Getting Buried in Fairfield historic bike tour Oct. 21

Getting Buried in Fairfield, a 10-mile bike tour exploring six historic local cemeteries and changing burial practices since the town’s founding in 1639, is set for Saturday, Oct. 21. The guided bicycle excursion, departs from the Fairfield Museum, 370 Beach Road at 9:30 a.m. and is open to the first 30 cyclists who register at

It is sponsored by the Fairfield Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee and the Fairfield Museum and History Center.

The cycling tour is priced at $5 for Fairfield Museum members and $8 for nonmembers. Participants will assemble in front of the Museum by 9:15 a.m. for orientation and depart promptly at 9:30 a.m., returning along one of Fairfield’s designated bike routes by noon. The rain date is Sunday, Oct. 22 at the same time.

The journey begins with a stop at the Old Burying Ground on Beach Road where the town’s oldest identifiable grave marker dating back to 1687 is located. It continues to the Fairfield East Cemetery on Old Post Road and the West Cemetery on Post Road near South Pine Creek Road. The group will then travel in a northerly direction past two more cemeteries and Sturges Park, a former cemetery, before heading up the Bronson Road hill to Greenfield Hill Cemetery now under restoration near the historic Frederic Bronson Windmill.

“We’ll be discussing the gradual evolution of burial practices in Fairfield from simple stones marking the graves of colonists, revolutionary war and later war veterans, paupers, slaves as well as members of the town’s founding gentry whose family names, such as Burr, Jennings and Merwin, now mark very well-traveled town roads,” said Walter Matis, program and volunteer coordinator for the Fairfield Museum, who will narrate the tour.

“We’ll see the influence of the arrival of immigrant groups of various faiths, the industrial revolution and the progression from stark grave yards to landscaped, park like settings designed to evoke a serene and spiritual environment.”

Keith Gallinelli, chairman of the Fairfield Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, noted that people interested in the “Getting Buried in Fairfield” bike tour who don’t own a bike should consider the free Fairfield BikeShare Program now operating at Zane’s Cycles, 1215 Post Road, Fairfield.  

The tour is open to cyclists age 14 and older who wear helmets and are capable of completing the ride. Cyclists not wishing to pedal up the Bronson Road hill to the Greenfield Hill Cemetery can opt out at the halfway point, where there will be an energy bar snack and rest stop at the Ogden House outside of Oak Lawn Cemetery, another stop on the tour.

Old Burying Ground, the oldest cemetery in Fairfield. —Photo by Don Hyman.

Old Burying Ground, the oldest cemetery in Fairfield. —Photo by Don Hyman.

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