Over a year ago, when we first started thinking about living in Pennsylvania, I was looking up what Temple district we would live in. (For those of you not members of our church, each LDS Temple has an area where the members inside it are specifically assigned a temple to help serve at and take care of. If you have a temple recommend, you can visit any temple in the world, but the temple you are assigned to becomes especially dear to you.) I noticed that it was the Washington DC temple, but looking closer, I noticed that once the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Temple was finished, we would then be assigned to it.
Well, this meant all sorts of exciting things, one of which, was that we might be able to be there to participate in the open house and the dedication. And that is definitely what it has meant for us. Right away, Lily started getting involved in practices for the Youth Cultural Celebration, and before we even left Idaho, I already had tickets for our family to go to the open house.
And so, on Thursday morning, we left bright and early and drove into Philly. (The traffic may be awful getting there, but it is a beautiful city.)
The Temple is located in the heart of historic downtown Philadelphia, right next to Benjamin Franklin's Free Library, and across the street from the major museums, but it stands out as an amazing beacon. They built it to fit perfectly with the Colonial architecture, and it looks as if it could have been constructed back in the 1700's, with all the amazing details.
When we arrived for our tour, it happened to be pouring rain, so I may not have been able to get all the pictures I would have loved to get, but it didn't matter. It was wonderful - umbrellas and all :).
The inside of the temple was spectacular. (To see pictures of the inside, go to the Mormon Newsroom page.) The details were so beautiful and inspired. I loved the touches of history all throughout the temple - pictures of the signing of the Constitution, a mural in the baptistry of Joseph Smith getting baptized in the Susquehanna River (which happened in Pennsylvania), and the chandeliers that were inspired by the ones hanging in Independence Hall (only a few miles away). So amazing!
They also have a small visitor's center there with a Cristus, and so I made sure to get a picture of the kids with it. I sure do love these kids of ours! And I love taking them to the temple. This is the fourth temple open house for Lily and Derek, and the third for Arthur, and it is so wonderful to let them feel the special spirit the temple has, as well as getting to see inside.
There is a roof top garden on top of the visitor's center, and it gives you a wonderful view of the temple. I think I loved watching the kids look at the temple more than anything. It made my heart happy to see it :).
Before we left, one of the sweet sister missionaries that was there, offered to take a picture for us in front of the temple. It is the perfect reminder of a wonderful experience.
Once we finished up at the temple, we headed over to the Reading Terminal Market to get some lunch. It was so awesome, and so delicious! My favorite thing was the Amish donut stand - best donuts I have ever tasted in my life. The carmel apple was my favorite, but they were all amazing :). WE also had lunch there, after eating donuts, and I had a delicious hot turkey sandwich. Yum! We need to go back so that I can try all the other yummy things I saw there.
On our way home, we made a quick stop at the Costco in Lancaster. As we were driving through the parking lot, I noticed the horse and buggy parking! It is for the Amish people that shop there. So awesome, and the only Costco in the world with it. I love living in Amish Country :).
It was a wonderful day, and we are so grateful for the fantastic experience. Pennsylvania is shaping up to be pretty awesome :).