This 24-acre, obelisk-studded cemetery contains winding walks and 19th-century gravestones set into the hillsides of Rock Creek. It’s a fantastic spot for a quiet walk, especially in spring, when it seems like every wildflower in existence blooms on the grounds. James Renwick designed the lovely iron gate pillars and charming gneiss chapel.
The 2017 publication of Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders' bestselling novel, has sparked renewed interest in the cemetery. Literary fans come to seek out the Carroll family mausoleum, which temporarily held the casket of Willie Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln's young son who died of typhoid in 1862. In the book, the grief-stricken president visits the crypt and holds Willie's body (which supposedly happened in real life), as the cemetery's residents rise up to watch and deal with their own anguish. The cemetery office has a map with the vault's location. If you've read the book, the setting is quite evocative.