Location: In the south end of Rochester, Monroe County, New York
Address: 1133 Mt. Hope Avenue Rochester, NY 14620
Phone: (585) 428-7999
Days / Hours: All year. Open daily from dawn until dusk. Office is closed holidays.
Handicap accessibility: Only the main office.
Pets: Allowed, on leash. Must clean up after. Not allowed in any of the fountains or ponds. Dog owners who allow their dogs to roam off leash will be fined. Individuals who repeatedly fail to abide by these rules may be banned from the cemetery. If you observe an unleashed dog, please call 311 to report it.
Accommodations: Maps and information available at the office or entrance kiosks. Restaurants and shopping along Mt. Hope Ave.
Best time to visit: Year-round with fall adding spectacular color (try late October), and winter adding an eerie calm. Spring and summer are best for flowers.
The breathtaking geological landscape, the eclectic mix of monuments in various states of decay and repair – from the well-kept and pristine to the illegible and crumbled, and the tales they all have to tell – make Mt. Hope Cemetery one of New York State’s best locations for photography.
We put together our original page on Mt. Hope based on photos taken in the colorful autumn months and returned the following winter to capture the cemetery blanketed in snow. Spring was our next stop, and a well-anticipated one at that. Although our early spring visits were uninspiring, with muddy ground and bare trees, May brought a burst of spring colors and organic growth to the grounds. During this time the grass rises rapidly, getting a head start on the groundskeepers, and concealing much of the low and inconspicuous stones. Tulips, daffodils, and wildflowers provide glints of color within the predominantly freshly green landscape. Magnolias and various other flowering trees, dot the southern perimeter and nearby grave sites. This is the perfect time to observe the interaction between man-made gravestones and the encroaching nature, whose complement creates much of the character of this place. It’s the management here that has to keep this all in balance. Nature, if left unchecked, easily destroys even the most magnificent monuments.
Despite visiting the cemetery numerous times prior, this visit felt like a new one. Familiar places looked brand new under this fresh growth and the bright yellow-green color of spring. I explored the north-west end of the grounds, adjacent to the Waste Management storage site and traveled around the northern perimeter towards a beautiful and sparsely plotted pine woods near University of Rochester dorms. This section of the cemetery opens up to a beautiful grassy field with one or two trees that are crowded with tombstones that seem to be seeking shelter in the shade. It’s such a stark contrast from the hilly tree-covered topography that characterizes much of Mt Hope.
During my visit, the cemetery was heavily used by persons walking their dogs. That’s perfectly fine that people can get out and enjoy the cemetery as a park, but many of these irresponsible owners had their pets off of the leash, and they were on their own, digging around and causing a lot of noise in this otherwise serene location. It was appalling that I would frequently come across evidence that either the owners didn’t know or didn’t care that their pets had left a little disrespect in the cemetery of all places. It’s a shame, and I hope this will improve as time goes on.
Writing / Photography
Photography / Editing