Sunday, July 31, 2011

Oh Lincoln, I Love Your Face

Awesome-nap time-hair face

Whiny face

Nerd face

I'll-scream-if-you-don't-let-me-eat-with-my-hammer face

And my personal favorite...
Diggin'-For-Gold Face

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Palmyra... 9 months ago

This is part 3 of our trip back to DC/NY last October. Yes, I'm a tad behind on some of my posts. But there are just some posts I can't leave behind. This is one of them.

So picking up from the last post on New York, Ben and I rented a car on Tuesday (October 19) to drive up to Palmyra. We left Eastchester in the afternoon and I remember it taking about 6 hours or so to get to Palmyra where we stayed at the Inn at Palmyra. My favorite part of the drive? It was right at the peak of autumn and the drive was gorgeous! It's amazing how thick and green it is back East, so beautiful and vibrant in the fall. My least favorite part of the drive? All the toll roads - they're everywhere! The Inn at Palmyra was a really nice hotel to stay at and it was nice to be close to everything we wanted to see the next day.

The next morning we woke up bright and early and make The Sacred Grove and Joseph Smith Farm our first stop.

Here we are right outside the visitors center at the Smith Farm. The mums were everywhere and gorgeous.

After the visitors center, we first saw the Smith Log home.

This is where Joseph Smith lived with his parents and siblings in his youth and where he lived in 1820 when the First Vision occurred. My two favorite parts about this cabin were (1) thinking about how many people lived and functioned inside that small cabin. It makes me grateful for all that I have and at the same time makes me realize that we really don't need all that we think we do and that there is beauty in simplicity. And (2) being able to look out the back door of the cabin and see the sacred grove and realize that is probably where Joseph Smith walked out that morning of and that view is what he saw as he left that morning to approach the grove.

Ben standing in front of the Sacred Grove. It looks a little dead from the perimeter but it was so beautiful and full of color from the inside.

Just down the gravel road from the log cabin you can see the Sacred Grove on one side and turn around and see the Palmyra Temple on the hillside. A sister missionary told us that the Celestrial Room overlooks the sacred Grove.

Opposite the Sacred Grove - The Palmyra Temple

Just a little ways down the gravel road is the Smith fame home where the family moved to from the log cabin.

Inside the kitchen and dining area of the frame home. The sister missionary talked about Jospeh Smith living here when he found out the 116 pages had gone missing and this is right where he would have been pacing back and forth, worried. It was also in this home that the gold plates were hidden under the hearth of the fire place to keep them protected.

Right outside the fame home was this out building, where they made barrels for their syrup. The gold plates were also hidden here.

I know, yet another picture of us... this one shows the pathway out to the grove, though, so I couldn't leave it out. The frame house is right in front of us and the barrel-making out-building is on the right and the grove is just a ways down the trail that is behind us.

Taking a break while Ben was in the bathroom, just on the pathway up to the grove. Lincoln was so good the whole time and even fell asleep making it that much more peaceful.

Mama's boy

This is just inside the oldest part of the grove.

Obviously it hasn't been revealed where exactly inside the grove the first vision occurred, but there are 6 trees in this section of the grove that are the biggest and oldest that existed in the grove when Joseph Smith was living here.

What I loved about the grove was the overwhelming Spirit that I felt there and complete reverence for Joseph Smith and the restoration of the gospel. I loved that I could sit and envisions the events that unfolded there.
I loved that Ben and I were pretty much by ourselves almost the whole time. We walked around for about an hour only seeing people as we were on our way out. The Sacred Grove was Ben's favorite part of the whole trip.
I loved how cozy it was in there. There were still green leaves above and a carpet of red, orange , yellow and brown leaves underneath us. And it smelled so good in there, like that sweet smell of leaves on the ground... maybe that's the smell of them rotting? I don't know, but it smells wonderful either way.

See the carpet of leaves? I'm not sure that my feet ever touched the dirt because the leaves were so thick in there.

This was along the back of the grove. This is part of the original rock wall that ran along the back of the Smith's property.

Ben and Linc taking a break.

Ben took this shot because he loved the fern and the moss growing there.

We loved this mottled leaf that was so bright and colorful. If I could have taken any leaf home from the Sacred Grove I would have chosen this one. :)

Taking another break, we found a place to prop the camera so we could actually get a picture with all of us in it.

Our next stop that day was the Grandin Printing Shop where the first copies of the Book of Mormon were printed. This was right in downtown Palmyra. I had never thought much about this process, but it was amazing to me to hear all of the miracles that took place in this process and to see the hand of the Lord in the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.

After seeing the Grandin Press we had lunch just a block away at a little pizza shop. And we also went to see the cemetary just around the corner from here where Alvin's grave.

Then from there we drove out to the Peter Whitmer farm. Actually, Ben drove while Lincoln and I slept. :) It's a little ways out there but the country is gorgeous to look at.

Here's the picture of a replica of the Peter Whitmer cabin where the church was officially organized in 1830. Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery also completed translation of the gold plates here.

From there our next stop was Cummorah's hill, but we decided to stop at a Mennonite Store before heading that way. I think I would be shopping at Sauders if I lived anywhere in the area. I loved how fresh it was!

While there we picked up a bird house for the Parkers (who were watching Logan this whole time), a couple jars of Triple Berry Jam (delicious!), a couple jars of Pumpkin Butter, and a big jug of Peach Cider.

We also found these (and did NOT buy...)

And pumpkin Whoopees (in memory of Katie and Mel), which we DID buy. Yum!

Then it was time to head to Cummorah's Hill. The sun was setting just as we got up there and it was gorgeous! See?

The Hill Cummorah is a drumlin (type of hill, yes I learned that in Geography my freshman year at BYU-I :) so it is very sudden and steep. The front side of the hill where we walked up (on paved pathways) is grassy and groomed and so pretty.

Me and Linc at the top monument with more mums.

Once at the top there is a monument to look at and read. Then you can go back the way you came up, or you can walk down the pathway on the back side where it is wooded.

Ben and the monument

It was getting dark quickly so we walked down the wooded side and it was so neat to imagine what it might have looked like when Moroni was burrying the plate there, or possibly when Joseph Smith was there recovering the plates.

After visiting the Hill Cummorah, we ate dinner before driving on to Buffalo.

This is me with that dang peach cider that I bought at Sauders.

We had to drink it all that night because we knew we couldn't take it with us on our flight home. It wasn't as good as we expected, but were stuck with a whole jug of it, so we made our best attempt to drink most of it, and we kept the jar which now houses Ben's coins.

Once in Buffalo we checked into a hotel LATE at night, put Linc to sleep, and repacked our bags to be flight-ready. Then we slept maybe 4 hours, until 4 am when we woke up to get ready and catch a shuttle to the airport for our early-morning flight.

We are so thankful for the opportunity we had to see all the the church history sites that we did. Being there in person helped make those events that much more real to me and I loved all of the sister and senior missionaries that we met along the way. I had been there with Katie just a couple years ago, but it was really neat to be there with Ben and experience it all together.