Road Trip Report

I just returned from my Montana road trip. This trip was planned pre-pandemic, so we had to make up for lost time.

We left Missoula, Montana on May 19th. Here are just a few highlights:

We drove to Great Falls on Highway 200 through Lincoln, MT. We stopped at the Blackfoot Pathways: Sculpture in the Wild. It was absolutely incredible and a must see. Check out the link to learn more and see the amazing sculptures.

In Great Falls, we stayed at the Hotel Arvon. The hotel was opened in 2015 in a former livery stable and boarding house that was originally built in 1890. I posted about Great Falls last Friday.

The weather soon shifted and when we left Great Falls it was starting to snow (in May!). We stopped at Fort Benton to see my sister-in-law and then headed east to Lewistown. We stayed at the Calvert Hotel. The building that is now the Calvert Hotel was constructed in 1917 as a dormitory for high school students who lived in rural areas of Fergus County. At the time, the homestead acts created a population boom and people flocked to the area. By 1922, the boom had turned into a bust due to drought and changes in the railroad routes.

We woke up to big time snow in Lewistown and headed out in my chum’s trusty Subaru toward Bozeman, MT. We took a quick detour into Harlowton, MT for a great BLT with hand cut fries!

It was snowing in earnest when we arrived in Bozeman. Both of us went to college there and are struck by the gentrification of our former college town. Gallatin County’s current population is around 115,000. In 1970 the population was just over 32,000. The starting price for a home there is now $250,000 – $400,000, well out of the range of most native Montanans! We stayed at the Western Heritage Inn with the claim to fame of being the site of a major meth lab explosion in 2017! Ironically, a fire alarm went off while we were there, but the cause was burning french fries, instead of meth!

And then we were off to Butte, MT. It was probably our favorite stop on our trip. We stayed at the Miner’s Hotel in Uptown Butte. The hotel is on the National Historic Registry. The current building was built in 1913 as the Miner’s Savings and Trust Co.  The bank occupied the ground floor office until the 1960’s. I posted about Butte on Monday.

Our last night on the road was at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort near Anaconda, MT. The hot springs have a long history, dating back to Native American tribes who called the 12 hot pools “medicine waters”. I think it is fair to say that the resort could use some sprucing up, most likely due to the impact of the pandemic on tourism.

After we left Fairmont, we took the scenic route back to Missoula through Phillipsburg, MT. Phillipsburg began as a trading and mining camp. The first silver mill in Montana was constructed in Phillipsburg. It has a charming main street and an amazing candy store, called the Sweet Palace!

See photos from my journey on my travelswithallene Instagram.

Before we knew it, we had gone full circle and arrived back in Missoula. As a Montana native, I thought I knew the state. But I learned a lot on this amazing road trip. We are already making plans for Round 2!

See you on Friday,

Allene

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