Mountain View Cemetary or Chapel of the Chimes

We're looking ahead to setting up a final resting place.  We'd love thoughts or experiences with Chapel of the Chimes and Mt. View Cemetary.  We love walking in Mt View and it's always felt so welcoming -  though less so now as they've limited public access since the pandemic.   They also have construction projects going on that don't seem to be progressing.  We'd be cremated but have a spot selected for us in either place.   Thanks for your thoughts!!  

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Personally, I found the customer service for the cemetery services appallingly bad. We did not have a chapel service because my mom died at the height of the first COVID wave so I don't have experience with the chapel. As for cemetery services, my brother and I were treated with great kindness and patience as we selected a plot. After she died, the service was poor for the average business but shockingly bad given the content area. Would I want her buried anywhere else? No. Just like you, I have happy memories of walking with my mom in the cemetery. When I called to notify them of death an hour after she had died, the first comment was "how would you like to complete your payment?" It continued like that. My experience with Mountain View, from death until stone placement, made a pretty miserable time of my life worse. It wasn't just one person, but my brother and I found the majority of staff to be extremely insensitive.  Also, it's gotten better now, but while it was completely closed to the public, I got a pretty thorough grilling every time I went to visit her grave. The cemetery is gorgeous, but just be prepared that the service after death may not be as sensitive as one would hope. If you and/or the person handling your final arrangement is aware of that, then go for it.

I think both are nice.  My husband's relatives are at Mountain View and we go once or twice a year to visit them. His parents and grandparents are buried on a hill near a big oak tree and his great aunt and uncle are in the large crematorium that looks like a Greek temple.  We bring flowers and they supply brass vases to put them in on the little doors, and outside there are containers for flowers too. It's such a beautiful place and so pleasant to walk through the grounds which are well maintained.  Mountain View has a really interesting history - it was designed in 1863 by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same guy who designed Central Park in NYC.  A lot of famous people are buried there and there are sections devoted to special groups. The Oakland Historical Society does guided walks through there every once in a while that I highly recommend.

My elderly mom passed away in February and we used Chapel of the Chimes to handle her cremation. We had an excellent experience. My mom had not made any plans ahead of time but she had been clear that she wanted to be cremated and her ashes taken to Tennessee where her parent are buried. So we were purchasing the very minimum of services from Chapel of the Chimes. We used them because that is the service that the skilled nursing facility used where my mom lived. The people at Chapel of the Chimes were lovely and were able to meet with us the same day we called them. They handled everything, they did not push any premium services on us or try to sell us anything, and afterwards they gave my sister and me a private tour of the mausoleum and chapel, which was designed by Julia Morgan (who is buried at Mtn View) and is absolutely gorgeous. They host a yearly music festival where musicians are invited to play in all the different little rooms. Both Chapel of the Chimes and Mountain View are hidden gems of the East Bay and well worth a visit.

We toured both for our parents' final resting place. It's not clear from your post if you have already purchased a niche at either or both places, but if not, you should schedule a sales visit at each before you make your decision. Chapel of Chimes is so grand and beautiful, the older portions are like being buried in a Rockefeller mansion, but the newer, available niches are in the newer portion, which has a different feel entirely. We found the niches at Chapel of Chimes much more expensive than the choices at Mountain View. We eventually chose Mountain View because they had recently built a few more outdoor niches with sweeping views of the hills and the bay, and it was just so beautiful. They do have some indoor spaces, but I didn't like the cold feel of the building. I believe the construction going on is to build a reflecting pool (?) with space for more niches, so that might be very peaceful and beautiful too when it is complete.

As for our experience with the funeral services, the rep was verrrry slow to reply to emails and sometimes didn't pay attention to details. I know another poster said the staff was rude, but we never experienced that. Our rep was always appropriately respectful and considerate. He kept offering his condolences and even remembered our parents who had visited many years ago before they passed. We just had to call him over and over again to get things done in time, and we had to be eagle eyed to proof read the inscriptions (multiple typos!). By the way, I think this is how many funeral homes are. We unfortunately have had to arrange a few funerals/burials in the past few years, and all the funeral homes we have dealt with have told us they are swamped, understaffed, and none of them were good at returning calls or emails. But in the end, all the funerals happened, were sad but lovely, and nobody noticed any glitches.

We never had a problem visiting the cemetery at Mountain View. There is a security person at the front, and they always respectfully wave us through when we tell them we are there to visit a gravesite. We go visit our parents' niche often and we love how the niche is outdoors, parking is easy, and the view is amazing. It is such a serene place, a lovely final resting place.