Winter at Mt Hope Cemetery
Location / Directions / Maps
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.
Life and death in the cold
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 Kelly and I were excited to return and see how the cemetery appeared in winter. Heading out on a calm morning after brief snowfall, I expected solemn surroundings with a nice layer of undisturbed snow-cover. To my surprise, even just hours after sunrise, the grounds of Mt. Hope were painted with signs of life, not something one would expect from an urban cemetery in the middle of winter. Squirrels, bunnies, and even foxes left their prints in the freshly fallen snow. I followed a clean set of fox tracks that wound in and out of family plots and up and down the hilly landscape of the cemetery. The tracks led me around most of the northern grounds. I snapped photos all the way, all while crows and wintering songbirds kept busy in the trees.
I wasn’t the only human visitor there, at least 3 dozen other people came to walk, jog, or photograph that morning. Each said a friendly “hello” as they passed. A fellow photography enthusiast asked about my efforts that day. He was there on a hunt for famous graves to snap shots of. It seems as though, even on a cold morning, the cemetery serves as a popular recreational activity for the community.
The muted colors of winter were prominent, with grays and browns filling most of the gamut for each scene. The cemetery is not without bright colors, as the plastic flowers and wreathes that adorn many graves shine like beacons. Pine trees add a splash of green to the overall monotone landscape, and golden accents can be found in places where fallen leaves of autumn poke through the snow. Although not as vibrant as can be found in other seasons, the scenery here is certainly not barren, and if you explore, there are plenty of photographic opportunities to behold.