Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Two peas in a pod...traveling to St. Louis and Historical Nauvoo

Birch and I just got home from a splendid trip to St. Louis, MO. The trip was inspired by Birch needing to acquire quite a few hours for his continuing education requirement to keep his Physical Therapy license current. I couldn't miss out on the opportunity to have some alone and couple time so I joined in on the fun. Of course, the trip wouldn't have been possible without my parents, Birch's mom, and my sister watching the kids during the week we were gone. THANK YOU FAMILY!!! As I have said before, I really feel these annual trips are the glue that helps keep our relationship strong and holds us together during the drought times when we seem to only pass each other on the weekends.
The first three days I spent literally lounging in bed. I read two books, watched the entire movie of Scarlet Pimpernel, took naps, and watched TLC. It was pure heaven! Birch would come back to the hotel for lunch and then at night we would head out into downtown St. Louis for some night fun.
We were able to slip in a short little "cruise" down the Mississippi River in an old steam boat. It certainly wasn't the highlight of the trip but it was interesting (luckily I bought it cheap from a Groupon). This was our first real experience dying in the humidity. It was incredible! I have never sweated so much in my life!!
Another night we were able to catch a Cardinals baseball game against the Astros. We had super-high cheap seats but it was fun to catch all the Cardinal's spirit.A friend had told us about this strip steak house that we HAD to go to. It was walking distance from our hotel so we decided to indulge one night. We ordered "The Beast" which, if eaten solely in one sitting, would be rewarded by being free! Birch and I split this 48 oz. steak--we made a dent in the meal but would have had plenty to share. Fun memories!Birch really enjoyed learning about the historical heritage of St. Louis.
Birch was dying to go to the top of The Arch. I wasn't sure that I wanted to spend the money for both of us to go up, but in the end we decided to go together. It was a crazy experience. Here you can see Birch sitting in the elevator pod that slowly rocks/lifts you back and forth up to the top of the arch. Then the elevator opens and you can spend some time looking out the windows that show miles and miles of St. Louis.

This was our view out of the arch window. You can see that a Cardinals game was going on. You can also see the hotel that we stayed at "The Drury Hotel at the Arch."

Another night we hopped on the metro to go to the St. Louis Science Center to see the Body Worlds and The Brain exhibit. During our hour there we were able to view more than 200 authentic human specimens, all preserved through the process of Plastination, the specimen preservation method invented by Dr. Gunther von Hagens. It was an adventure getting there (think walking over two miles in flip flops in extreme humidity and 95 degree weather). We both really enjoyed the exhibit, though I think it is safe to say Birch ate up the whole thing.
Saturday afternoon we picked up our sweet yellow banana rental car and headed to Nauvoo, Illinois (about a three hour drive from St. Louis). Nauvoo is a historically significant town for our church, where the church grew considerably and suffered much heartache from religious persecution. We checked into our quaint bed and breakfast about 6 pm and got ready to catch the last showing of the year of the Nauvoo Pageant.
The pageant was phenomenal!! The acting was awesome and the set was pretty cool too.
Sunday morning we enjoyed a tasty breakfast at our bed n' breakfast and then headed to church. After a nice sacrament meeting we started exploring the old Nauvoo town. Birch and I had both been to Nauvoo about 25 years ago, so not only were our memories slim but so much more has been restored since that time.
Birch and the blacksmith were quick friends. We came home with six horseshoe nail rings for the kids -- a memento that I treasured myself from so many years earlier.
The Nauvoo temple was rebuilt about ten years ago after it had been destroyed by the mobs and nature 150 years earlier. It was so magnificent!
We stuffed ourselves at the Nauvoo hotel's buffet.
This is the site where all the limestone was quarried to build the temple. Birch and I are laying on a sunstone -- I believe that thirty sunstones were still in good shape after the destruction of the original temple.
This is Emma and Joseph Smith's home (the natural wood side). The other white side was built by one of their sons. I thought it was kind of funny that even though the two houses are totally connected together the son painted his side different.
Monday we started the morning with another delicious breakfast at our bed n' breakfast and then we were able to do a temple session at the Nauvoo temple. It was a really special experience for us!
Then we packed up and headed to Carthage, Illinois. This is the town that Joseph Smith was martyred in. This picture is the jail that Joseph and his brother Hyrum were shot at.The original door and the three gun shots holes are still very visible.
I love this picture that Birch took through the gunshot hole. You can see the window that Joseph Smith fell out.

Then we drove back to St. Louis for our last night and checked into our hotel. After checking in we drove to the Muni Theater. It is an amazing outdoor theater that hosts Broadway musicals all summer long. We were lucky enough to catch the first showing of "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers." The first 1,500 guests can sit in the free seating section -- we showed up extra early and were able to take advantage of this great offer.
It was SO hot (like 95 degrees at 8:30 pm and super humid) -- we were each sweating like pigs while we "pigged" out on our pizza. The production was SO good!
Out last day was spent canoeing down the Meramec River. This was the hottest day of our time in the midwest -- it was 111 degrees. We hopped in and out of the river to cool ourselves off throughout our float. It was a really calm river and felt very secluded.
A little sunning break from our canoe trip.Birch doing a back flip off of a rock ledge.

After our float we dried off and headed back to the St. Louis airport. We didn't get back home until after midnight but found our children all sleeping. The next morning we found that they had decorated several of our windows with "welcome home" messages--it was really sweet. It took all of about two seconds to be back to our regular routine (and possibly missing sleeping in, someone washing your dishes for you, hours to read silently, snuggle time with my husband, daytime adventures, and being a bum). Lucky for me I was able to think of our trip for the next week since I came home with bed bug bites all over my lower legs. Sweet! Thankfully it looks like we did leave the buggers in St. Louis but man were those bites itchy and gave me the creeps!!!

I LOVE my man!!!!


Matt said...

Looks like a great trip from which you took full advantage!

emily a. said...

The bed bugs were from your trip? I forgot to ask you about that later. Shoot...

That 'beast' meal had some serious meat going on. That's hilarious.

I'm glad you had such a great trip.

Leah said...

Looks like an awesome trip. So happy for you guys. And NASTY about the bed bugs.

The Ditto clan said...

how fun, looks like you guys had
an amazing time!