Wandering in the first garden cemetery in the US…

Sometimes we miss out on things because they’re just too close to home. I’ve recently discovered the culinary joys of eating at Anna Sortun’s Sofra Bakery Cafe in Cambridge and have begun looking for excuses to go back. Waking up to sunshine and the bright yellows, reds, pinks, purples and chartreuses that make spring a happy time for me the memory of Mount Auburn Cemetery came to mind. Although I’ve never been inside its walls, I could see the massive granite gate in my mind; if I time it just right I should be able to find a parking spot on Mount Auburn Street giving me walking access to both the cemetery and lunch.

Timing is everything and technology helps too. Spots near the Star Market were open and Cambridge has a great parking app for those days when I’ve run low on the quarters I still “borrow” from my Dad. This National Historic Landmark cemetery which actually straddles Cambridge and Watertow was consecrated in 1831. Its 70 acres of rolling landscape did not disappoint. Through some trees I spotted what I thought was a tower and headed that way. The Tower on the Hill is actually a monument to George Washington built between 1852 and 1854.

Tackling the 95 or so steps to the top rewards you with sweeping views of the City of Boston to the east as well as Cambridge, Brighton, Watertown and Arlington.

Although some might find it macabre, I’ve always been fascinated by gravestones and the artistry of monumental masons.

I could have spent all day here wandering from path to avenue, up and down hills or sitting on a bench enjoying the solitude, but it was lunchtime.

Arriving at Sofra at noon I expected a wait, even on a Thursday, but to my surprise I walked right up to the counter to order and even found a table outside. I tried the 5 meze choice plate with a pita (from left to right – Beet Tzatziki, Stuffed Grape Leaf with rice, pine nuts, currants and spices, Baba Ghanoush, Whipped Feta with pequillo peppers and a Cous Cous salad). Sunshine and fragrant fresh flavorful food … sometimes the trip around the corner is as memorable as any.

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