melissa murphy

@mrrpmurphy: Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year! Let 2014 be a year filled with happiness and joy and remember those who we lost and spread their joy and happiness to all❤ (x)

When I visited Katie in Portland, she took me to The Grotto. More formally, it’s the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, a Catholic shrine carved into a 110-foot cliff where outdoor Mass is held, & a botanical garden that sits atop the cliff. 

We took the outdoor elevator up to the clifftop gardens (which was it’s own little adventure) & spent a couple of hours walking through the trees & breathing the fresh air. We both talked & walked in silence, appreciating the quietness of the place. 

Don’t let the fact that it’s run by a specific religious denomination prevent you from going. The Grotto is a beautiful space that’s open to everyone. I was a little intimidated at first, as I’m not religious, but in my opinion it’s an excellent place to visit, with or without friends, when you need to collect your thoughts. 

My favorite section of the garden was an open grassy space where, if you stood in the center & looked up, you could see the sky peeking through thousands of red leaves.