Mystery Day Trip

Last Tuesday I took Hubby on a mystery day trip. I loaded him into the Matrix and off we drove along Route 2 west. Hubby kept guessing at the destination:

  • Deerfield?
  • Shelburne Falls?
  • North Adams?
  • Stockbridge?

No, No, No and No.

45 minutes later, I merged onto Route 91 north. More guesses:

  • Brattleboro?
  • Bennington?
  • Burlington?

No, No and No.

About 2 hours later (I sorta underestimated the distance.) I made Hubby pull his cap over his eyes. I drove up the driveway, pulled into a parking spot and announced, “We’re here!” He pulled off the cap to see

This is the place.

This is the place.

Hubby replied,” We avoid them when they come to our neighborhood and  you drive into their backyard?” A devilish grin crossed my lips, “C’mon. This is American religious history.”

We climbed out of the Matrix and walked toward the monument in South Royalston, Vermont announcing the spot where LDS prophet Joseph Smith was born in a farm house on December 23, 1805. Choral music (Mormon Tabernacle Choir?) was piped through speakers throughout the grounds. We avoided going through the visitor center because we didn’t want to deal with black pinned LDS members. But, lucky us, one came out to meet us, Book of Mormon in hand.

In all fairness, Sister Mitchell was a lovely woman in her 60’s and gave us a overview of the history of the place and put up with our inane questions.

Sister Mitchell, LDS missionary

Sister Mitchell, LDS missionary

The monument is not on the exact spot but is not too far off. The birthplace/farm house is long gone but its footprint is marked with what looks like a stone garden with hanging birdfeeders.

Hearth in Joseph Smith's birthplace.

Hearth in Joseph Smith's birthplace.

Faux pas number 1: I asked about the “magic tablets.” They were “golden plates.” Later on, we walked through the Visitor Center where a magnificent statue of the prophet was on display. At 38, Joseph Smith was murdered by a mob while killing time in jail on accusations of polygamy. (Sister Mitchell didn’t mention that part of the story.) The statue makes Joseph look really dreamy. Kind of like this:

Joseph Smith: He's so dreamy.

Joseph Smith: He's so dreamy.

Faux pas  number 2: I asked Sister Mitchell if Joseph Smith actually looked like his statue or was there some “photoshop” going on?

“What do you mean?”


The visit, which should have been about 20 minutes, lengthened into 1 hour and 20 minutes. Since Hubby and I were the only visitors, I suppose Sister needed to talk to someone. It would be interesting to visit in the summer and see how Mormons interact with the place.

After leaving Sister Mitchell and Joseph Smith behind, we did something very un-Mormon. We drove down to Woodstock, VT and drank our fill of Long Trail’s Coffee Stout at Bentley’s Restaurant. Overall, I think our mystery day trip was very unique and not a waste of time at all. Hubby may have something else to say…

More photos can be seen at my Flickr site.


2 responses to “Mystery Day Trip

  1. Funny. . . I didn’t know the JS BP was available for tours. Isn’t it funny, the way so many sects have their roots here in New England? I learn something new every time I check this blog. : )

  2. New England is the furtile soil for all sort of thought. Only a place like NE could produce men like Joseph Smith and Jonathan Richman!

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