Friday, April 14, 2017

The Ave Maria Grotto

Yesterday was a day for recharging my batteries.

And April in Alabama is a great place to do it.

Everything is so green.  In the week that I have been here the leaves on the trees have fully emerged between blossoms of all colors, casting shadows over green lawns.

It is in the spring when the green comes back that I remember just how much I love green.  I find it hard to live without green.

And there is green in abundance in the south.

Upon recommendation from a student while teaching in Birmingham, I set my GPS to find the Ave Maria Grotto.

The Grotto contains 125 miniature reproductions of some of the most famous historic buildings and shrines of the world. The masterpieces of stone and concrete are the lifetime work of Brother Joseph Zoettl, a Benedictine monk of St. Bernard Abbey. Begun as a hobby, with various materials he could find, and infinite patience and a remarkable sense of symmetry and proportion, Brother Joseph re-created some of the greatest edifices of all time. [source]


St Peters, Rome!


Wow.  Just Wow.

If I didn’t know better, I would swear I was sailing down the Amalfi coast, or maybe along the Cinque Terre.  Brother Joseph had a gift.

If you are anywhere near Cullman, Alabama, this is a beautiful spot and a must see.

And it wasn’t all just religious buildings.  It was EVERYTHING that captivated his fancy.


Like the great wall of China!


Just astounding.

There was something so special about taking the time to honor the vision and craftsmanship of such a humble man.  And the birds!  You have to hear the birds!  I made this little video:

Of course, I took too many photos (Can you do such a thing?) and they are in the following slide show:

It truly was an amazing place!

I’m being well taken care of in Cullman!


How lovely!


I do love me some ALABAMA!

Thank you for the wonderful welcome, Heartland Quilters!  It was a great guild meeting last night, and I’m looking forward to today’s Scrappy Mountain Majesties workshop.


Quiltville Quote of the Day!

Vintage improved nine patch quilt found in Alabama.

Are you the only thing that is holding you back? Encourage yourself to move forward!

Have a wonderful Friday, everyone!

Follow me on Instagram!

Follow my Quiltville Page on Facebook for more fun!

Join our sister group, Quiltville's Open Studio on Facebook, a place to Sew, Share & Grow!!


  1. Bonnie, Absolutely beautiful video of the grotto. Thank you so much for including it in your post and sharing it with us. The music with it was perfect! Continued safe travels.

    Julia Hellberg

  2. WoW!!! that is amazing!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Beautiful..
    Wishing you a Blessed Good Friday

    Debra in Ma.

  5. I hope you manage to get to Williams Barbecue in Cullman. Love their loaded potatoes.

  6. Oh Bonnie As always I thank you for sharing pictures and videos of your travels. I never get to see The Grotto in AL in person. Wishing you a Blessed Easter holiday. Love your new cabin in Virginia. Thank you Carolyn from Kendallville

  7. What a pretty grotto to stroll! and a fun basket...whoop! enjoy!

  8. Took my breath away. Thank you.

  9. I haven't been to Cullman in a few years, but they did have some neat antique shops.Thanks for sharing your tour. 🤗

  10. Another way to use scraps of a different kind. Such beauty.

  11. I cannot travel any longer,BUT if I could this would be on my bucket list!! Thank you so much for sharing the Grotto with us and the music was perfect!Enjoy and follow you daily as an interloper in travel and quilt adventures.Have a safe trip home and Happy Easter!

  12. Thank you for sharing this! It is beautiful. Reading your blog with a cup of coffee is a great way to start my morning. I woke up early this Saturday and now I can hear the birds in my back yard. Thank you again! After this I plan to catch up on bible reading,and the perfect day to do a little more quilting. You are so encouraging! I always look forward to your blog reminders in my e mail.

  13. Amazing-thank you for sharing, Susan

  14. Enjoy your family and Easter. Recharge! Beautiful Alabama pictures!

  15. Thanks for posting the slide show. As a former miniaturist, I especially appreciate the hours of work put into the details.

  16. Absolutely brilliant


Did you know that ad space on this blog provides for all of the free patterns and free mysteries and challenges at no cost to you?

Thank you for understanding the many hours that go into this blog every day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. :)

Each ad you click X to close is a thank you in return.