Friday, November 21, 2014

The Grotto, Portland, Oregon

We finally made it to Portland on October 23rd, the fifth day after we left home. We encountered the first rains as we drove across the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. It rained almost every day that we were in Portland but it usually cleared up and some days were even sunny. One of the wettest days was the day we visited The Grotto, The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother.

I read about The Grotto on a traveler's website and thought it would be an interesting place to visit. Some of our friends from Alabama had arrived by then and they being Catholic, I thought they might enjoy it too. I am probably the LEAST religious person on earth but I thoroughly enjoyed this place and Michael says that he would list it as one of his favorite places in Portland. It was incredibly beautiful and peaceful. Of course, the entire time I was there I was thinking of Jennifer Jones in "The Song of Bernadette"!

Giant fir trees line a pathway that lead to the shrine at the grotto. The grotto itself is nestled into the base of a 110-ft. tall cliff. A chapel is located near the grotto. Services are held here and sometimes, on good weather days, they are held directly in front of the grotto. 

An elevator takes you to the top of the cliff where a meditation chapel, a monastery, religious artwork, shrines and an incredible 62-acre botanical garden awaits.  

I did not hear of The Grotto on my first visit to Portland last year and just stumbled upon it this time. If you visit Portland, be sure to visit this incredible place. I would place it right up there on the list with the Japanese Garden. 





The Grotto, Portland, Oregon
The paths leading up to the grotto were lined with massive fir trees.


The Grotto, Portland, Oregon
The grotto is carved into the base of a 110 ft. tall cliff.


The Grotto, Portland, Oregon





For a fee, you can take the elevator to the top of the cliff to see the beautiful gardens and religious artwork.


The Grotto, Portland, Oregon
It is a long way up to the top!



The Grotto, Portland, Oregon
The Meditation Chapel at the top of the cliff has a panoramic view of the Columbia River and Mt. St. Helens


The Grotto, Portland, Oregon
The view from the meditation room.


The Grotto, Portland, Oregon
Looking down from the top. The grotto is located underneath this cliff.


The Grotto, Portland, Oregon
This is the statue at the top of the cliff. You can see the top of it in the previous photograph taken from below.
The Grotto, Portland, Oregon
Another view from the top.


The Grotto, Portland, Oregon
Winding pathways weave through fir trees, mature shrubs (including many large rhododendrons) and water features.



The Grotto, Portland, Oregon
This area is called "The Peace Garden".

The Grotto, Portland, Oregon  


The Grotto, Portland, Oregon
The Monastery was built in 1936 and is home to the Servite Friars. The Monastery can accommodate up to twelve priests and brothers. The rock exterior is sandstone from Washington State.  The Monastery was condemned in 1985 and the interior structure was gutted and renovated.


The Grotto, Portland, Oregon  


The Grotto, Portland, Oregon

The Grotto, Portland, Oregon
The little red chapel honors St. Anne, the mother of Mary.  Built in 1934 to house the Blessed Sacrament during the first United States Marian Congress, it continued to serve as a chapel before the Chapel of Mary was built.  It now houses numerous Madonna paintings from many countries.

The Grotto, Portland, Oregon

The Grotto, Portland, Oregon
Along the pathway are little display buildings that house wood carvings depicting events in the life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The states are carved out of white pine and are the work of Professor Heider of Pietralba, Italy. The statues were recently restored.

The Grotto, Portland, Oregon

The Grotto, Portland, Oregon

The Grotto, Portland, Oregon
A bronze state of St. Francis of Assisi.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

12 comments:

  1. Saying that this garden rivals the Japanese Garden is high praise. You have captured the feel of this place with your photos. It seems very serene.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We visited here nearly 40 years ago. I thought the Grotto the best thing we saw in all our trip. The Stations of the Cross stand out in my memory and as best I remember, there was a Rose Garden close by. Your photos are outstanding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Rose Garden was in front of the monastery but they were all bare.

      Delete
  3. Glad you found this place. I visited a few years ago, I think it's time I go back.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice... The rainy weather actually makes the pictures all the more atmospheric!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I can tell you aren't Catholic as you wrote, Jesus, Joseph, and Mary. That would be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! Lovely place, I had never heard of it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dear Phillip, I would wish I had known about The Grotto and the botanical garden when I visited Portland! What an amazing place! The Grotto is so beautiful and impressive and the botanical garden with its mature trees makes my heart sing. I am so glad that you found out about this place and got to see it. Thanks for sharing it here on your blog. It is for sure on my must-see list now as well! Warm regards,
    Christina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I think I first read about it on Trip Advisor, of all places.

      Delete
  7. I have not been there in aeons, but when I was little, my parents took the six! of us kids there all the time. And my sister's high school graduation from Marycrest was held at the Grotto--not a bad venue. (I only made thru the first two years at that all-girl Catholic High School, and then transferred to public school. Boy was that a shock.) It does occur to me in thinking back, my parents did a pretty terrific job getting us out to most of the nearby gorgeous hotspots. When I drive up the Gorge these days, I realize we visited every single waterfall and park along the way, no small feat organizing picnics for all of us. We were always starving by the time we got 2 blocks from home. PDX is pretty good place to grow up--surrounded by all this natural beauty. Glad you found it and enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a beautiful and unique place. The Peace Garden looks very lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The Peace Garden is well named. The area around the Mary Chapel is amazing, lush and tranquil. I have been to Portland and visited a number of gardens but not this one. Next time I may seek it out.

    ReplyDelete