Friends, if you’re ever passing through the Wheeling/Moundsville area of West Virginia and have the
desire to be killed time to kill, I highly recommend making a pit stop at the Palace of Gold. Even if you don’t want to do the whole shebang with Govinda’s Cafeteria, slurping rose water in the Temple, gawking at the looming decrepit idol statues by the weird man-made lake, the actual Palace is worth the stop. They do tours every 30 minutes and it costs $9 (I think?), the tour is pretty quick but informative, and roaming the grounds is FREE so if you’re not into shuffling along in shoe-booties while a robe-clad guide stammers through her memorized spiel, you could easily eschew that and just go and like sniff some roses and maybe buy some cheap-ass bangle bracelets in the gift shop which is what I do every time I visit.
…which is what I thought FO SHO Henry was going to do — eschew the tour (though he did sniff the roses and buy a cheap bangle from the gift shop) — but he surprised me by saying, “No, I will be joining you two on this tour and I am CRAZY EXCITED.”
But first, we strolled around and yelled at Henry for taking shitty pictures of us.
Chooch has been really into wearing ponytails lately – not quite man-buns.
Before we went in for a tour, I was trying to take a selfie of the three of us and was not having great success, when some old lady with green-rimmed glasses strode over and was like, “Oh for Swami Prabhupada’s sake, do you want me to take the picture for you?”
She kind of reminded me of a character Francis Conroy would play in American Horror Story, if we’re being honest with each other here today on my blog. Anyway, she took this super strange photo of us from way too close and from a low angle. I was literally just grinning-and-bearing it at this point and the old Erin would have deleted this because OMG she looks awful, but it’s pretty hilarious to the new Erin who is trying her hardest to stop living her life by the Vanity Handbook.
So bad, lol.
Then we took the tour. There are no photo allowed and in the past, I have definitely sneaked a few here and there but nothing changes inside there so I kept my phone tucked into my purse like a good girl which was good because our guide was having a hell of a time getting through her sentences without the added stress of scolding people for taking contraband photos.
It was just the three of us, an older Indian family of 4, and a youngish couple who I found out are from Tyler, Texas and I desperately wanted to ask them if they know EISLEY but Henry was like, “Keep it moving, sister.”
Anyway, Chooch seemed to be pretty interested in the tour, especially the part about the Beatles being followers, but Henry’s main takeaway was that the followers who built the Palace of Gold were shitty builders and I was like, “OH OK ASSHOLE, BUILD ME A PALACE THEN AND SHOW ME HOW MUCH BETTER YOU CAN DO IT.” Honestly! He can barely build a gingerbread house!
But no seriously, build me a fucking palace, a replica of one from the Joseon Dynasty. IF I HAVE A CHOICE.
Then we meandered around the grounds and yelled at Henry some more for being camera-incompetent.
Like, he totally cut off the top of this pavilion.
I wanted to gleefully frolic and jump but Chooch admitted after the pictures were taken that he didn’t know what was going on, so that was cool. I look like my son just came and released me from the asylum.
Henry’s favorite part was the lily padded pond. He saw some fish and frogs! He was content.
Chooch and I talked to the ducks for a while but then Henry angered them and they started quacking and I really hoped they’d attack him but no.
Henry also liked perusing the rose garden with his hands clasped behind his back.
Henry really likes the simple things in life, which is why I feel like he’d really thrive in this compound…except for the no meat thing. I honestly don’t think Henry could ever give up meat.
He always makes chicken at home because he’s rude and doesn’t consider the fact that he lives with two vegetarians and MAYBE WE DON’T WANT TO SMELL THAT SHIT.
Henry the Rose Garden Schlepper.
Chooch took this lovely picture and then was like, “BAM, this is how you take a good photo,” to Henry. Honestly, Chooch takes really good photos of me, bless that kid.
What a beautiful day trip, I can’t stop smiling every time I look at these pictures and think of our time there together. Every time I visit, I leave there thinking that I could really live this life. I already don’t eat meat, and I really like palaces! But, I already worship G-Dragon, so I guess there isn’t any room in my heart for any other idols.
I may not believe in god or whatever, but I sure do love learning about other religions and exploring places like this and also this temple in Illinois! There’s some Bible Walk in Ohio that I’ve been dying to get Janna to go to with me, so maybe that will be my next creepy religious tourist trap this summer! WHO KNOWS.
If you’re desperate to know more about the tour itself, you could feel free to click here and read my account from my first trip there in 2013, mayhaps?