Friday, January 24, 2014

The Last Post About my Trip...I Promise!

I have been to New York! Not the big city part by any means, but a beautiful part nonetheless! Sarah served her LDS Mission in the New York-Utica Mission which is just East of Palmyra. She was having major flashbacks as we drove along. Lots of rolling fields and trees everywhere. The trees are in groves, all clumped together because much of the land has been cleared for farming. As with Toronto, if only I'd been a week or so earlier I would have seen some amazing fall colors!

 Every farm it seems,has a bright red barn, and everything is so tidy and well kept!

 Sarah said it was bringing back memories of her mission, driving out on country roads all day looking for a random farm or home to visit. Not a great use of time, "tracting" in the countryside!

 We had a hotel room reserved near Fayette because we had planned to visit the Peter Whitmer farm, but we ran out of daylight. We changed into our jammies and ate our Maple Leaf Fudge instead!
(Milk Chocolate & Maple!)

The next morning we made a hard decision. There was only enough time to see Palmyra or Fayette, not both, before heading to Buffalo for the airport. Of course I chose Palmyra. I am determined to bring Dee back someday and we can see it all.

The Smith Farm in Palmyra, New York is a historic site for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph Smith Sr. and his family built the log home in 1818 on Stafford Road near Palmyra Township. This is not the original home but was carefully rebuilt on the original foundation.
In the background you can see the Visitor's Center.

Notice the rough cut logs. President Gordon B. Hinckley insisted that the log home be built with only tools that would have been used in 1818 so that it would be as authentic as possible.

It was here that Joseph Smith Jr. was reading the family Bible one day and received some scriptural direction as to how to have his questions about religion answered.

 Here are the downstairs beds where the parents and younger children slept.

 The stairs to the upper floor are to the right of the fireplace.

 This is the girl's room in the back part of the upper floor.

You can see the girls room behind me. I am standing next to one of the boy's beds.
This is the room where Moroni came to young Joseph three times in one night to tell him about the plates of gold buried in the Hill Cumorah and the great work he had to do.
 This is the sweet Sister Missionary who gave us our tour.

Another one of the boy's beds.

 I took this as we went back downstairs so you could see how tight and narrow the stairs are.

There is a grove of trees behind the house, far from the road. This is where young Joseph went to pray for the answers to his questions about which of all the churches was the rights one to join.
We call this place "The Sacred Grove".

 As we walked from the log home to the white frame home I took this picture of the Palmyra Temple across the road. It is so beautiful! I wish I had thought to take one the night before

This is the frame house that Alvin Smith was building at the time of his death. It is the original house, still standing. The Smith family moved into it two years after Alvin's death and later Hyrum and his wife Jerusha lived there.

Alvin was able to finish this room completely. It is the front room to the right of the entry.

It was pointed out to us that he was known for being a perfectionist in his craftsmanship.
The timbers in this room are smooth. There are no rough cuts anywhere. Everything fits perfectly.

 On the other side of the front hall we saw the finish work that Alvin's brothers did after his death. Hmm...not so much perfectionism here!

Front-left room, a sitting room.
Some of the translating of The Book of Mormon took place in this room.

 In this sitting room is the fireplace and hearth where Father Smith pulled up the bricks and hid the sack with the gold plates. This was the first of my "ah ha!" moments. This is where it happened.

Mother Lucy's kitchen. I could spend some time in here! My kitchen may be modern and all but this is just so perfect. I love old houses so this was a wonderful room to me!

 The sink is carved out of stone. Her view was out the front window where, if she stood there today, she could see the temple across the road.
 Imagine what she would have thought if someone had told her that!

Lucy's kitchen hutch. I am in love...
 These are the stairs. The upstairs was not part of our tour. I don't know if they do take people up there but we requested a shortened version.
The pantry room is to the left of the sink.
 The girl's bedroom is next to the pantry room. This is the room where Joseph's two sisters hugged the plates between them and feigned sleep while and angry mob searched their house. They were at least gentlemen enough to leave the "sleeping" young ladies alone.

 There are several out-buildings.If I recall correctly this is the barrel making shed

 This barn is not original but was donated by the owner who knew that Brigham Young's father had built it. Cool!

Here are hollow stumps for smoking meat.

 Joseph hid the gold plates in this building first in the loft, then feeling uncomfortable with that decision, he hid them in a barrel of flax below.

I wish I could recall the sister missionary's name. She was wonderful and gave us her testimony and a sweet spirit to take into the Sacred Grove. She took this photo of us and sent us on our way.

 I expected an overwhelming feeling to come over me. You  know, burning bosom and all. But it was not that way. All through the grove I simply felt warm, loved, and at peace. I had already received the burning testimony many years earlier. The spirit I felt in the grove was a sweet confirmation that what I believe to be true really is. It happened here. It felt right and good.

This is where the trail divides. If we had gone further back, the walk would have been much longer. We took the closer trail because I had a plane to catch.

Sarah has been here before. She pointed out that many years ago the trees in the grove were dying off. Nobody could figure out why until someone familiar with the way things should be in a forest pointed out that the church needed to stop cleaning it up! For decades groups had come through on service projects and raked the leaves, picked up the branches and dead logs, and left a 'pristine' looking Sacred Grove. Well, even a sacred place needs rot and decay to feed the soil and keep healthy trees! The woods now are in a natural and undisturbed state, other than the walking trails.. I loved it.
Sarah also pointed out that there are several extremely old trees in the grove. Maybe they were there when the Smiths lived here. The caretakers will not tell you which ones they are though. Smart.

 I love this girl! My faithful missionary daughter, my lover of books and theater, my source of knowledge for all things medieval! I pray for God's blessings to be with her always!

Just up the road, 3 miles or so, is the Hill Cumorah and the Visitor's Center. We didn't have time to go inside. I am determined to bring my husband back someday and take more time.
 This is the view of the hill from the road. Most of the wooded area is on the back side.

 We climbed on the trail to about mid-level. The view is beautiful. Again, here in this sacred spot I stood and felt at peace. I tried to picture not only Joseph and his many trips here but also the ancient Prophet Moroni so lonely, climbing this very hill to place the records he had so carefully kept in a safe place

Oh yes, another selfie because we are awesome! Can you see the monument behind us?

You might think it's lame that I didn't go to the top. I was fine. It was enough. What happened here, it really happened. I know this with all of my heart. The witness of the spirit is a very strong thing. It cannot be denied. I love my Father in Heaven. I know He lives. I know His son Jesus Christ is the Savior of the World. The Book of Mormon is another witness and testimony that He lives.

After we left Cumorah we headed west to the airport in Buffalo.
I have always wanted to say it...
I got to shuffle off to Buffalo-o-o!!

My week with Sarah was so fun and amazing and a totally new experience for me. I am a western girl, born and bred. I had never at this point been farther east in the US than Wichita, Kansas or San Antonio, Texas to the south. Of Course we lived in Washington and I have been up to Edmonton, Alberta, and down into Tijuana, Mexico (Woo Hoo!)
 but that is the extent of my travels.
I fell in love with the countryside in New York, and I really really love old Toronto.
 I can see why Sarah loves it there so much.
I just wish it was closer!


Norman and Sveta said...

Havin read the blog, I share your feelings about what you experienced there. On Dec. 8, 1983, I entered that grove of trees and felt not an overwhelming feeling of the spirit, but rather a calm assurance of what happened there. I would later serve 7 months just south of that place, in Canandaigua. I have visited the hill Cumorah, the Smith farm, Alvin's grave, the Martin Harris farm, but one of my favorites was upstairs in the E.B. Grandin building. Ask me about it sometime. Looking at your blog had been good for me because I could escape into my own memories and relive those wonderful days again. The church IS true, isn't it? Yes, it is and it was restored through Joseph Smith and what happened in the grove did happen. Thanks for the blog. It was great...Norman

Nancy Face said...

I loved reading this so much! I've never been there, but I really want to go! Maybe we'll take Zach after his mission!

My older son Ty served his mission in Edmonton!

URFAVE5 said...

Your trip is one I hope to do after Conner graduates (it will take me that long to save the $) Such a special trip. Im glad you got to go!

URFAVE5 said...

Your trip is one I hope to do after Conner graduates (it will take me that long to save the $) Such a special trip. Im glad you got to go!

Sarah said...

Love all the pictures of the back of me - my hair is so long! Thanks for being such a great traveling companion! It was so nice to have you here! (And now I want some more of that chocolate PB fudge . . .)

Ellsworth Party of Four said...

I have been to New York several times...The BIG CITY...It is my favorite place to go. But now after seeing all your wonderful pictures I KNOW i have been missing out on the good part of New York.
This trip looks like it was one you will NEVER forget and think about often. How awesome to get to spend that time with Sarah...making such wonderful/life changing memories.