April Vacation Trip

April 2004

It wasn’t long after I came across Dave’s website that I started planning our 

next trip. I knew we weren’t about to go on a flight anywhere, so our next grave 

visit had to be within driving distance. For some reason, I settled on the the 

grave of Chester Arthur. His grave had a very interesting design: A marble 

sarcophagus accompanied by a majestic, aged copper statue of an angel with 

her arm outstretched. And an added bonus: Only about a half an hour away 

were the home and grave of Martin Van Buren. So, I asked my dad if we could 

go during the upcoming February vacation, and he agreed. But to my dismay, 

the vacation came and went. We didn’t go! Every weekend following I asked my 

dad if we would go to the graves, and he said maybe, but it never happened. 

Before I knew it, it was April. I told my dad that we had to go during April 

vacation. I wasn’t about to let another vacation pass by uselessly. Again, he 

agreed, but nothing happened. Saturday: Nothing. Sunday: Nothing. Monday

Nothing. Before I knew it, it was the last day of the vacation. Another vacation 

wasted!! But it wasn’t so. Later that morning, with my sister in tow, we left for 

rural New York.

About three hours later, we reached the small town of Kinderhook, New 

York. Using our new book called Presidents Birthplaces, Homes, and Burial Sites

by Rachel M. Kochmann we found Lindenwald, the home of Martin Van Buren. 

However, when we pulled up, we noticed something strange. It was closed! 

We hadn’t anticipated that at all. Slightly disappointed, we grabbed a 

brochure and headed for the president’s final resting place a few miles away. 

Soon, we reached the old cemetery and made our way over to President Van 

Buren’s grave. While it was very modest, it wasn’t hard to find at all; It was one 

of the tallest grave markers in the cemetery. Several snapshots later, we ventured onward to Menands.

By the time we arrived in the capital city of New York, it was extremely 

overcast. We were hoping the rain would hold on for just a little while, as we 

didn’t have any rain jackets. We were also hoping that President Arthur’s 

sarcophagus would be right out front. Wrong! When we pulled up to the 

cemetery’s entrance, we were greeted by what seemed like an endless sea of 

graves, and none of them belonged to President Arthur. To top it all off, when 

my dad reached for the metal box near the gate to pull out a map, it was empty!!!

We were on our own in a 467 acre cemetery, one of the largest in the state!!! 

The three of us spent fifteen minutes driving around in our caravan with no luck. 

Then suddenly, we spotted the green angel on our right. My dad pulled the van 

over by the grave, and we hopped out quickly. After getting over the temporary 

shock of the astonishing grave, I posed next to the sarcophagus right as the rain 

drops started to fall. I located the grave of Chester Arthur’s wife, Helen, and then 

we split. As we all piled into the van I felt relieved that the whole trip was over, 

yet couldn’t wait for the next one to begin.

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