Sunday, August 3, 2014

Whitmores Take the Midwest

Disclaimer: This is a travel log for myself...lots of details and lots of photos.  

This year for the Whitmore family reunion, they decided to go to Nauvoo and Chicago, IL. Ten years ago, Josh's grandfather passed away. The year he passed, the family had already made reservations to go to Nauvoo. Someone suggested that on the ten year anniversary of his passing, the family would go to Nauvoo in his remembrance. 

I think I was one of the few family members who was totally excited for Nauvoo. The only church sites I've seen have seen are in Utah. Since I've married Josh, I've been able to do the earlier church sites that are on the east coast.  

On the way to Nauvoo, we stopped at the train station to help the 40 family members that flew into Chicago and took the train down into Burlingotn, IA; due to the fact it was late and there were only two 15-passenger vans rather than three (like what was supposed to be originally). We ate at Perkins while we waited and eventually were able to get everyone to Nauvoo. We rented two big houses, side by side. Every room had a bathroom. Each house had a kitchen and family room. It was a great set up! 

My first time crossing the car

We may have left the van doors open when we went to lunch.  Whoops!
Once we arrived in Nauvoo, it was very late. We all gathered in the family room and did a little commemoration of Grandpa Whitmore. His kids told of what they learned from him and a few others told stories. I do wish I could have met Kay and seen what kind of man he was for myself. Luckily, he left a great legacy and it's nice to continue to hear stories of him. 

The next day was Sunday. We all got up early to go to church at 8:00 to the missionary/visitor ward. It seriously looked like two stake conferences combined! There were so many people! After Sacrament meeting, we all got ready to go to Carthage, IL, had lunch and toured Carthage Jail. 

Carthage Jail is the site of where the first prophet of our church was shot and killed. It was nothing how I thought it was going to look or be. Apparently, Sunday is the busiest day of the week. We waited a while in line and eventually got into the jail. It was so interesting. I had no idea that a family that owned and lived in the jail. There were a couple rooms upstairs used for the prisoners and that's where Joseph Smith was with three other men, including his brother, Hyrum, who was also killed. It was a very emotional tour. 


Visitor Center- where the tour began
Going into the jail from the backside
The jail was a family's home that they rented the upstairs as the jail.  This was the kitchen.  The bed was if someone was ill and couldn't go upstairs for whatever reason. 
The stairs that the mob rushed up.
The room that Joseph and Hyrum were shot in. 
The bullet hole of the bullet that shot Hyrum Smith in the face.
Top window is where Joseph was shot and fell out of.

On the way back to Nauvoo, we stopped to take some pictures at the temple.  Wow!  It is beautiful and knowing the history of it, makes it that much more special. The grounds are beautiful and it looks over the Mississippi River. If Charlotte wanted to get married there, I would not be opposed! 


That night we went to a production of hit and Broadway songs. There are service missionaries that audition and come for the summer to perform.  It was an excellent show. It made me think of my Charlotte and of course, got very emotional. Let's just say, I think I cried at one point during every show! I'm such a crier! 

Later that evening, we did the Trail of Hope. This is the trail down Parley Street that the pioneers took to cross the Mississippi River and continue in their journey west. It put things into perspective. Some of us were complaining we were too tired and cold (yes, it got very chilly that night) and they started talking about the pioneers walking in the freezing snow having just left all their possessions. We stopped complaining very quickly! It does make you appreciate EVERYTHING you have when you hear stories of the pioneers. We walked all the way down to the Mississippi River and tried to imagine teams of handcarts crossing the frozen waters. 

Monday, we barely made the 10:00 endowment session at the temple! The inside was much smaller than I thought, but it was beautiful. I loved every minute of it. 

Afterward, Josh and I went to lunch with the Jensen's (Josh's aunt and uncle and their kids). Thanks for letting us tag along! We ate at Grandpa John's. Doesn't that sound like a pioneer-town restaurant? There are only a few places to eat in the town, so the food situation was very limited. 

Later that afternoon, we all drove over to Hannibal, Missouri. It's smack dab in the middle of the state! We walked around the town where Mark Twain lived, toured caves where Jesse James hid and then that night went on a dinner cruise. The dinner cruise was definitely a highlight so far! 



Some of the family members went to the movies after, of course my husband, and one van went back to the houses. I stayed up late talking to Jen (Josh's cousin) and didn't go to bed until well after Josh came home. Pretty much every night was a late night. But that's always how it is when family get together! 

Tuesday, we pretty much hit the ground running! We started with a production of "Just Plain Anna Amanda." It was a kids show but it was entertaining. Once the show ended, we started touring all the little buildings and homes on Main Street. 

A group of us got together for the performance, "The Promise." Like all the other shows, it was about the saints in Nauvoo. It was entertaining! 

 Interestingly enough, some of the buildings in Nauvoo are owned by the Community of Christ, a break off of the Mormon church that believed the next prophet should be a descendant of Joseph Smith. Because of this, all the Joseph Smith buildings belong to that church. We didn't have enough time to do a tour of the Joseph Smith mansion before our dinner plans ,but we did walk around with Christian and Drew (two of Josh's cousins), see the Smith homestead, and the Smith family cemetery. I loved that everything overlooks the Mississippi river. It's so beautiful and peaceful.

For dinner, we all met at Hotel Nauvoo for their famous buffet. It was really good food and a relaxing time to finally sit and enjoy one another company. 

Josh wasn't feeling well all through dinner, so while we went back to the house to rest, everyone else went to the "fair" and engaged in pioneer games and activities. This was before the Nauvoo pageant started. We went over a little before the show. All of the Whitmores have been involved with the Hill Cumorah pageant, but I've never seen any of the church's pageants. I was excited to see it. I did fall asleep through more than half (for some reason I was exhausted). I woke up for the most important part, the end. Again, it was about Joseph Smith and the saints. It is a fairly new production (10 years old) and I thought it was well done. I can't wait to one day, see the other pageants. 

Wednesday morning is when everyone left Nauvoo and later that day arrived in Chicago for the remaining part of our trip! 

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