Today we explored Nauvoo. It is a tiny town but it is filled with great importance to our faith. It has many original homes and buildings that date back to when the Mormons settled the area in the 1830's. the tour guides and missionaries that serve there are so friendly and amazing! We went to the family center where we learned a lot of pioneering skills. We made rope, learned about building barrels, candle making, weaving rugs, how they made bread... It was fascinating and the kids had a blast working together.
They had a play area with toys and games that the children of that era would play and two little log cabins full of pioneer dress-up clothes. The kids had a ball! If you are ever in the area, I would highly recommend going, whether you are LDS or not. It is rich in history, fun for the whole family, and every thing is absolutely free. Mr. John especially loved the dress-up in the heat and humidity. Ha! Look at his face!
We enjoyed lots of local shops and had frozen custard for the first time where we added our napkin messages to the tables. We couldn't resist the thrift shop where everything was $1 and all the books were free. Everyone we met from Nauvoo was a gem and we met lots of people! Bailey has never been shy, but this trip has REALLY brought out the social butterfly in her. Everyone she meets, she introduces us and asks about them and where they are from. She is discovering everyone has a story and she wants to hear them. I love it!
We found out we were a day early for the Nauvoo pageant, a play about the history of the town, and were disappointed we would miss it. The sweet senior missionary who taught us about pottery, rope, and weaving let us know we could attend the dress rehearsal that night! We went and I'm so glad we did. It was incredible! The cast was so amazingly talented and it told the story of Nauvoo in a way that touched everyone's hearts. The actors came out to the audience afterward and chatted with everyone. I was blown away by their willingness to travel thousands of miles to volunteer their talents and time. I will never forget their excitement and genuine selflessness and love they exuded. I think Mr. John and I both saw our family doing that one summer.
We ended the evening by visiting the memorial with all the names of the people who didn't survive the trek west. It is right next to the Mississippi River at the point they crossed it, being forced out of their homes, leaving behind their beloved town, and also they're country as west was not a part of The US yet. It is humbling to know that even after the persecution and malice shown them, they still supported the government and helped settle so much of the west. Many of my ancestors made that journey west (about 22) and being there and actually seeing the expanse they had to cross (just the tiniest fraction of what they endured) and what they left behind was a touching and perfect way to end our visit to Nauvoo.