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Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston has everything from creepy to inspirational

Looking for a place to walk in Boston? Try Forest Hills Cemetery
Looking for a place to walk in Boston? Try Forest Hills Cemetery 02:57

BOSTON - If you're looking for a way to enjoy the outdoors, but at the same time break away from the usual routine, there's just the place for you in a cemetery in Boston.

Where is Forest Hills Cemetery?

Tucked in a small area between Franklin Park and the Arnold Arboretum is the Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain.

The 275 acre parcel of land features manicured landscapes, beautiful structures, and rare works of art. Visitors are encouraged and free tours are given.

It's a lovely place if you don't mind the headstones.

Forest Hills Cemetery was founded in 1848 by Henry Dearborn. Back then, most cemeteries were for the rich and connected. Dearborn had a different vision. Initially, plots were given away at low or no cost to the working class. Over the years, it's grown in size and scope.

Who is buried at Forest Hills Cemetery?

"Architecture, abolitionists, artists, just a wide variety of people of interest that are interred here," cemetery director George Milley told WBZ-TV.

The cemetery features impressive sculptures, a half dozen from the designer of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

"We're very fortunate. We have the largest collection of Daniel Chester French memorial sculptures in the country, we have 6 pieces," Milley said.

The Dearborn Pavilion is a welcoming, landscaped area that features a stonework gazebo that attracts all sorts of people. It's also an expansive mausoleum.   

The Dearborn Pavilion at the Forest Hills Cemetery in Boston.  CBS Boston

"Many times we'll come by and there will be people sitting underneath, reading or having a coffee. On occasion we'll have kids' groups playing instruments under there," Milley said.

The girl in the glass

There are more haunting attractions at the cemetery, like the "girl in the glass."

"Upon her passing, the family commissioned a local sculptor to sculpt a full-size likeness of her in marble," Milley told WBZ.

WBZ's Chris Tanaka (left) with the "girl in the glass" and Forest Hills Cemetery  director George Milley. CBS Boston

From creepy to inspirational, there's a little of everything at Forest Hills. Boston College graduates will recognize an eagle sculpture atop a headstone that was the basis for the golden sculpture that greets visitors by the main entrance on campus. There are also highly symbolic pieces like the Fireman's Lot which is the location for an annual memorial service.

Tours are offered during the warmer months and visitors are asked to respect the grounds. Dogs and bicycles are not allowed. For more information, go to the cemetery's website.

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