Harmony, PA - Priesthood Restoration Site
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It would be easy to miss this little historic site off the Susquehanna River in Harmony, Pennsylvania, if we hadn't heard about it. It ended up being an ideal half way stop for us as we were traveling the 5 hours from Palmyra, NY to New York City.
There is a beautiful, quiet grove of trees with a little path where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believes John the Baptist and Peter, James and John appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to give them the Holy Priesthood. It's a serene place to reflect and pray (or in our case to successfully search for frogs, toads and chipmunks).
There's a pretty little path that walks down under the over pass where you can tour the reconstructed homes of Isaac Hale and also Joseph Smith.
This is where Joseph Smith translated a good portion of the Book of Mormon from the Gold Plates while Oliver Cowdery was the scribe. It was a refuge for them from the mobs seeking to kill Joseph.
There's a small church on the property that also houses a visitor's center. They had really fun interactive games for the kids, as well as some great movie documentaries about the site. This game was their favorite- the faster you spun the wheel, the faster the horse would run. The sweet missionaries that volunteer there gave us an informative tour, and even sang "Happy Birthday" to my daughter.
There was a beautiful view of the grove from the visitors center.
Across the street from the visitors center was also a small cemetery. Joseph and Emma lost an infant son, and his is one of the graves we saw there.
If you drive down the road about a mile, you will come to a place where you can park at a trail head, and hike down a steep path (this was paved) down to the Susquehanna River. This is the spot where Joseph and Oliver were baptized.
My mom was having some foot problems, so this hike was difficult for her. If you have elderly or others that struggle walking, don't plan on this being an easy walk. But our kids sure loved it.
The favorite part of the outing for the kids was skipping rocks in the Susquehanna River.
Afterwards, on our way back to the freeway, we stopped at this great little ice cream and burger joint. It was just a little roadside place with a little mini golf area and picnic tables- perfect for plenty of running around before we hopped back in the car for awhile.
Another really neat thing was a couple days after visiting this spot, we had the opportunity to tour the Philadelphia Temple Open House. And the baptistry had a mural of this particular spot of the river painted on the walls. Since we had just been here, we recognized it immediately. It was really cool!
For me, this was more than just a church history site, it is a family history site. The feelings I had there were so special. I felt so blessed to be able to build family memories here with my husband, parents and children. I hope you will be able to go there some day, too! If you've already been, what was your favorite part?? What places are special to your family? I'd love to read all about it in the comments.
To learn more about the history of the site, click here.
If you want to see more pictures, view the carousel gallery below: