Monday, October 28, 2013

"Boo"tiful Nauvoo

This weekend we went to Nauvoo, Illinois. Nauvoo was the last settlement the Mormon pioneers had before they were driven out by persecution and migrated to the Salt Lake Valley. It is a really interesting town because many of the original houses and buildings have been restored or rebuilt by the LDS and Community of Christ churches, including the Nauvoo temple. Today Nauvoo is an incredible historic village staffed by dozens of missionaries who dress up and reenact what life would have been like in  Nauvoo when Joseph Smith and the saints lived there. If you ever get the chance to visit I would highly recommend it!

In fact, it will be eight years this February that Jon and I went to Nauvoo on our honeymoon. Yes, I said Nauvoo in FEBRUARY!  Jon spent a semester in Nauvoo when he was at BYU, studying early LDS church history and American history. He loves everything about Nauvoo. So when he was choosing where he wanted to take me for our honeymoon he couldn't think of a place he wanted to share with me more than Nauvoo. He kept our destination a surprise until a day or two before the wedding when I begged him to tell me so I would know what to pack. A swimsuit? Skis? Nope... I was going to need a hot water bottle and wool socks! I will admit that when Jon told me were going to freezing cold middle-of-nowhere Illinois on our honeymoon that I was a bit dissapointed. I had been thinking of some place W-A-R-M. Yet then when I realized how special Nauvoo was to Jon I warmed up to the idea. And really it turned out to be a wonderful place to go on our honeymoon. One day we spent the WHOLE day in the temple, working our way up from baptisms on the bottom all the way to sealings on the top. The missionaries in the temple were really cute about us. They kept twittering about how were "the newlyweds". There really wasn't any better way to spend the first few days of our marriage than being surrounded by droves of happily married missionary couples.

So, Nauvoo is a special place for us.

This weekend it was really sweet to go back to the place where we started our marriage with four little ones in tow. It really made Jon and I realize how far we have come, and all that we have gone through together, the last several years.

It was also fun to go to Nauvoo this time of year because it isn't very crowed and the leaves on the trees are beautiful. Nauvoo also does a great Halloween celebration they call "Boo"tiful Nauvoo. For years I have heard Jon talk about how much fun Halloween is in Nauvoo. So this year, since we were just a few hours away, we decided to take the kids. They lined the main street in Nauvoo with over 500 pumpkins and had a wonderful "pumpkin walk" up and down the street, with food vendors and trick or treating. The town really came out for it and everyone was dressed up in costumes. Asher was really looking forward to the goblin parade, which ended up being a parade of anyone who wanted to marching down the street in their costumes. Some people really went all out! It was very small townish and very fun.

Loved the empty tomb pumpkin! Though it turns out that this visitor's center should be renamed the "anti-Mormon" visitor's center. Ack!
The kids were excited to get dressed up in their costumes. Abe is going as a mouse this year (re-cycled from last year), Rose is going a gypsy (because they wear lots of  jewelry) and Asher is going as a Jedi (because they carry light-sabers... or in this case pointy sticks).

We had a great time in Nauvoo and got really excited for Halloween. I hope you have a great Halloween this week (if you live in the US) and that you don't forget to celebrate it the very best way-- by honoring the dead. 


  1. I've lived in the Nauvoo temple district for three years and I didn't know about "Boo"tiful Nauvoo. How fun! My family will have to go to that next year. Thanks for sharing. It really is such a special, beautiful, historic place!

  2. Hey! I was just there that same weekend! I think I recognize your kids! We loved the pumpkins too.