Back in the mid 80s I had an opportunity to visit the Abbey of Gethsemani in Bardstown KY where Thomas Merton lived. You can find a story I wrote about that trip on the Author page of this website
... and a well stocked gift shop
Back then it seemed somewhat remote, tucked away in the Kentucky hills
Nowadays there's much more activity ...
that I patronized with great enthusiasm
There's even wi-fi
What hasn't changed is the deeply spiritual nature of the place, although during my first visit you could only sit in the balcony and this time we sat on the floor, separated from the monks only by a railing.
I imagine many of their routines haven't changed over the years
Although they no longer make cheese. Merton once wrote "Poems are nought but warmed up breeze, dollars are made by Trappist Cheese."
But they still make Kentucky Bourbon fruitcake and fudge
In the story I wrote about my first visit to the Abbey, I described how someone giving me directions told me to take the 'For Sale' exit. But when he saw me write that down he said no, it was the V-E--R-S-A-I-L-L-E-S exit. I saw that exit again on this trip and still got a kick out of it.