You pretty much take back farm roads to get to the entrance and then you enter these gates (not the pearly gates, but still nice) and go up this beautiful drive which is obviously aligned with these trees.
The monument is not the "actual" birthplace. Just over my right shoulder there is a little grove of trees and there is a small stone with a marker on it where they believe the foundation of the original home stood.
The monument is a solid piece of granite which is 37 1/2 feet tall (age of Joseph Smith at death???) (work with me here and adjust the figures accordingly). There is a neat story about how they built the monument transported the large piece of stone to the site (up steep hills), prayer was involved, etc.
There are two buildings on the site that you can take the tour. We didn't really want to take the tour because we had to travel a distance from Vermont and really just wanted to stop by and take a picture. But the missionary was nice and did a mini tour quickly. There are paintings of past prophets, etc. Stuff I am sure everyone has seen before. They had the interesting diagram showing the lineage from _____ which ascended 8 Presidents (including both H. & W. Bush) and also Joseph Smith.
Around the site there is choir music from "the" M.T.C. piped in from the forest. Very pretty lawn. Reverent, outdoor setting. We were just walking around the site and Sister X approached us and asked if we wanted the tour and we said no, but thanks, we were just quickly stopping by. Well, I felt bad so we did the mini tour. Very interesting how the church tried to purchase as much of the original farm land (160 acres) and dedicated the site. The Prophet came to dedicate the site all from the 1800's which is pretty amazing. So we got to the "end" of the tour and it was kind of awkward because obviously the missionary wanted to take the opportunity to "teach us about the church." [They had a baptism tank right outside. Kidding.] So there were pamphlets that we could take about the church, etc. We really didn't tell her why we were there or how much we knew about the church. She kind of started handing us stuff so then I told her I was actually a Bishop of a church in Texas and we didn't have to take as many pamphlets. Kidding.