Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bozeman, Ennis, and Virginia City, Montana

On Saturday morning, after those fabulous waffles, we left Arco, Idaho and started the four and a half hour drive north to Bozeman, Montana, to visit Lizz's childhood friend Jane.  The drive along I-20 took us through the Targhee National Forest, where we were greeted by this taxidermy bear in a grocery store in northern Idaho, reminding us we were nearing the western edge of Yellowstone National Park.

Continuing north along I-191, it was a beautiful drive through West Yellowstone.
We arrived in Bozeman in mid-afternoon, and got settled at Jane's place, before heading out for a drink at The Mint Bar and Cafe in the neighboring town of Belgrade to relax and get reacquainted.  A trip to the bathroom confused me.  Was I an "Either"
or an "Or"?
I believe I opted for "Either"!  The atmosphere was nice and the drinks were good, and we had some giggles and then headed off to Norris Hot Springs for soak in a thermal tub while listening to live Celtic Music.
The water temperature was divine, the music delightful, and the crowd a mellow, happy group.  And Lizz and Jane were surprised to discover that our neighbors in the pool were from their same hometown area in New York.  A small world!  At 10 pm the water level started to go down and it was time for everyone to get out of the pool, which they drain nightly.  We began the trek home, and the road back to Bozeman was a cautious drive, with an eye peeled for deer on the unlit, rural road.  We were in bed by 11:30 pm and it was a great first day in Montana.

Sunday morning Lizz and Jane headed out for a hike while I wrote my blog.  After their return, we did a little bargain hunting and then hit the local Costco to purchase some salmon for dinner.  I like to look for things I don't see at home, and these waders caught my eye.  They reminded me of the four guys we saw bonding over fly fishing at Zion a few days earlier.
Costco also had water shoes that looked interesting. Jane hopped behind the boxes to help me find my size.  What an excellent sales clerk!  No luck, though.
Back at home we ate dinner against the Montana sunset, sharing wine and great food with yet another New York friend, Jenny.  It was a beautiful evening, and a great second day in Montana.

Monday we took a drive to Ennis, a charming western town featuring antique shops, galleries, and The Ennis Cafe, which serves up some irresistible home made pie.
Light and tangy, their lemon meringue was to die for,
as was their blueberry, which we ordered with both a big scoop of Huckleberry ice cream (Wilcoxson's ice cream made in Montana), and whipped cream.  If you're going to be bad, do it in a big way!  You can barely see the pie!
Wandering around the charming town, I was attracted to these colorful fishing lures in the Antique Shop,
this unique glass and metal lamp at the cooking shop next to the Ennis Cafe,
and this poster announcing just the type of event I would hope to find in Montana.
We hopped back in the car and continued on to our next stop just outside of Alder, to do some screening for Montana Garnets.
The owner, Steve, will sell you a bucket of dirt, which you then screen for Garnets.  Here Steve demonstrates how it works.  First you put a couple of scoops of dirt in your screened frame.
 Next, you wash the dirt and gravel in the big metal wash tub to sift out the dirt,
and then turn the gravel over on to a sponge.
Finally, you use a big tweezers to sort through the tiny stones to find the Garnets.  Here are the three of us ready to find our fortune.
After you remove the Garnets with the tweezers and put them in a plastic bag, Steve looks at them for you to point out the best stones in your bag of treasures.
Here are the best stones in my Garnet take that day.
Sifting for Garnets was really fun, and we got some beautiful little stones to bring home as well.  Steve also sells tumbled and polished Garnets and Garnet jewelry, and he is a great storyteller, too.  I asked him if he wanted the web address for my blog, since I was writing about him.  He told me that he doesn't go on the computer, because he doesn't have electricity or running water, and he likes it that way.  This I would also expect in Montana. 

We made one more stop that day, which was in the historic neighboring town of Virginia City.  The town consists of a small Main Street filled with historic buildings and shops offering truly unique and interesting items.
The historic buildings in town had museum type displays.
One shop offered newly made vintage style dresses of the old west,
and there were several very nice antique shops in town, offering a mix of antique and vintage pieces,
and of course, fishing equipment, which you seem to find on almost every corner here.
What looked like the most fun of all in Virginia City was the almost nightly Ghost Walk, which takes place in the summer, sponsored by the Bale of Hay Saloon.
This looked like so much fun and I would love to have done it if we had the time that day!  But it was a very full and rewarding day, nonetheless, and a great way to spend our third and last full day in Montana.

We hit the hay for a good night's sleep in preparation for our next stop, namely the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Sweet dreams everyone,
xoxo Linda


  1. love sharing your trip Linda via the blog. I would have picked "either" too. Be safe and enjoy every moment.

  2. Ha! Here you pan for gold, in Montana you pan for garnets! Very cool!