Our first church history stop was in Winters Quarters in Omaha Nebraska
(The kids had already seen Salt Lake in previous visits)
We toured the visitor center, ate a picnic outside, and walked through the cemetery and temple grounds. Most of the deaths there in 1846-1847 were children under three. I think it's appropriate that the celestial room of the temple looks out onto the cemetery.
Our next stop was in Nauvoo.
We stayed in a hotel, but Grandma and Grandpa hosted us by feeding us wonderful, homemade meals and planning out a jam-packed day that included a temple trip, two performances, an oxen ride and as many sites as we could fit in (blacksmith, brick maker, school, gun shop, Lucy Mack home, red brick store, gravesite....) My parents live right in the middle of the village, so it was easy to split up to go look at stuff, take a nap, get a snack, reconvene for meals. We felt very spoiled. See photos on July 2nd blog post on beautiful Nauvoo (I wish I had more photos). The shows were great!!
Just 25 miles from Nauvoo is the Carthage jail. It was difficult to understand the tour guide in our group but I told Michael, sometimes it takes more effort to hear and feel the spirit. I'm glad eye witnesses recorded in their journals what happened so we can read about it.
The next historic stop was in Kirtland. We toured the LDS visitor center, Newel K Witney Store and the temple. Again, our tour guide was hard to understand, but she had a sweet spirit about her.
Everywhere we went, I wished we had more time. We could only hit the highlights because we can 8-10 hours of driving that turned into 12 hours in the car with stops and road construction. We were pretty tired when we reached out hotel each night.
We did make one unplanned stop (not church related). At a rest area map, Jessica noticed that Niagra Falls was only 20 miles out of our way en route to Palmyra. We decided it was worth the detour and got there just before sunset. We had to stay on the American side as only half of us had passports, but it was still breath-taking. I didn't know it was a life-long dream of Jessica's, so she was elated.
Our last church history stop was Palmyra. We spent the morning at the sacred grove, Smith farm and temple grounds, all withing walking distance.
After hiking to the top of Hill Cumorah, Trevor said "this is a really steep hill...can I roll down it?"
Next stop....New Hampshire!!!