If I were a hammer…


I’ve only seen an anvil headstone in one other place, and that was up in Woodinville, Washington. According to the Gravestone Symbolism site, in addition to representing a blacksmith, anvils metaphorically symbolize the creation/forging of the universe. And isn’t interesting how the horseshoe to the left is pointing down, showing that all the luck has run out?

This one is located in my new favorite graveyard at Graveyard Winery.

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The graveyard at Graveyard Vineyards

Graveyard Vineyards 2

I promised you some symbols for January and what better way to start things off than by introducing you to a really neat place I visited down in Paso Robles, CA; Graveyard Vineyards.

Paso Robles, CA (about 40+ miles from Hearst Castle) is making its mark as one of the places to visit for wine. If you prefer boutique wineries to big, sprawling corporate ventures, Graveyard Wineries is about as boutique as you’re going to find. After all, few wineries can claim their own historical cemetery.

Graveyard Vineyards 1

According to the website: “This landmark began back in the 1860’s, when the surrounding area of land was the town of Estrella and the original landowner donated an acre of his property for the new First Presbyterian Church. Once the church was built, the landowner’s wife passed away and was buried next to the church, creating the “graveyard”. Many towns’ people followed suit until the church burnt down in 1896. Neither the town of Estrella nor the church lasted, but the little graveyard continues on to this day. It is now named The Pleasant Valley Cemetery and is cared for by community volunteers just as in the 1800’s.”

The actual cemetery is rather small, but just about all the stones are well-preserved, including the carvings. I chalk that up to the dry, hot weather. There were several interesting examples of symbols I’ll share throughout this week – here’s one of the better known ones out there.


And no, this symbol does not mean, “pull my finger”.

Rather, it symbolizes the hope of heaven, of going to a better place.

When you do get around to visiting the tasting room at the top of the hill (and you really should), don’t forget to look down at the flagged walkway leading into the main area. It’ll give you a good idea of just how devoted some of the vineyard’s followers are. I particularly like the brick on the upper left that was given by the local homicide department.


Oh, and as far as the wine goes? I recommend the Paso Tombstone White and Red. If you love dessert wines, then you absolutely cannot go wrong with a chocolate port-styled concoction aptly named Deliverance.

Wine and cemeteries. What more could you want?




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Year-end countdown: The #1 most popular post

And finally, weighing in at the #1 spot for 2014:

The Nation’s Longest Graveyard

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Year-end countdown: The #2 most popular post of 2014

And the 2nd most popular post?

Wash a stone, restore some history

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Year-end countdown: The #3 most popular post of 2014

And the third most popular blog post award goes to one of my personal favorites:

Now About that Cemetery in the Backyard

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Year-end countdown: The #4 most popular post of 2014

The 4th most popular post on the BTG blog is:

The Titanic’s Real J. Dawson

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Year-end countdown: The #5 most popular post of 2014

Counting down from #5 to #1, the 5th most popular post on the BTG blog this year is:

The ghost town of Bodie, CA.


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