Major sites in Palmyra & surrounding area
Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center (and pageant in July)
Smith Family Farm
Book of Mormon Historic Publishing Site (Grandin press)
Martin Harris Farm
Peter Whitmer Farm (40 min drive to Fayette)
www.hillcumorah.org A very helpful website with up-to-date info on everything from historic sites’ hours of operation to maps & weather to accommodations & food in the Palmyra area. This website will also tell you all you want to know about the Hill Cumorah Pageant, held in July of each year.ania (now called Oakland) – Aaronic Priesthood Restoration Site (About 165 miles from Palmyra)
Free tours are offered daily at The Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center, The Smith Family Farm, the Book of Mormon Historic Publishing Site, and the Peter Whitmer Farm.
The Sacred Grove is open year-round for self-guided tours.
Hill Cumorah Visitors’ Center
This is a beautiful visitors’ center where you can watch videos, take a tour, or browse the many informational and interactive displays on your own. Allow at least an hour or two if you want to look at everything. Our time was limited, so we skimmed the displays quickly and moved on to the historical sites.
The Hill Cumorah
It only takes a few minutes to drive or walk up to the top of the Hill Cumorah for the view of the surrounding countryside and to see the Moroni Monument. We spent perhaps 15-20 minutes there, admiring the view, taking pictures and reading the inscriptions on the monument.
The Smith Family Farm
This includes the Smith log home, the Smith frame home, the cooper’s shop, a barn, and the surrounding property. You can enter the Sacred Grove from the farm. Allow about 1 hour to see these things.
The Sacred Grove
This area is open year-round for self-guided tours. After you finish the tour of the Smith Family Farm, you will be directed to the Sacred Grove to spend whatever time you want there. We visited the grove early in the morning (before 8:00am) so that we could be there by ourselves in the quiet. It turned out that no one else was there. In peak season this may not be so.
Book of Mormon Historic Publishing Site
This is the beautifully restored Grandin Press building in downtown Palmyra. Allow at least an hour to take the tour, longer if you want to take your time looking at everything. Along with the printing press and equipment, there are also some displays and original artwork there.
Martin Harris Farm
There are no original structures or tours here, but it’s worth stopping to see as a part of the all-around church history tour. There is a cool looking house built with river rock on the original site of the Martin Harris home. You will only need about 15 minutes here.
A visit to The Palmyra Temple is a great thing to include in your trip to Palmyra. For LDS church members, if you want to do a session there, it is by appointment. Check www.lds.org for detailed information.
Incidentally, the Palmyra Temple is the only temple with a clear glass window. It provides a view of the Sacred Grove.
Peter Whitmer Farm (Fayette)
It’s worth the drive to go and take the tour here. It’s a pretty drive and so much happened at this place. Allow at least 40 minutes to drive there, another hour or so for the tour (longer if you are very inquisitive and have a knowledgeable guide).
Harmony, Pennsylvania (now called Oakland) Site of Aaronic Priesthood Restoration and the Susquehanna River
This is a long way from Palmyra (about 165 miles), but we were on our way to New York City, and it was an easy stop on that route. There isn’t much to see here currently, but the church has plans to develop the site with a visitors’ center and some restored homes. Joseph & Emma lived here for a time shortly after they were married. Currently, there is a monument dedicated to the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood. There is a small cemetery next to the monument where Emma Smith’s parents, Isaac & Elizabeth Hale are buried, as well as the infant son of Joseph & Emma. The gravestones are on the east side of the cemetery, close to the road.
Also worth seeing is the Susquehanna River, which is right behind the monument. This is where Joseph Smith & Oliver Cowdery were baptized and where they received the Aaronic Priesthood.
There is a road which leads to a walkable path down to the river behind the chainlink fence that runs along the east side of the graveyard. Drive east about a quarter of a mile on the road you came in on, take the first right and then turn right again onto the dirt road that runs along the chainlink fence. Drive until you see the path to the river on your left. It’s not very far.
Palmyra Inn is the only hotel within walking distance of the Smith Farm, Sacred Grove and the Palmyra Temple. It was a wonderful place to stay. The rooms are clean and comfortable, there is a free breakfast (heavy on carbs, but decent), laundry facilities, friendly staff, and they can accommodate large families. We were happy with our stay there, and you can’t beat the location! There is not another hotel around for a few miles.
During our short stay in Palmyra, we ate at Athenia Diner, The Yellow Mills Diner and the Chill-N-Grill. The two diners were so-so — the food was alright, but definitely diner food. The service was VERY slow at the Yellow Mills.
Chill-N-Grill, on the other hand, was a fantastic place for ice cream, and their burgers were pretty good, too. (You just can’t eat burgers for every meal . . . although we managed to have ice cream 3 times in 2 days). The smallest size ice cream was gigantic! And it was fabulous ice cream! So, try to find a better place for dinner, but don’t miss the Chill-N-Grill for ice cream!