Sunday, July 22, 2007

Our whirlwind adventure

Ten years ago, I was lying on the floor of our crappy basement apartment, studying my brains out and reached a breaking point. I turned to Andrew and said, "Let's go to New York."

He said, "I'd love to do that with you sometime."

I batted my eyelashes and said, "Let's go right now."

Being the practical one in the family, he withstood my flirting and reminded me that we were both in the middle of busy college semesters... and we didn't have any money. Oh yea. I forgot.

Well, it took ten years, but I finally got my wish! This past week we drove up to New York and visited Joseph Smith's family farm, the Sacred Grove, and the Hill Cumorah. It was wonderful.

Andrew actually had a business trip to northern Pennsylvania this week. I asked him to Mapquest the distance between Sayre, PA (where he would be) and Palmyra, NY--it was only two hours. So, he flew up for work on Tuesday. The kids and I left on Wed and drove the 10 hours to Sayre. The kids were SO good in the car. We had fun.

Day 1: On the road to Sayre, PA

First stop: Natural Bridge, Virginia
One of the thing I LOVE about road trips
is I never know where we'll end up stopping.
This looked like a fun spot, so we gave it a try.
It is a beautiful natural bridge.
We took a nice little hike
down to it and stretched our legs.

We kept hiking past the bridge and
came to this restored Indian village.

It was a fun distraction, but kind of
pricey. If we were making a day trip
out of it, it would've been fun. But
since we only stayed about an hour
and a half, it seemed too expensive.

I also LOVE watching the scenery as
we drive and drive. This was some
beautiful farmland in Pennsylvania.

Since Andrew was working late and we hadn't
heard from him when we were about 30 minutes
away from Sayre, we decided to make one last
stop at a little carnival in Monroeton, PA.

I only let them do a couple of rides, but the
kids still loved it.

After that, we made it to Sayre and got to stay the night with Andrew at his hotel.
We didn't get in until after 10 pm, so the kids both crashed.

Day 2: Corning, NY
Many, many thanks to Jayne for recommending our next stop.
She told us about the Corning Museum of Glass. It was only about
45 minutes from Sayre, so that's where I took the kids while
Andrew had more meetings for work. It was awesome.

I realized after the fact that my pictures don't do it justice,
but here's a sampling of what we saw.

Sculpture Gallery
I didn't know glass could be such an amazing
art form--like this beautiful glass dress.

Curiosities of Glass
Like this glass iron that was produced during WWII
to conserve metal. They were invented a little late
because the war ended soon after production started.

We got to watch this worker
make this beautiful flower.
Whit fell asleep. Brandon was bored.
I loved it.

Gift shop
When I heard about a Museum of GLASS, I thought
there was NO WAY I would take Brandon in there.
He's a little tornado of destruction at times!
They keep the museum very child friendly...
except for the gift shop. It was SO neat and had
so many beautiful things, but with the kids outnumbering
me, we had to keep our visit short. Aren't these glass
flowers pretty? They were Whit's favorite part.

Day 3: Church history and pageant
Andrew took a vacation day on Friday and
we all got to drive up to Palmyra, NY together.
Talk about beautiful scenery!
This is Seneca Lake, NY.
There were LOTS of wineries along the way.

I LOVED visiting the church historical sites.
Events seem even more REAL when you can
picture where they took place.
This is the Smith Family cabin, where Joseph
grew up and where the Angel Moroni
appeared to him in his bedroom.

Both mine and Andrew's favorite part of
the whole trip:
Visiting the Sacred Grove.
There is such a tangible
feeling of reverence there.
Very special.
Even with two rambunctious kids,
we were able to have a few moments
of peace and reflection.

Then we visited the Grandin Building

where the Book of Mormon was first published.

Then on to the pageant. We got there very early
so we could get good seats. Then we went to
the Visitors Center there, colored, read,
played duck-duck-goose and "I Spy" until
it was showtime.
Here is the stage.

The cast and crew are made up of 800 people who
are all volunteers. Pretty amazing. Most of them
are families, like this one we met from Florida.

Spectacular is the best word I can come up with
to describe the Hill Cumorah Pageant.
Beautiful music.
Awesome special effects.
Sweet spirit.
Loved it.
I know it made for a hectic week for Andrew, with work
and everything, but I am SO grateful that we had this
experience as a family.

Day4: Drive home to NC
The other thing I am extremely grateful for:
portable DVD players.
The kids watched movies almost the whole
way home. Andrew drive most of the way.
I got to finish a GREAT book I was reading.
(More to come on that.) And Andrew and I
had some great conversations. (Another
reason I'm big on road trips!)

On the way home, we stopped at a McDonald's for
lunch and the parking lot next door was having a
big car show. Brandon LOVES stuff like that.

Andrew found a new dream car.

One really nice gentleman even let the kids sit
IN his car so I could take their pic.

Phew--that was quite a marathon post. And I'm glad we had today to catch our breath before Andrew has to go back to work tomorrow.

AND...I can cross another item off my list of "Things to do before I die." (See archive from Nov 5, 2006 for the rest of the list) Yippee!


Sandy said...

Very cool trip!! I hope we can go out there sometime - I'd love to see all the Church History sites. Great pictures, too! That museum of glass looks really cool!

g & g hiatt said...

Wow! What a whirlwind tour.
Great pictures. Thanks for sharing.
Good luck on your dream car, Andrew. Brandon & Whitney: Yours looks like it would be more our style.
A trip to the New York church history area and the Cumorah Pageant is still on OUR wish list. But we sort of feel we've seen it because my cousin, Afton Roundy Hendrickson and her son, John, took the church tour a couple of years ago. Afton took a lot of pics and I made a DVD of it for her, and kept a copy for us.
We get it out and look/listen from time to time.

Carrie said...

That trip looked like a lot of fun. It is also on my list of things to do. : ) Welcome home!

Ang said...

I had no idea that you were going on such a fun trip! I was starting to wonder why you weren't commenting on my blog. Not entertaining enough? Too wordy? :-) What a great idea. I love spur of the moment adventures. I would love to see the church history sites someday.

Natalie said...

Wow looks like you guys know how to take a road trip. It sounds like you guys had a lot of fun. I went up to NY and did the pagent and touring in HS for a youth conference, but I would love to go back with David one day. It was so awesome!

Jayne said...

Welcome home!!

I'm SO glad that you liked Corning Glass Works. I'm always a tad nervous when I recommend a place: "What if they think it's a dud?"

We had stopped at Corning on the way to Niagara Falls. It wasn't really a planned stop, but it CERTAINLY exceeded my expectations. I sure would love another chance to be in that giftshop !!

From what I remember of the museum, it does a great job of looking at glass from the science POV, not just the art POV and has that hands-on component that appeals to kids.

FYI, my kids were also bored with the glass blowing demo and I was enchanted with it :)

Denny & Joe said...

What a fabulous trip. Your family does such fun things together! Thanks for all the great photos and narrative. Was fun to experience it vicariously.