We as a family of 10 (7 kids, 2 parents, 1 grandma) got back late last Saturday night from our trip to Nauvoo. I can’t describe the happiness I feel from taking this road trip. It was a dream and vision fulfilled. I have been planning and hoping to take this trip for years and it finally happened. Yes, we went, despite financial challenges, car issues with our old green beast of a van, and trying to squeeze out one week of sacred family time with all of my offspring’s activities. With 2 kids in college for the spring semester (which ended the middle of July), who also have jobs, 2 other kids working on a farm, 1 kid starting football, and 2 kids training to be youth leaders for the Mastering Knighthood Summit, this was a feat almost akin to the pioneers crossing the plains! But we pulled it off! I had to sacrifice attending the Moms’ Retreat, but it was worth it.
We logged 2000 miles in 7 days, saw lots of cornfields, had a sick kid in the car throw up, ran out of gas, and waded in the Mississippi River. We walked in the footsteps of our ancestors and found the exact lots where they lived, as well as one of their homes that is still standing! (see picture below) We watched a play, saw the Nauvoo temple quarry where my 3rd great grandfather worked to help cut stone for the temple, watched a variety show, did temple work, played pioneer games, and heard lots of stories, oh so many stories! I wish I could have heard every story told by every tour guide in Nauvoo. They are chock full of faith and vision and kindness. I took notes from the ones I did hear and hope to share some here on the blog.
A sample of a Nauvoo temple stone, next to the quarry where 3rd-great-grandfather Luman Andros Shurtliff worked.
This is the home of Jeremiah Hatch, my children’s 6th or 7th great-grandfather. He fought in the Revolutionary War and settled in Nauvoo in this brick home. It was just around the corner and up the street from our inn! My daughter found it by Googling it. The home is currently being remodeled to become a vacation rental property. It’s on the corner of Iowa and Knight streets, east of the temple, just in case you are a descendant too and want to visit it.
We also listened to two complete novels on CD in the car while traveling, Johnny Tremain and The Goose Girl. All in all, we had so much fun, bonded as a family, and felt the Spirit as well. What more could you ask for?