange your private tour —available now through July 4, 2015.
Trained volunteer guides lead an exploration of the 6-acre, 1668 burial ground. Learn about the oldest landscape in Portland, the history of the cemetery, stories about those interred, and examine hand-carved gravestone art and symbolism.
- Meet at the Congress Street gate at 15 minutes early. Guides will leave the site if no one shows up on time.
- Tickets are $10, students and seniors (over 65) $5, children under 12 are free (please have correct change or a check as guides will not have change). Feel free to donate your change to Spirits Alive!
- Tours last about 1-1.5 hours.
- Wear appropriate layers — the wind is always a bit stronger on the hill! The terrain is uneven. There is very little protection from the sun.
- Tours may be canceled because of rain.
- Our guides are volunteers! All funds raised go to Spirits Alive to help us maintain the Eastern Cemetery grounds.
We also can offer specially-arranged tours at a specific date and time for your group.
Email us to inquire about special tours and rates for your group or phone Barb Hager at 207-253-5477. We can tailor the tour to fit the interests of those who wish to attend.
Here is a sampling of past special tours we have conducted:
Art & the Elements
This is a fascinating introduction to the geology of the Eastern Cemetery, including markers and monuments; a brief introduction to early mortuary art (as seen on the stones), and the effects of the environment on the site.
Greater Portland Chapter of Maine Genealogical Society
Stone Transcription Project members trained members and friends of The Greater Portland Chapter of Maine Genealogical Society on how to transcribe information from stones, then the group enjoyed a tour of the grounds.
Association for Gravestone Studies
The 2011 meeting of the Association for Gravestone Studies happened in Waterville, Maine. As a bonus to AGS attendees, Spirits Alive offered a special tour of the cemetery grounds with an emphasis on the stones.
Portland Trails Discovery Trek
Portland Trails hosts a group of guided walks as part of their annual Discovery Trek series. Spirits Alive has proudly offered them a guided walk through the cemetery for several years now in the fall.
Mercy Book Signing
We conducted a special tour highlighting several teen girls who are buried in the cemetery. The book, Mercy, was written about a girl who finds out about a terrible happening because of a gravestone she discovered in her own New England town's cemetery.
We also conduct evening tours around Halloween called Walk Among the Shadows.