Earlier this fall, we took a trip to Cullman, Alabama to go apple picking. Cullman is located just 50 minutes from downtown Birmingham. Now that Scarlett isn’t a newborn anymore, we’ve finally gotten into a routine and were itching to get out of the house to explore. We’re still VERY much practicing social distancing and felt safe going apple picking since it’s outdoors. Unfortunately the apple orchard was closed for picking for the season. I didn’t do my research, but they let us explore the grounds still. We did get some cute pictures and luckily had remembered seeing a sign for the Ave Maria Grotto also located in Cullman. We decided to not let our drive be a total waste and went to visit. Our neighbor and a friend had highly recommended it as well, so we knew it would be worth checking out. It worked out perfectly that we were able to visit because we knew it was outdoors, and it completely exceeded our expectations. It’s honestly a hidden gem in Alabama that is 100% worth the visit.
The Ave Maria Grotto is a park located on the grounds of St. Bernard Abbey (the only Benedictine monastery in the state of Alabama) featuring 125 miniature reproductions of some of the most famous religious structures in the world. It features everything from Noah’s Ark to The Alamo, The Great Wall of China, a scene in Bethlehem of Jesus’ birth, Jerusalem and more. It was honestly amazing to see how intricate these tiny models are. Even Jake was blown away by all of the tiny little structures remodeled from the originals. The grounds are 4 acres in size, making it easy to social distance even on a Saturday. We had a blast and I had to share all of our photos. Luckily Scarlett is a good little traveler and she slept in her carrier while we explored and she was also good in the car.
I was so glad our drive wasn’t wasted! I haven’t written a bite size Birmingham post since February, but it’s worth a trip to explore the Ave Maria Grotto if you’re in the Birmingham or Huntsville area. With COVID unfortunately this monthly series disappeared for a while. We still are not comfortable going anywhere indoors. Make sure to check out this post for some other things we’ve been doing in the area. What kind of social distancing activities have you been doing?