Hill Cumorah Statue

Palmyra LDS Church History Sites

There are so many amazing and beautiful sites to see in Palmyra. Much of the information can be found directly on LDS.org, but if you’re wondering if this should be part of your stop when visiting the East Coast–our answer is 100% yes! We are still in awe. Our young kids– ages 10, 7, and 5 at the time of our trip–were little sponges (and not just because of the rain!), they absorbed so many little details about the humble circumstances surrounding Joseph Smith and his family. We pulled into our hotel late at night and began our day of touring bright and early the following morning.

We had four stops in Palmyra:

  1. The Smith Family Farm (including The Sacred Grove and homes surrounding it)
  2. The Grandin Print Shop (Publication Site of the Book of Mormon)
  3. The Palmyra LDS Temple
  4. The Hill Cumorah

We also toured the Peter Whitmer Farm just outside of Palmyra. All sites are free to tour, all are family-friendly. Hours vary, so be sure to plan accordingly. We LOVED going in early October, as you can see the leaves were gorgeous!

Our first stop was the Smith Farm Welcome Center, where some darling missionaries (members of our church who volunteer their time to serve others) took us on a tour of the two homes and property nearby. We walked through the Log Home first. Find hours here.


Log Cabin Smith Home Palmyra New York Log Cabin LDS History Site Log Home LDS History Site

LDS History Site Log Cabin Kitchen Sacred Grove behind Log Cabin

Pictured above left, the dining room/living room/kitchen in the log home. Pictured above right, our children looking out through the Smith family log home’s back door at the Sacred Grove.

Sacred Grove Trail in Palmyra, New York

Sacred Grove  Sacred Grove  Walking through the Sacred Grove

Walking through the Sacred Grove

The Sacred Grove was beautiful and peaceful. After touring their humble–perhaps crowded–log home, it was easy to see why Joseph chose the Sacred Grove as a place to ponder and pray vocally for the first time. For more information about the Sacred Grove, visit the official site here.

Sacred Grove Palmyra Temple View

Pictured above, view of the Palmyra Temple, peaking through the trees (look closely!) near the Sacred Grove.

Smith Home Palmyra New York

We also toured the Smith Frame Home, a short walk from the Log Home.  This was a slightly larger, and more modern home (pictured above)–but still humble. Our kids loved seeing the many different places where Joseph and his family hid the Golden Plates from the angry mob (pictured bottom left).

Joseph Smith hid Gold Plates here  Dining Room inside Log Cabin

Alan Smith Farmhouse Alan Smith Farmhouse Bedroom LDS Church History Palmyra New York

Palmyra New York LDS Church History Site

We spent about three hours touring the Smith Family Farm, although you could spend more or less time depending on your schedule. There are restrooms throughout, we would suggest to make sure to use them before walking through The Sacred Grove–especially with young kids 🙂

Palmyra LDS Temple

Not far from the Smith Family Farm is the Palmyra Temple. We enjoyed walking around the beautiful Temple grounds. (To see a list of all six Temples we visited on our trip, visit here.)

EB Grandin Print Shop

We had so much fun touring the Grandin Print Shop as well. Another pair of darling missionaries gave us and another family a tour of the building where the Book of Mormon was first published. Find hours here.

Grandin Print Shop  EB Grandin   Egbert GrandinGrandin Print Shop

This cheery space is where the free tour starts. We also learned about E.B. Grandin and the process to print a book back then–what a miracle it all was. It was a very engaging (and hands-on at times) tour! For more information on why the Book of Mormon is so special to us, visit here.

Grandin Print Shop  Grandin Print Shop  Grandin Print Shop

Book of Mormon Come Forth Grandin Print Shop Grandin Print Shop

History of Uppercase, lowercase Grandin Print Shop

Book of Mormon Manuscript  First Edition Book of Mormon

We spent a little under two hours on this tour, but again–you could spend more or less depending on your schedule. The charming antique shops nearby were also fun to visit (think Milk Glass!).

Peter Whitmer Farm New York

While this isn’t technically in Palmyra, we were SO glad we drove the 40 minutes to tour the Peter Whitmer Farm, where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was officially organized on April 6, 1830.

Peter Whitmer Farm Dining Room Peter Whitmer Bedroom

Peter Whitmer LDS Church Visitor Center Peter Whitmer Farm, New York

While there we had the chance to view a short film (about 5 minutes) in the visitor’s center called The Grove. Take time to watch it! This is the only place you can see it, as it’s not available online. What an inspiring visit! We spent just under an hour here.

Hill Cumorah

The Hill Cumorah took our breath away with its beauty! When we arrived it was pouring rain, so we watched a new segment from ‘Meet the Mormons‘ in the Visitor’s Center, talked with the missionaries and learned more about what took place in this sacred spot.  Find more on the hours and location here.   During the summer there is also a free pageant here (oh how we want to come back in the summer for this!). Find more information on that here. We spent about two hours here, but again you can spend more or less depending on your time frame. It is also a short, steep walk to the top. However, you can also drive up a bit closer if needed.

Hill Cumorah Statue Hill Cumorah Freedom and Faith

Our visit to Palmyra was near the very end of our our two week East Coast trip- more on that here. We were walking up to the statue at the top of the hill and the wind was blowing. We looked up and saw this- the American Flag and the statue of  Angel Moroni- and just thought how fitting this picture was- FREEDOM and FAITH- everything we hold near and dear culminating right here. It was a perfect way to wrap up our trip.


Yellow Mills Diner Palmyra, New York

Oh- one last thing: Lunch! Some of the locals suggested we try Yellow Mills Diner for lunch and it was so yummy. The service was great and we love eating local in a family-friendly environment.


We also visited the Prophet Joseph Smith’s birthplace in Sharon, Vermont. Read more about our time there here.

Joseph Smith Birthplace

Birthplace of Joseph Smith {Sharon, Vermont}

Nestled in the hills of Vermont, the LDS Prophet Joseph Smith was born in the beautiful countryside of Sharon, Vermont.  The Birthplace is free to visit and has a Visitor’s Center with a monument (pictured below) that commemorates the Prophet’s life. For location and hours, visit here.  It was a bit out of the way during our two-week East Coast trip last October, but were SO glad we made time to visit.

Joseph Smith Birthplace Joseph Smith Birthplace Joseph Smith Birthplace Joseph Smith Birthplace

We were greeted with a light gust of wind that sprinkled hundreds of golden fall leaves on us. It was a beautiful way to begin our tour.

Joseph Smith Birthplace

Joseph Smith Memorial visitor's center joseph smith book vermont

Our kids were excited during the brief tour inside the Visitor’s Center for a couple of reasons- in the picture to the left, the Prophet was seven years old, the same age as our daughter, when he had a leg operation. In the picture to the right, our son was excited to see a book written about the Prophet Joseph Smith by his great-grandpa on display.

Joseph Smith Memorial statue in Sharon, VT

The grounds were absolutely beautiful and peaceful to walk around. We were so glad we took time for this hour long visit. To learn more about the significance of the Joseph Smith Birthplace, visit here.


We also visited other LDS Sites in Palmyra, where the Prophet moved to after Sharon. Read more about that here.

Washington DC Temple

Six LDS Temples to visit on the East Coast

As part of our family-of-five-East-Coast-frenzy, we had the opportunity to visit several LDS (sometimes also known as Mormon) Temples. These Temples represent so much to us, but the most  important thing is that represent family’s can be together forever (and yes, even after spending two weeks-every hour, every minute with each other- we still want to be together forever, haha).  Some of the Temples have Visitor’s Centers, some didn’t. We would walk around the beautiful grounds and always have our kids touch a corner of each Temple. Sometimes we would pick up a leaf or acorn to keep, other times a potato bug (roly poly to some-haha, those didn’t get to come in the rental car, though).  In total, we were able to visit six LDS Temples that are on the East Coast of the United States, from Washington D.C., up to the brand new, and long awaited, Hartford, Connecticut.

Connecticut LDS Temple Philadelphia LDS Temple Palmyra LDS Temple

{Pictured from left to right: Connecticut, Philadelphia, Palmyra.}

Manhattan LDS Temple Boston LDS Temple Washington DC LDS Temple

{Cont…Manhattan, Boston and Washington D.C.}


This Temple is absolutely gorgeous. The grounds are peaceful and beautiful to walk around. You feel like you are in the middle of a wooded forest. You may first notice this Temple from the freeway as you are heading into the city. The six spires, especially when they are lit up at night, are breathtaking.

Washington D.C. Temple

DC LDS Temple DC LDS Temple

Washington D.C. LDS Temple Christus LDS DC Temple

DC LDS Temple Visitor Center DC LDS Visitor Center

There is a wonderful Visitor’s Center where anyone (member or not) can visit. Here you will see a mini-replica of the Temple- allowing you a peak of how the Temple looks inside.


The main reason for our trip, and what inspired it many years ago, was the announcement of the Hartford, CT Temple. It took many years for this Temple to come into fruition. Jeff served his LDS Mission in CT and RI and we knew we wanted to come for the Open House (when a Temple  is brand new, there is a public open house where anyone, of any religion or age, can take a tour and get a peak inside).  The detail was amazing- true to Connecticut’s colonial heritage.  If you would like to see the official pictures- including many of the interior, visit here.

Connecticut LDS Temple

Connecticut LDS Temple Connecticut LDS Temple


This is also a brand new Temple, right in the heart of Philadelphia. We missed the Open House for this by a few weeks, but you can view official photos of the interior here. There is also a small Visitor’s Center just across the street from the Temple.

Philly LDS Temple Philly LDS Temple


For more LDS Sites on the East Coast, read our post on Palmyra here.