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.