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Grotto of the Redemption
300 N. Broadway
West Bend, IA 50597

Grotto of Redemption when it basically threw itself in our path. A massive folk art structure similar to last year's Ave Maria Grotto, this one appears to be a big old pile of rocks arranged in a vague cathedral shape. Closer inspection revealed the rocks were everything from, well, rocks to crystals, polished geodes, shells of all sizes, broken marble, and even petrified wood, with mosaics depicting religious scenes and similarly themed statuary.

It's almost hypnotic and remarkably tactile so signs warning you against touching it were disappointing. Having said that, its location on a relatively busy thoroughfare, cheesy piped in music, and looming gift shop conspired to make the place a far less moving and spiritual experience than the peaceful and meditative Ave Maria Grotto in Alabama.

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