S: New York - Spring 2012
1: Traveling to Newark, NJ We drove through four inches of snow in Spanish Fork and flew to Newark via Denver. The winds in Denver made it an adventurous landing in the small United plane. The flight to Newark was uneventful, and we watched movies on our iPhones and iPods to pass the time. | We Arrived in Newark after midnight with no hotel reservation. After a few calls, we found a good deal at the Hilton Newark Airport Hotel. The beds were heavenly. We didn't want to wake up, but had a full day ahead, starting with the car rental at Alamo.
2: Thomas Edison National Historical Park, West Orange, NJ
3: After six hours of sleep, we got up and rented a Tahoe. A quick stop at a store for donuts, and we were on our way to West Orange to see Thomas Edison's Laboratory and Home. We started at the Black Maria where motion pictures were born. It is on a circular track so they could swing the studio to get the best sunlight through its roof that opens up. Our next stop was to Edison's office where there were volumes of books used for research, some of his inventions, and the bed where he often slept. Then we went into the laboratory where Edison's inventors worked with craftsmen to create prototypes of their inventions. Several of his inventions needed some explaining for the younger girls as we no longer use those items such as the phonographs and dictaphones. It was chilly in the shade as we waited for a tour of the Chemical Laboratory. The bottles of chemicals are original to the laboratory; although, hazardous chemicals have been removed.
5: Before heading to Edison's house, we needed some lunch. The park ranger suggested Jimmy Buff's. Wow!! Talk about a different way to enjoy a hot dog. A fried hot dog on a large, soft roll with mustard, onions and fried potatoes. Slather it with ketchup and you have a meal in your hand. Edison's house was another great experience led by a part ranger. We viewed most of the rooms, where we saw bear skin rugs, beautiful works of art, and learned about Edison's home life.
6: Hoboken, NJ | A visit to Carlo's Bake Shop was a must for Ashley. While a picture in front of the shop was sufficient, we decided to wait in the 30 min line to purchase some treats. The Lobster Tails were fabulous! To Ashley's delight, she was able to get a picture with Maddalena Castano, Buddy's sister.
7: "Ashley can't find her way in Utah but she can in Hoboken, New Jersey!"
8: Windsor, CT | The Easter Bunny was able to find us at the Holiday Inn Express in Meriden, CT. In addition to chocolate bunnies, Cadbury eggs, dollar bills, and peeps, the Easter Bunny also brought each of the girls a lottery ticket. Caitlyn and Bethany had winners, so we stopped at a gas station to redeem them. Back on the road again, when they announce that they won again. Another stop to redeem the tickets, then the fun was finally all over. Our next stop was Windsor, CT, and the cemetery where our Wolcott ancestors are buried.
9: The first Wolcott family in the American colonies was Henry Wolcott of Tolland, Somerset, England and his wife, Elizabeth Saunders. They emigrated to America in 1630. Henry Wolcott was born in 1578 at Tolland, Somerset and died in 1655 at Windsor CT. He married Elizabeth in 1606. Henry, Elizabeth, and three of their sons sailed from Plymouth on the Mary and John . They arrived in Dorchester MA 31 May 1630. Their two daughters and youngest son arrived a few years later. Henry settled at Windsor CT in 1636. He was a member of the CT House of Delegates from1637 to 1643, and was a member of the House of Magistrates from 1643 until his death in 1655. Henry and Elizabeth Wolcott, both died in 1665, and are buried in the churchyard of the First Congregational Church at Windsor CT. Chuck is the twelfth generation descendant of Henry Wolcott through Samuel Wolcott and Capt. Samuel Wolcott.
10: Stockbridge, MA | With two budding artists in the family, we stopped off at the Norman Rockwell Museum. After touring the galleries, we had a chance to hear from a docent about several of his paintings, including the last one he painted.
11: We enjoyed seeing his many covers for the Saturday Evening Post.
13: Niagara Falls, ON, Canada | After Stockbridge, we hopped on the thruways and drove to Niagara falls, over 400 miles from where we started this morning. We arrived at Niagara Falls around 8 pm. After driving by the falls and snapping a picture, we checked-in to the Embassy Suites. Our view from our room on the 42nd floor was incredible. Mom and Ashley watched the falls change colors while the other girls went downstairs to swim and Dad picked up some treats, including organic Canadian milk. The next morning we ate breakfast at the hotel's buffet, overlooking the falls. We checked-out and drove around town. It was cool with a strong breeze. Since it was early in the season, there was not much to do, so we drove up along the river.
16: Hill Cumorah, Palmyra, NY
17: Smith Family Farm House, Palmyra, NY | We crossed back in to the United States at the Peace Bridge near Buffalo, NY. We arrived in Palmyra after a late lunch. Our first stop was at the Hill Cumorah Visitor's Center. We enjoyed the spirit there was we viewed the Christus and other interactive displays. We then headed out and up the path to the monument in strong winds. We headed back to the visitors center using the trail down the back of the hill where the winds were not as strong. Our next stop was the Smith Family Farm where we had a great experience touring the different buildings and walking through the sacred grove. It was cool and windy afternoon, but the solitude of the grove was memorable.
20: Grandin Book Publisher | At the Grandin Book Publisher we walked through the history of printing the book of Mormon. We learned how they picked out each letter to create composing sticks. how they folded the first 16 pages of the book, and how they moved the printed pages from the third floor to the second floor bindery using a hoist. The original building is encompassed in the visitors center. Then we headed over to the Yellow Mills Diner for a tasty dinner that included a cheeseburger wrap and Philly steak sandwich. We stayed at the Palmyra Inn where we enjoyed their large jacuzzi, met another family from Utah, and ate a great breakfast.
21: Our Temple Experience Going to the Palmyra, NY Temple was such a spiritual experience. Having the opportunity to be baptized for our own relatives in such a key destination in church history was unforgettable. The temple had just reopened after being closed for a couple of weeks. While we waited, one of the temple workers came to talk to us about the temple building and the ordinances. We learned that one of the three families there were also from Utah. Being able to be there as sisters, having our father baptize us, and having our mother watch was unforgettable. We were first baptized, then we exited the font and were confirmed in a chair adjacent to the font. The Temple scenery and decoration are remarkable, especially the stained glass. It made it all the more special because we had the background stories of the glass and the glass maker. From the back window, we could see the sacred grove. Our testimonies grew so much from this experience. The funniest moment was when we got back to the hotel and found Emily and Caitlyn's handmade "Do Not Disturb" sign. | Palmyra Temple
22: We visited the Peter Witmer farm 182 years and a few days after the organization of the church. The Witmer log cabin was reconstructed on the original site of their home and dedicated in 1980 by President Spencer W. Kimball. As with the other church sites, it was a step back into time and another witness of the restoration of the church in these the latter-days. | Peter Witmer Farm
24: Corning Glass Museum | At the last minute we decided to visit the Corning Glass Museum in Corning, NY. This was one of the highlights of the trip as we were able to see a variety of art creations in glass. We were amazed at some of the creations such as the Liberty Bell in glass that even had the familiar crack. We watched a couple of demonstrations on blowing glass and creating glass art objects. We talked with one of the workers about how she got her start in working with glass. We walked through their gift shop looking for something to buy, but it was all pretty pricey. With no souvenirs but our memories, we loaded up, grabbed a predictable dinner at Panera Bread, and headed to Scranton, PA for the night.
28: We arrived at the Doubletree Suites in New York City after a short detour through Queens. We ate dinner at Juniors and roamed around Times Square before heading to see Peter and the Starcatchers at the Brooks Atkinson Theater. The show was great!! It was an adventurous play that Caitlyn really enjoyed. We topped off the night with some Juniors cheesecake. Yummm!
29: Day 2
30: Our second day in New York started with a subway ride downtown where we shopped at Century 21, then visited the Trinity Church where George Washington attended services. Next was another subway ride for shopping on Canal St. Lunch was at Sal's in Little Italy where we ate pizza and while Caitlyn had a cheese calzone. Another stroll down Canal St to catch the subway back to the hotel. For dinner we grabbed sandwiches at the famous Carnegie Deli then headed to the Schubert Theater to watch the incredible musical, Memphis.
31: Day 3 | More shopping the third day at Macy's at Herald Square. Then we headed uptown to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On our way we found Burger One Coffee Shop, where we had a fabulous burger and fries. We took up half of the stools in the little shop. After snapping a few photos on Park Ave, we arrived at the Met. We could have spent days looking at all the galleries. We were transported back in time to ancient Egypt, armor and weapons of the middle ages, paintings by Rembrandt and Goya. A couple of highlights included the painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware and a painting of the Matterhorn. We even came across a painting that Ashley studied in school, and a bedroom set mentioned in a book Emily had read in school.
34: On our way back to the hotel we picked up some real New York pizza for dinner, except for Caitlyn who had raviolis. After a short rest we were off again for the Majestic Theater where we watched Phantom of the Opera. We watched from rows 2 and 4 of the orchestra. Incredible views of an impressive musical. After the show, we snapped a picture with Kyle Barisich who played Raoul. After drifting through Times Square, we capped off the night with ice cream shakes and sundaes at Ellen's Stardust Diner. The entertainment of the waiters was exciting, and it was a great way to spend our last night in New York City.
37: After a breakfast of eggs on a bagel, we loaded up to head to the airport, thinking we had plenty of time. Little did we know that we would have one last adventure. Within sight of the airport, we took the wrong exit up and over a bridge. Construction on the bridge put us behind schedule and an accident on the other side of the bridge caused us to drive through Jersey City. We barely made it with time to check baggage and get through security. We boarded immediately and began the long, uneventful plane rides home.