Run Like Hell…the name beckoned….Run Like Hell through a haunted cemetery–the beautiful, otherworldly Oakland Cemetery just before Halloween?? Yes Please!!!
Last weekend, The Man and I enjoyed a costumed 5K run through Oakland Cemetery in Midtown Atlanta. We’ve been exploring our new city as tourists in our own backyard and this seemed like a riot!! As we entered the cemetery, The Man (who was alarmingly un caffeinated) spied a sign that read “BAR” and tried to sneak away before the run started. I batted my eyes and kept an eagle eye on his presence until the start of the race…. I noticed the name, though, Six Feet Under, and thought it was a brilliant name for a restaurant overlooking this haunted, historic resting place. The code words Cold Beer – Catfish – Raw Bar drew me in!
Oakland Cemetery was founded in 1850 as a city cemetery with only 6 acres. It quickly grew to 48 acres by the Civil War period (which caused massive burials in the city for soldiers). There are 70,000+ residents at the cemetery, 40,000 markers, 12,000 bodies who remain nameless and markerless, and 3,000 unmarked graves. You’ll notice that many of the markers resemble beds as this is their place of rest. It’s historic….and it’s haunted!!!!
When I was a kid, I just loved ghost stories–they were just so….tragic! I would sit for hours listening to my Grandma Jean and my aunts tell of ghosts and haunts they encountered. Every time a new Weekly Reader book order form would come to our class, I would scour the contents for ghost stories…of people who just couldn’t let go of this earth to move to the next…
In November, on the anniversary date of the night Sherman left Atlanta during the battle of Atlanta, witnesses have heard a confederate roll call….yes…a roll call AND answers by the soldiers. All those unnamed Confederate Soldier residents making their presence known….
Mr. Jasper Newton Smith, who sits above his marker in his favorite chair has been known to rise up out of his comfy resting place and stand watch over the cemetery.
The visitor’s center, once a private residence, has an invisible sentry pacing through the office at night…heard, but not seen…
All this activity is reported to commence after the park locks the gates at 8pm…
On certain nights of the year, however, the cemetery runs twilight tours for visitors who seek a close encounter of the paranormal kind.
At Oakland Cemetery, many notable people rest in peace among the magnolia trees. The golf great Bobby Jones rests here as does the star of the show (in my book) Ms. Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind (to book of my absolute favorite movie).
M. Mitchell created Miss Scarlet O’Hara…my hero…the one who taught me how to network and how to turn with a proper flip of the skirt…. (don’t judge me, I’m absolutely charming). Mrs. Mitchell died as a result of a speeding car driven by a drunken taxi driver–driving on the wrong side of the road.
After the 5k and after our short cemetery tour (which Oakland Cemetery offers throughout the year with different themes for about $12 per person), Six Feet Under beckoned us like a lighthouse signal. I was delighted to see that they had a rooftop bar overlooking the cemetery……..
AND that they offered half bottles of my girl, Veuve Cliquot’s champagne. The day just couldn’t get any better than this! Our delightful server made a makeshift ice bucket out of this giant blue enamelware mug. I was a happy girl! Happy Saturday to me!
The Catfish Tacos were a delight. They were cooked to perfection with a nice, crisp cabbage, jalapenos, and this crazy, lovely wasabi sauce…..mmmm-MMMMM!!! Oh and that fried whole okra with it’s super light batter…. And you KNOW I snuck in tastes of The Man’s side of this yummy cole slaw (it was so pretty as I spied it going to other tables that I was wishing all my wishes some would end up at our table!!). His catfish platter was delicious and well prepared.
After posting our food adventure on Facebook, many of our new ATL friends remarked this was one of their favorite places. Apparently, a return is needed!
Becky Lukovic is a new transplant to Roswell, Georgia. She is an expert in gourmet and wine travel (she eats and drinks all over the world) and has been a custom travel advisor for over fifteen years.