Sunday April 27,
After church we hurried and packed up the truck and took off on the 5 1/2 hour drive to northern New York. We weren't sure how Spencer would do but he surprisingly did well and we only stopped once to feed and change him. We made it to our camp site about 7pm and set up our tent and then headed over to the Hill Cumorah visitor's center. There we learned about all the different church sites in the area and the significant events that took place at each of them. We watched a video and read about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. And we met a sister missionary from Boise who knew some of the same people so that was fun! By the time we were done in the visitor's center it was too dark to walk up to the Moroni statue so we went back to our campsite where Nate made some bomb hot dogs and then we went to bed.
We heard there was a 100% chance of rain that night and I did NOT want to have to deal with that so we decided to try to see everything we had planned in 1 day instead of 2. So once we were up we were moving getting stuff put away and ready to go.
just checking out the campground.
the pond at the campground.
Monday April 28,
Our first stop was back to the Hill Cumorah to walk up to the spire on the hill. It's interesting that at the top of the hill you can look out in every direction and it is nothing but flat lands. It is the only hill for miles and miles. We just thought that was an interesting not-coincidence.
As we walked up the the statue there was 2 younger guys leaving. and as we were leaving we passed an older couple walking up to the statue (they will both come into play later on).
We then drove over to the Palmyra temple and walked around its grounds and admired it. It is a beautiful building with beautiful stained glass of the sacred grove in every window. We tried to get some pictures but because it was early morning the lighting wasn't great so they don't show off how gorgeous it really was.
this was the prettiest stained glass but you cant tell by the pic.
After that we went to the Smith farmhouse and toured there. There was both a log home and I think the other was called the frame home, to tour. The log home was a recreation of the original, though it was on the same foundation. This was the home where the angel Moroni appeared to Joseph for the first time. At the log home we ran into the 2 guys from the Hill Cumorah and laughed how we were just following them around everywhere. We also met up with the couple we had seen as we were leaving as well. They were from McCammon, ID and were on a roadtrip across the country. They had already been gone 3 weeks and were about to head back home.
getting Spence ready.
In the loft where Moroni appeared.
outside the log home.
the house itself.
The frame home was pretty cool as it was 85% of the original home. It was one that Alvin, the oldest brother, had started and then he died before it could be completed and the Smith's had to hire men to finish it for them. This house had lots of neat storied connected to it and was also the house where Oliver Cowdrey came to live with them at before he learned who Joseph was and anything that situation entailed.
I guess I didn't take any pics of the frame house, this is looking from the grove to the Joseph Smith visitors center and log home.
Out behind the house was an old barn where they would thresh wheat. It wasn't the original barn but was one taken from the farm Brigham Young grew up on. Next to that was a "cooper shed" where they would make barrels and other wooden tools or instruments.
One cool story about the cooper shed was that at one point when the mob was after Joseph, he hid the plates beneath the floor boards there. He then had a thought that he needed to move them, so he hid them in the loft above under some straw and wood. In the morning when he came out to the shop, the floor had been completely ripped up and destroyed by the mob searching for the plates, but they hadn't looked up in the loft.
Just beyond the fields of the farm was the sacred grove. I was slightly underwhelmed by it, which was probably a good thing. In my mind I was expecting some giant forest with magnificent trees and green everywhere and wildlife and whatever else. But it was just a quiet little forest like anywhere else. Flowers were just starting to bloom, but the trees were still bare from the winter. It was still peaceful and the spirit was so strong but it was not some place that was so different from anywhere else. I guess to me that was neat because it just made what happened there more real, like it wasn't some amazing spiritual place to begin with, it was made in to that and it helped me realize that we can make our own spiritual places, there aren't just specific places already in planned.
if you can see the rocks in this picture, they were all put there by Joseph and his brothers as a fence marking their property line.
It was awesome to see all these sites, it just made the whole story of Joseph Smith and what he did more real as I could learn about him as an average person and see where he lived and grew.