Saturday, July 19, 2008

Europe in the USA

July 19, 2008 Boston, MA

The past two days have been a grand experience for us, as we have continued traveling from Cleveland/Kirtland, Ohio to this eastern city. First we drove up along Lake Erie and then through Buffalo, New York to Niagara Falls. Here we crossed over into Canada -- the first time Tyson and Riley have been to that country -- to see the spectacular view of the Falls. (picture to come later -- only Riley took pics; Dad was driving) Tremendous waves of water crashing down from hundreds of feet above, coming along above among rocks and cliffs and descending to the river below. What a grand sight! Really a marvel of Nature.

But we could not stay long -- we had another 100 miles to drive to Palmyra - site of many of the great events related to the restoration of the gospel in our day. It was here that Joseph Smith grew up, had his amazing First Vision and then, later, the visits from the Angel Moroni. We saw the beautiful Palmyra Temple, then took a tour through the log home the Smith's first lived in (see picture), and then the frame home that was theirs 7 years later. By far the most impressive experience was walking through the Sacred Grove, the forested area west of the homes where Joseph went to pray and saw the Father and the Son. (see picture) We felt a reverent spirit there and walked silently through the beautiful grove around us.

Then we drove through town, saw the Grandin Building where the Book of Mormon was first published, and the quaint corner of Palmyra that has a different church on each corner -- a fitting tribute to the reason Joseph was so confused -- so many choices of churches in the area!

We then drove to the Hill Cumorah, location where the gold plates were hid by Moroni. There they have a fantastic stage set up for the evening pageant which we watched with delight. Mom / Dix has seen this before, but none of the rest of us. Amazing lighting, special effects, and a great story, combined with a huge cast made for a very entertaining and interesting experience. (A different kind of entertainment was the hecklers just outside the property speaking to us as we arrived and as we left, telling us that Mormons were all doomed to hell, and that we should not be listening to the false teachings of a prophet. If only they could have stopped and considered what they looked like -- very foolish in their ranting and raving, and screaming. One man was even dressed in a devil costume -- did he think that would convince us he was rational in anything he said?).

On the contrary, the Hill Cumorah Pageant made it so clear how great the stories of the Book of Mormon are, and how timely they are for us today, in today's world. Surely Joseph Smith could not have made those stories up! They are such good stories, because they are true!

After a night in a Super 8 (not the most popular hotel among the family -- a bit small) we were off today for more than 400 miles of travel east through New York and across Massachusetts. Yes, there were seat belt checks along the way. And some of the passenger slept (not the driver, however). And we learned a curious habit of New York drivers of passing you, and then pulling over in front....and slowing down!! (urgh!!)
Here along the New York Thruway we thought we were in Europe -- we saw cities named Rome, Verona, Geneva, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Liverpool, and even Frankfurt and Hamburg!! We considered how it would be much more expensive to visit the real European cities, but here they were, for us to say we had been there (as well as Canaan and Lebanon). It appears the old world was brought here by the early colonists.

In the Boston area we visited Lexington and Concord, two cities where the beginning of the Revolutionary War was centered. We walked along the road between the cities, where in 1775 the British Regulars were engaged in shooting with the early American patriots -- the Minutemen. We saw two Minutemen monuments, and homes and structures reminding us of those early days. Despite the 93 degree weather, it was fascinating.

Then we got very frustrated trying to find a place to eat -- nothing in site for over 30 minutes as we drove around forested, green, tree filled areas, but no restaurants; no shops -- where do these people eat?? We finally found a gas station and asked for directions. Finally we found downtown Lexington (smaller than Preston Idaho's downtown) with a few restaurant options to choose from. Italian became our choice and once we had eaten we all felt better. Overnight tonight in a Quality Inn.

So we have almost made it to the Atlantic Ocean -- we'll see that tomorrow. Then we head south for cities yet to be named in these future blogs. Stay with us! Much more ahead!


Janice said...

Wow, very jealous, now even the kids are world travelers! I keep thinking back when Dixie and I made that trip (or part of it anyway), a few years ago. Great memories. I love the sacred grove. It definetely is a peaceful, reverent place, a place to ponder and increase the faith. Miss you guys, trying to spread the zuchinni around. Mail is piling up. Love the postings.

Hecki said...

Hey you guys!
We hope and see that you are having lots of fun in Europe, it seems to be beautiful. It sounds kind of funny to us that all the cities are named after the European cities, it's probably because the Americans weren't creative enough to think of names themselves;), but thats another thing. We are not doing a lot, continiuing to write our blog and I (Hecki) am doing stuff with my new computer;) Let us know about other things!!
Love, Maria&Hecki

DB said...

Looks like were going to have make a road trip afterall - with the falling dollar we're not headed to the real Europe anytime soon, so this will have to do. Jealous about your church site visits, they sound great.

wadsquad said...

Wow I love hecki's comment, way to give the "American's" a little stab. Ha ha, sounds fun and very tiring, but I am still wondering about the car rides.