I hope you’re having a great summer!
This is Cathy from My Book a Day. We love to travel with our four kids (ages 18, 18, 13 and 5). When we were planning our New England trip for this summer, we made a special trip to the Joseph Smith Birthplace in Sharon, Vermont.
We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We believe that Joseph Smith restored Jesus Christ's original church, so he is an important person in our church's history. The Joseph Smith Birthplace is one of many historical sites owned by the church that welcomes visitors. Learn more about this at ComeUntoChrist.org.
Here's what you can expect when you visit the Joseph Smith Birthplace.
The Joseph Smith Birthplace is located in a rural area near the towns of Sharon and South Royalton, Vermont. You'll need only 1-2 hours for your visit, and there are no hotels in the nearest towns, so this is the sort of place you visit on your way to somewhere else.
We stayed and ate in White River Junction, near Lebanon, New Hampshire – about 20 miles south of the Joseph Smith Birthplace. Montpelier, the capital of Vermont, is about 40 miles north of the site.
Click the button below to see hotels in White River Junction on TripAdvisor.com.
What to Bring
The top two items I recommend are a hat and insect repellent to keep the bugs away. There are a lot of bugs in this area. I was bit by something on my leg – and I was wearing pants that day.
Comfortable walking shoes and clothing are a good idea. There is a short hiking trail here.
Finally, you may want to pack drinks and snacks. You won't have to drive many miles to find a restaurant or groceries, but your options are limited in this area.
You’ll start your tour in the Visitor Center. Like all visitor centers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it’s staffed by missionaries. We were greeted by a kind senior couple.
They told us the history of the area, and shared stories about the site. They talked about when Joseph Smith and his family lived there, and about when the monument was built later. You can see the original hearth stone of the Smith home in the Visitor Center.
Original Home Site
Next, walk out to the monument and the original home site. These two places are right next to each other, near the Visitor Center.
Our family was amazed by the small size of the original home, marked on the ground by stones. The home’s original doorstep is still here.
The monument is a tall obelisk. It is beautiful, along with the gardens around it.
More to See
If you have time, make sure to go to the historic foundations. You can walk to the sites of Samuel Mack and Daniel Mack. If you’re patient, the missionaries can drive you there and back in a golf cart.
This is a beautiful area and I loved seeing the home sites, original stone bridge and rock wall. It’s kind of amazing to see what people did so long ago. They were hardworking and industrious. We really have things easy, compared to them.
If you have time, hike to Patriarch Hill. It’s a 1 ¼ mile hike to the highest spot at the Joseph Smith birthplace. We didn’t take the hike because the kids were not up for a lot of walking that day. I’m really sorry we missed it. Maybe next time!
I really enjoyed our stop at the Joseph Smith Birthplace in Vermont, and am glad that I could share it with my children. I hope that our experience helps your family plan a great trip.