A Short Hike on a Maine Island Leads to a Real-Life Pet Cemetery
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
So many of Stephen King's works have reached iconic status. One of those works is "Pet Sematary", a twisted tale about a doctor and his family struck by tragedy followed by poor decisions. The title would suggest that the action centers around a pet cemetery. Instead, it's an ancient burial ground beyond the pets that unleashes terror throughout the book. But with so many of King's works rooted in a little bit of his own life in Maine, is there a real pet cemetery? The answer is yes.
There's actually several pet cemeteries in Maine, and one that truly stands out is located on Mackworth Island. According to MaineTrailFinder.com, the pet cemetery on the island is the resting place for all the beloved animals that belonged to former Governor Percival Baxter. Baxter is know for many things in the Pine Tree State, including buying and donating the land that eventually became Baxter State Park. Baxter's ties to Mackworth Island are also substantial. He owned a summer home on the island, and believed the island to be one of the most beautiful places on the planet. That's why he decided it would be the perfect resting place for his beloved pets.
Finding Percival Baxter's pet cemetery isn't a challenge once you're inside the park. There are clearly-marked paths that will lead you in the direction, and some additional worn paths that will lead you directly to the unique destination. On a warm, sunny day, the pet cemetery is a gorgeous tribute to furry friends. On a chilly, cloudy day, you can't help but think back to that signature line from Pet Sematary: "maybe dead is better".
Shared on Facebook by Beth Basham, once you've discovered the pet cemetery, you can piece together the history behind the stones. Baxter was a renowned breeder of Irish Setters, and kept generations of them as his own personal pets. He also had a beloved horse named Jerry Roan. All of his 13 Irish Setters and Jerry Roan lay buried at Baxter's pet cemetery on Mackworth Island. The cemetery itself is enclosed by a rock wall for safe keeping and now serves as a creepy yet thoughtful aesthetic for hikers passing by, as shown in this photo shared on Facebook by Donald Bates.