Our first week, we spent some time visiting the historic sites in Nauvoo. We took the wagon ride that takes you through Historic Nauvoo and walked down Parley Street, a must-do while in Nauvoo.
Trail of Hope
When President Gordon B. Hinckley of the LDS Church was in Nauvoo in 2002 for the dedication of the rebuilt Nauvoo Temple, he said that everyone needs to walk down the Parley Street or the Trail of Hope just as almost 10,000 early saints did as they left their beautiful city February 6, 1846. Along the walk there are placards with statements from those early pioneer’s journals about the exodus, trek and the City of Joseph. My favorite is an entry from Bathsheba W. Smith: “My last act in that precious spot was to tidy the rooms, sweep up the floor, and set the broom in its accustomed place behind the door. Then with emotions in my heart…I gently closed the door and faced an unknown future, faced it with faith in God and with no less assurance of the ultimate establishment of the Gospel in the West and of its true, enduring principles, than I had felt in those trying scenes in Missouri.” I told this story to nearly 5,000 youth over three summers as I led handcart treks at This is the Place Heritage Park. Bathsheba shared her faith with thousands of others who crossed the Mississippi leaving Nauvoo.
The Trail of Hope begins just west of the blacksmith shop and 70s Hall on Parley Street and goes to the river passing by the oxen pasture and a place where you can ride in ox-pulled carts. At the end of the trail is a replica of the barges they used to cross the river when it was not frozen, a statue of Joseph Smith with Brigham Young giving him a map to the place they were to settle in the West, and a monument to the many Mormon Pioneers who lost their lives while crossing the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains to present day Utah.
Wagons, Carriages and Handcarts
If it is your first time to Nauvoo, be sure to get tickets for the wagon ride through Historic Nauvoo. The guides share a basic history of the city and point out the historic homes, sites and adventures you will want to take part in later. Tickets are available in the visitors center. Be sure to get tickets for a morning ride in the summer, if it gets too hot they may shut them down early for the horses. You can also get tickets for the carriage ride and oxen cart rides at the same place. We also took the carriage ride while there and did a handcart trek.
The carriage ride goes through the countryside and shares stories about individuals who once lived in Nauvoo as well as a bit about the natural side of Nauvoo. The handcart trek goes through the countryside as well cutting through horse and cow pastures, over creeks and streams, and up and down hills. Along the way are plaques giving information about the trek west as well as stories from diaries of those who made the journey.
These are just a few of the great little adventures that make for a grand adventure when you visit Nauvoo, Illinois. More to come about my final tour with the Young Ambassadors to Nauvoo and the region …