I’ve developed a new love for Upstate New York.  I had been there before, but this time it really sank in just how amazingly beautiful New York is.  Maybe it was the fall colors, maybe it was because I’m a farm girl, but seriously, this area of the world has a special place in my heart.

We awoke to rain.  Which, normally, I would love.  Having spent most of my life in the desert, I’ve learned that rain is not to be taken advantage of and we should always be grateful for rain.  But, on our agenda for this day was plenty of outside walking and seeing the rain come down was not what I wanted for this day.

(The view from our hotel room)view from hotel room

As we drove to our first stop, the rain drizzled down. As we drove, I prayed. I prayed within my heart to my God, my Father in Heaven, who I knew was listening to me. I said, “You know, I did not bring my children all the way across the country to visit these places that are important to us so that it could rain on us. Can you please please please make it stop raining?” And we drove. The drive was really not that long and we would be at our destination soon.

driving in the rain

Within 5 minutes of my prayer, the rain had stopped.

Skies were still gray. Ground was still soggy. But the rain stopped.


Our first stop on the travel itinerary is a place called the Sacred Grove.

sunlight in sacred grove
In this special grove of trees, we believe that God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared in answer to a prayer, just like the ceasing of the rain was an answer to my prayer.
tall trees sacred grove

trees sacred grove

tree canopy sacred grove

tree base sacred grove
Like any good forest, there was some cool growth. I’m not always a fan of parasites & fungi, but when I am, I take photos.
parasite plant


parasites on a log

grove trees
These four trees were the largest trees we could find in the grove. Maybe they were witnesses to the special things that happened here.
biggest trees

trail out of the grove
The cabin on the left is the Smith cabin.
looking back at the farm
Looking back at the Grove.
looking at the grove

brigham's barn

brighams barn
Our sweet tour guide taught us about threshing wheat in the barn. The wheat would be dumped on the floor of the barn and on a day with a nice breeze, the workers would pitch the wheat into the air. The heavier wheat berries would fall to the floor, while the lighter chaff is blown out the large barn doors in the breeze.
threshing floor
The Palmyra New York Temple spire, as seen from the Smith property.
temple spire

angel moroni

palmyra temple

temple flowers

woods behind the temple
Our next stop was the Hill Cumorah. This is a view from the top. Our kids favorite thing to do that day was to reenact a certain scene from a certain movie about a Princess named Buttercup.
hill cumorah
How many water fountains does one place need??? 🙂
water fountain
In the town of Palmyra, the intersection of Main and Church has a church on every corner. Freedom of religion at its best. I tried to get all four, but I could only get three (the wall on the very right is one).
four corners

fall color church

Main Street Palmyra New York
Darling homes, yes I want one.
darling homes
Our next stop was the Grandin Printing Press where the first copies of the Book Of Mormon were printed. We had a super fun sister missionary as our guide and we love that she spent so much time with us.
sister missionary

lots of books
Our final stop of the day was Lake Ontario. By the time we got there – 6:30pm – the sun had just set, the rain was back at it, and the wind was coming across the lake like nothing else. I know I got a photo of the kids standing in front of the lake, which was a gray mass of clouds, rain, and waves combined, but it has sadly disappeared.