Gravesend is so named because of the surprising number of graveyards found here, the largest of which, Mt. Hope Cemetery, along with Beth Abraham and Fairview Cemetery, cover more area than the Bangor Mall shopping center located on the other side of the interstate. The area is primarily residential, containing numerous single family homes, many of which are found on large plots of land thanks to the heavily forested nature of the region. The area is also well known for the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Hospital which is rumored to be one of the most haunted buildings in the state.

Although the bulk of Gravesend is clustered around the Bangor end, with a few small hotels, antique stores, and the occasional warehouse tucked in between the graveyards and houses, it thins out as one continues northeast along Route 2 ('State Street' in Bangor, 'Main Street' in Orono) following the Penobscot River upstream and turns into mostly fields and farmhouses before one hits the college town four or five miles away.

Below are the various places in town:

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