It's me, Ashton. I'm here to tell you about what we did today!
First, we woke up in our hotel in Erie, PA and had breakfast. We love free breakfast hotels! Our mom never lets us eat the stuff they have there - like sugared cereal, danishes, donuts, etc. But at free breakfast hotels, she lets us go wild and eat all that stuff and more.
We then set off on the road for Palmyra. When we got there, we went to the Hill Cumorah and had a tour of the visitor's center. We watched a cool movie about families and went up a short trail to the Moroni Monument. It was a huge monument with a golden Moroni on top. Oliver liked the picture with Oliver Cowdry.
The Hill Cumorah is where Joseph Smith found the golden plates that Moroni had buried. Moroni showed Joseph where the plates were buried. The golden plates contained what is now the Book of Mormon. After receiving the plates, Joseph translated them. At the visitor's center, we learned how mobs tried to steal the plates, so Joseph had to hide them.
Upstairs, we saw the room that Joseph shared with his five brothers and where he was visited by the angel Moroni. It's actually not the real cabin, but a very accurate replica.
We walked down the road then and saw his newer frame house. It was a big improvement from the last one. We learned about how his brother Alvin had started on it, but didn't finish because he got sick and died. The cabin was 85% original, so it was the actual house that Joseph Smith had been in with the golden plates.
We saw the hearth that he had removed bricks from to hide the gold plates when a mob was coming to steal them.
We also saw the wooden box that he kept the plates in. And once, when his sisters were sleeping and a mob was coming, he hid the plates between his two sleeping sisters, and we saw the room that they slept in.
We walked back to our car and went to the intersection with a church on all four corners - Baptist, Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian. Seeing those churches made me realize why Joseph Smith had trouble about which church to join. Down the road was the Book of Mormon publication building, where the first Book of Mormon was published.
If you want to REALLY enjoy Palmyra, go early in June on a Wednesday. NOBODY there! Private tours!
We're on the drive to Boston now, going through New York. It is very green with lots of big hills (big enough to give us views, and the best view we've gotten before this is the balcony in front of our hotel room that looked down on the lobby). It's a lot more rural than I thought it would be - when I think of New York, I think of NYC.