Life Is A Journey

Daisypath Vacation tickers Life is a beautiful journey. We travel our way with memories behind us,with dreams up ahead and a brand new hope each day!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

143 Journeys: Church Historic Sites Road Trip - Palmyra and Kirtland !

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

This is my fifth installment in my 143 Journeys which covers our trip to Ohio and Upstate New York as part of our Fourth Anniversary Road Trip last July 26, 2011 - August 1, 2011. Click here for other 143 Journeys.

As a Latter-day Saint traveler, my bucket list includes a visit to the several dozens of Church historic sites and visitors’ centers. So when Mark announced we will be car-traveling for our fourth anniversary as sweethearts, I jumped for joy learning that Kirtland, Ohio and Palmyra, New York were part of the itinerary!

Homes to several Church historic sites, Palmyra and Kirtland hold special interest for me and Mark (and every Latter Day Saints). We believe that in the quiet grove (Sacred Grove) in Palmyra, God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to a 14-year-old boy named Joseph Smith in 1820 and that ushered the beginning of the restoration of the Church in 1830.

Kirtland, on the other hand, served as the organizational headquarters of the infant Church from 1831 until 1838 which is considered to be one of the most remarkable periods in the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.


After more than 6 hours of continuous driving from Chicago and passing through toll roads in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, we arrived in Cleveland, Ohio.We stayed for the night at Courtyard by Marriot located in a beautiful suburb of Beachwood, Ohio which is only 12.6 miles away from Kirtland.There are no hotels in Kirtland.

Smith Road Detour

In the morning, we drove with the help of our car's GPS which displayed the route on monitor and gave auditory directions. When we reached the Smith Road, the GPS announced "Turn Right and your destination is on the right ". I was filled with excitement. I can't believe that I was about to see in a just a mile, a Church historic site which I had been longing to see for almost 24 years since I became an LDS! Wrong! haha. There was no visitors' center or temple on Smith Road! After turning around one more time, we knew our GPS wasn't giving us the right direction. Mark pulled over and called the Kirtland Visitors' Center. A few minutes later, we were on our way to our real destination. We couldn't help laughing when Mark pointed out the many photos I have taken during the detour around the beautiful, quiet farm lands on Smith Road.

Historic Kirtland
7800 Kirtland-Chardon Road
Kirtland, OH 44094. Intersection of Ohio routes 306 and 615, via exit 193 on Interstate 90.

Historic Kirtland consist of the restored and reconstructed 19th-century village settlement, of early members of LDS Church. Mark and I had an interesting visit which started with a 24-minute film depicting the Kirtland development. We also love the guided tour of the Newel K. Whitney Store which was the first school of the prophets, where Jesus Christ appeared twice to Joseph Smith. It was definitely enlightening to know from the sisters missionaries how the Elders who smoke tobacco immediately threw their cigars when prophet Joseph Smith presented to them the Word of Wisdom. The other places we went to were home of Newel and Elizabeth Ann Whitney, Ashery, Sawmill, and John Johnson Inn where we found a miniature replica of the Kirtland Temple and had our picture taken.

Kirtland Historic Temple Center
7809 Joseph Street
Kirtland, OH 44094

Atop the hill, we proceeded to see the real Kirtland Temple, the first temple built by the LDS Church in this dispensation. At present, the Kirtland Temple is owned and operated by the Community of Christ (formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) which charges a $3 preservation fee. We watched a film introductory, and had a tour inside the temple where no picture taking is allowed since the temple is still being used as a house of worship. We had a picture outside though.


Hill Cumorah Visitors' Center
603 State Route 21
Palmyra, NY 14522-9301.

From Niagara Falls, we got to Hill Cumorah Visitors Center after a two (2) hour-drive. We took a free guided tour and learned there are several Church historical sites in the area and nearby, more than we expected.(i.e.Hill Cumorah Monument, Sacred Grove, E.B. Grandin Press, Joseph Smith Sr. Farm/Joseph Smith Log House/Joseph Smith Frame House, Palmyra Temple, Alvin Smith's Grave, Martin Harris Farm, Peter Whitmer Sr. Farm). But with our limited time, Mark and I agreed to visit the major ones so we could head back to New Jersey and get home by midnight. So we drove up the Hill Cumorah where Joseph Smith was directed to receive golden plates from which the Book of Mormon was translated.

Not far away from the Hill Cumorah, we arrived at the Welcome Center at the Joseph Smith Farm which gave us a free guided tour inside the reconstructed Smith Family Log House and allowed us a self-guided tour of the Sacred Grove. I can't begin to describe how I was feeling at time. It was peaceful,serene, and an ultimate bonding experience with my prince in the same place where young boy Joseph, saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, in vision. No doubt, this is the highlight of our trip!

To wrap up our visit, we toured the beautiful grounds of the Palmyra New York Temple.

This road trip was not only romantic, but also enriching and meaningful! It's all about enjoying each other in the two towns filled with Church history. With this trip, my prince earned himself a big hug from his little princess!

(This is part of the 5-week US Summer Vacation series, which took place from June 30, 2011 to August 3,2011.For other US Summer 2011 post please click: US Travel


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