Sunday, April 22, 2012

Seniors trip to Valley Forge

Our second seniors outing was to Valley Forge, where George Washington and his troops spent the winter of 1877-1878.
It is located on a high hill overlooking the Philadelphia area.  It is hard to see Philadelphia, but George Washington was able to keep track of the British from here.  Now, it is a very large green countryside.
There is a road throughout the park where you can see many of the sights at Valley Forge.  There were many thousand men encamped here, and they divided them into 12-man teams.  Each team had to build its own hut.  There are trees growing now, but after building the huts and keeping the fires going, it is estimated that there wasn't a tree standing for two miles in any direction.
Only a few remain, but at one time there were over a thousand huts.  Each hut was somewhat different and outfitted by each unit.

They had cooking mounds nearby.

This one was used for baking.
Because they came from many different area, their "uniforms" weren't.
They learned to fire muskets and rifles.
After General VonSteuben arrived they were really formed into a great army.
Later a large commemorative arch was built, honoring those who were here.
Another tourist was prevailed upon to take the seniors picture in front of the arch.
But the sisters wanted their own picture together, to they gathered by a nearby tree.
Farther on around the drive we came to the house that George Washington used as his headquarters while they were at Valley Forge.
These are our good friends, the Houses.  They serve in the office with us, and we really enjoy their company.
Elder Ashby, our former bishop who lived accross the street from us in West Valley City, and I checked out the huts that Washington's guards had.

And so, we bid farewell to you from Valley Forge.  You should study more about this era in our country's history.

There is a great program on BYU-TV on the internet called "The American Ride" which gives some great information about our American history.

I think our next senior's trip might be to Longwood Gardens.  We've been there five times already, but see something new each time.

May God bless each of you.

With Love,  Elder and Sister Bailey

Ahh Springtime

With spring in the air, the senior missionaries are enjoying some outings to various places here in the mission.
I'll divide this into three posts for ease of browsing.

 Our first trip was to downtown Philadelphia to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.
You had to have timed tickets to get in, but Elder and Sister Rogers who are assigned to the downtown arranged to get our tickets.  Inside they had many things to see.  Here is a view of the room where they worked on the Declaration of Independence.
They were arranged in a couple of semi-circles, with each colony sitting together.  The chairman sat at this desk.  The top of the room in front was a symbol of blind justice.
And seated just below was the Chairman of the assembly.
At the top of his chair was a carving showing a sun, either rising or setting.
When all was said and done, Benjamin Franklin said "I've been looking at that rendering all during this convention and have tried to decide if it was a rising or a setting sun.  I've decided that it is a rising sun."
We stopped on the way out and another tourist took our pictures.
From Independence Hall we went across the street to the visitors center.
And just around the corner to the right is the walkway to the Liberty bell.
The white building at the end of the grassy mall is the National Constitution Center, which we didn't have time to visit this trip.
At the end of the walkway on the left of the previous picture and around the corner, you enter the building that houses the Liberty bell.  After walking a ways inside you get to the actual Liberty bell itself.
For awhile, you couldn't get close to the bell, and then a couple of years ago they opened it up.  Then they used to let you actually touch the bell, but someone brought a hammer and tried to ring the bell, so now you just get to look at it, and we did.
After leaving the Liberty bell, we went across the mall and visited a cemetery where Benjamin Franklin is buried.

It was a great time to be there with the other missionaries.  If you get to Philadelphia, you should come and see the birthplace of freedom.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Eve in Longwood Gardens

Three blogs in one day must be a record!   
We really had a great new year's eve.  For Christmas Debbie got Rex a trip to Bethlehem, Pa to a model train museum.  It was really a nice layout, but oops, we forgot the camera.  We stopped back by home and then went to Longwood Gardens.  This beautiful park has over 1000 acres of plants and trees arranged in very unique areas.  They also have a large Conservatory with about 4 acres under glass and very climate controlled.
One of the Dupont family had it built many years ago. (You can look it up on the internet.)  They have every kind of plant imaginable, and at Christmas time they decorate it very nicely.  We took lots of pictures while we were there.  First, we'll show some of the day time pictures we took a few months ago.


                 The front entrance has lots of plants and trees around it

And they usually have some kind of theme event.
This event had some different sounds that can eminate from the forest

Look Closely
You can see the large wind chimes hanging from the tree outside a big tree house (with a large steel frame).

The tree house was guarded by a couple of dragons.

There was some great fall foliage when Bill Thomas was here to visit, and there was much to see with him.

We could show lots more pictures, and maybe we'll post a blog just on the gardens in the day, but now, on to our New Year's eve spectacle.

This is one of the walkways just inside the entrance.  Pictures just don't capture the glow.

This tree had hundreds of clear glass ornaments on it as well as the white lights.

On our way to the conservatory we passed this expanse where they have a fountain show during the day.  You'll see another picture from higher up a little later.

But we just had to see the "G" scale model trains first.

There were several.  Fortunately it wasn't real cold, because these are outside.

Here is that fountain area from the patio of the conservatory.

They had many beautiful trees inside.

Even a gingerbread man tree.


I tried to get the perspective here.  This was a really high room, with a sunken garden and lighted ceiling.  If I had photoshop I would have pieced these together.

The pipe organ at Longwood Gardens is one of the largest in the world.  There are some 10,010 pipes in 140+ ranks, which is 20 some more ranks than the organ in the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.  This organist is friends with Richard Elliot of the Tabernacle Choir.  We had a wonderful visit with him.  It was like a private recital.

His footwork was pretty fancy too!

So with a parting view of the conservatory,

and a view of some more lights,

We say "Good Night" to Longwood Gardens!