Photo Credit: Libby Baldwin The Roche Harbor Mausoleum (also known as the Afterglow Vista) features picturesque cobblestone pathways and an enchanting forest atmosphere among the symbolic grave. This destination is more out of a fantasy than reality, with mighty columns and ornate architecture serving as an entombing rotunda. The Afterglow Vista is a 20-minute drive from Friday Harbor and your bed and breakfast, Tucker House Inn. Offering a fairytale atmosphere, the Afterglow Vista is a popular destination for visitors to the San Juan Islands. Nearby, you will discover some unique history involving a United States president, multi-million dollar yachts, a local cemetery, and the main attraction mausoleum. Here are just a few features you will discover at the Afterglow Vista!
The Afterglow Vista Mausoleum: Open-Air Rotunda
The centerpiece of the Afterglow Vista is the impressive mausoleum. It rises from the top of the stairs as a beacon from the past. Unsettling yet magnificent, this open-air rotunda features massive columns and a unique architectural ring at the top. It looks as if it is a piece of a medieval story. These six pillars and a single broken pillar that is said to represent the unfinished nature of man’s life circle around some stone structures. Here lies a limestone table surrounded by thick stone chairs, which represent the members of the John S. McMillin family to which the mausoleum belongs. This is where they are buried. “Afterglow Vista” is the name that McMillin had etched into the stone arch leading to this monumental burial site. The entire structure holds Masonic significance, including the steps which represent the stages of life.
A Trail Through the Cemetery
Surrounded by the historic Hotel De Haro where Teddy Roosevelt took his favorite baths and the impressive marina featuring giant yachts, the Afterglow Vista stands solemnly. The enchanting atmosphere begins with the entrance to the Afterglow Vista. This trail will take visitors through a local cemetery, featuring ceremonial tombstones among the grassy stretch. The flourishing landscape adds to the ancient feelings that overwhelm the main structure. Along this trail, you will notice names of other deceased locals from the island as you walk deeper into the forest toward the mausoleum. Visiting during the month of October adds a spine-tingling chill in the air to this historic destination.
The formal gardens featured near the mausoleum are quite stunning themselves. While the winding walkways guide past tombstones and toward the awe-inspiring burial site of the McMillin family, down by the water are formal gardens and a sun-soaked marina. You can travel from the forest landscape down to the picturesque formal gardens and marina. Those formal gardens are the setting for many weddings a week during the summer months.