The Seaside Calls


One girl's mission to escape monotony

Brontë Country | West Yorkshire, England

“I bounded, leaped, and flew down the steep road; then, quitting its windings, shot direct across the moor, rolling over banks, and wading through marshes”

-Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

Most of the Brontë sisters’ writings include descriptions of the Yorkshire moors, and they were truly a sight to behold. I felt like I was in Jane Eyre, or Wuthering Heights! After I’d had enough of the beautiful surrounding landscapes, it was a short car ride to the village of Haworth, where the Brontë sisters lived and died.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the Brontë sisters, I’ll give you a little background:  Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë  were stereotypical Victorian girls. Charlotte and Emily, as well as their older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, were sent away to school in early childhood, three years after their mother passed away. They remained there until Maria and Elizabeth became sick and died. Charlotte and Emily returned home to their grieving father, brother, and little sister, Anne. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne turned to writing, and their works were heavily influenced by their own heartbreaking experiences. They all gained fame by 1847, their most notable works being Jane Eyre (written by Charlotte), Wuthering Heights (written by Emily), and Agnes Grey (written by Anne). Unfortunately, like most Victorians, their lives were cut short. Emily caught a severe cold at her brother’s funeral in 1848, which soon developed into tuberculosis and killed her at the age of 30. Anne died the following year of tuberculosis, at the age of 29. After six years without any of her siblings, Charlotte became ill and died three weeks before her 39th birthday, with her unborn child.

These photos are of their home, their grounds, the church they attended, and the church’s graveyard. Unfortunately, cameras were not allowed inside the home, which now serves as the Haworth Parsonage Museum, but it was fantastic and full of amazing treasures and artifacts from the family’s time on earth.

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The Brontës were not buried in the church graveyard, but within the church itself. All except Anne, that is, who passed away in Scarborough and was laid to rest there.

Here you can see the names of all of the men who led the local church over the years, including the girls’ father, Patrick.

It was a melancholy experience getting to see this beautiful area fraught with such a tragic history, but I am a lover of the dark and disturbing, and this was one of the best places I’ve ever visited.

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Graceland Cemetery | Chicago

Day 1 In Chicago

Half of my family live in Chicago, so I usually visit the city at least once a year. Having been so many times, I wanted to skip the usual attractions and explore corners of the city I’d never seen before. So, naturally, I asked my cousin to take me to a cemetery. I was not disappointed. Graceland Cemetery is one of the largest and grandest graveyards I’ve ever had the pleasure of strolling through. Well, in this case, it was less like strolling and more like trekking. The grounds span nearly 120 acres, so we spent about 3 hours wandering in the horrible humidity of June. I kid you not, the cemetery provides maps for its visitors because it’s so easy to get lost.

The History

Graceland Cemetery was built in 1860. After the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, many of the bodies which were originally laid to rest in Lincoln Park were transferred to Graceland. Unlike our usual dark and gloomy idea of cemeteries, Graceland was designed to have a comfortable, park-like atmosphere. During the 1800’s, this was actually quite common. When people felt like spending time outside, they would often go for walks through their local graveyards. Victorian-era cemeteries were made to feel welcoming. Unlike the tight, ordered rows of graves in modern cemeteries, the Victorian graves were purposefully placed in an irregular manner, leaving plenty of space for visitors to weave through them as they walked. 

Notable Graves

Here lies Inez Clarke, daughter of John and Mary Clarke (although there is some speculation that she is actually Inez Briggs, Mary’s daughter from a previous marriage). Legend has it that Inez died when struck by lightning, either during a picnic or while being locked outside. They say that her statue disappears during lightning storms because poor Inez is so afraid.

Here lies Dexter Graves. He died in 1845, and was one of the bodies moved to Graceland after the fire. His remains are guarded by a terrifying statue entitled, “Eternal Silence”, which was created by Lorado Taft in 1909. There’s a legend that if you look into the figure’s eyes,  you will be given a vision of your own death.

See anything?

             Jack Johnson

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that this woman’s name was Olive Branch? 

I love finding graves without a death date, especially when there is no possible way that they could still be alive. I like to imagine good ol’ Marie enjoying her golden years (she’d be 128 as of 2016) sipping mimosas on some beach in the Bahamas.

Sorry, kids. Santa has been dead since 1914.

Other Highlights 

Graceland Cemetery, final resting place to so many of Chicago’s elite, was so overwhelming. So much land, so many spectacular graves, some of which don’t even seem like they could possibly be in Chicago. Overall, I give this cemetery an A+, but, if you plan to visit, I suggest that you avoid going on one of the hottest days of the year, because you will be miserable.

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The Road Trip Along The Southern Coast | Iceland

Day 5 In Iceland

The Day Trip Down The Southern Coast

The day started out with me going to pick up my rental car and meeting up with my Icelandic friend Teresa. After we had picked up the car, we grabbed a quick snack and then headed out on the road towards Vik, a small town about three hours away. The whole way there, everything was gorgeous (including us, of course)!

Me & Teresa!
Me & Teresa!

Seljalandsfoss

About halfway to Vik, we stopped to see this waterfall, Seljalandsfoss.

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Teresa told me that children will often eat these weeds because they taste like sour apples... I forget the exact name but it translates to something like "sour piss", because dogs like to pee on weeds... which she waited to tell me until AFTER she made me eat some.
Teresa made me eat a leaf of this weed and told me that children like to eat them because they taste like sour apples. It’s called “hundasúra”, which translates to “dog sour”. When I asked her what the significance of the name was, she laughed and said, “it’s because dogs like to pee on them!” It would have been nice if she had told me that BEFORE I ate it.Seljalandsfoss

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Dyrhólaey

Okay. If I had to choose one place that truly captures the full essence of Iceland, it would be Dyrhólaey. I could see so many natural wonders surrounding me. The beautiful and mysterious basalt columns of Reynisfjall Mountain to the East. The black sand beach to the South. The iconic Dyrhólaey cliffs to the West. Mýrdalsjökull glacier to the North. Absolutely breathtaking.

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Reynisfjall Mountain
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This set of three jagged rocks is known as Reynisdrangar. In Icelandic folklore, it is said that these were three trolls who were turned to stone when the morning sunlight shone down on them over Reynisfjall Mountain. Does that remind anyone else of Lord of the Rings?
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Dyrhólaey means, “the hill island with the door hole”, referring to the hole in the arch of this cliff. This location has been used in several films, including Noah (2014).
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Mýrdalsjökull glacier

Dyrhólaey Cemetery and Church

We accidentally stumbled upon this cute little church with a cemetery, and, because I’m obsessed with cemeteries, we spent some time there. I did quite a bit of research on it, and though I did find a few other people who had found it, they all seemed to have mistaken it for Vik Church, which is located a few kilometers away… So I’m going to call it the Dyrhólaey Cemetery and Church.

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Dyrhólaey cemetery