Great Coffee Shop in Harlowton

I do admire a good cup o’ joe and when I find a place that does their own roasting, grinds their beans fresh and, as a result turns out awesome coffee – well, I love it! And, I happen to believe that people on vacation in Montana have to like that too! Snowy Mountain Coffee and Slow Rise Bakery in Harlowton (right on the corner of Central Ave across from the E-57B train engine) fits … Read more

Harlowton’s Railroad History

Central Montana is a mecca for folks interested in railroad history. Harlowton was the end of the electric train line and one of the electric engines stands proud watch over the town’s Central Avenue. You can see the “pan” or square-looking antenna-like gadget on top of the E-57B electric engine and that is what connected to make electricity above the train. Every time I’m in Harlowton with friends we use the E-57B as a backdrop for a photo. Today, … Read more

Unique Shopping at Big Sky Grocery

I was traveling back to Great Falls yesterday from Harlowton and decided to make a quick (or so I thought) stop at Big Sky Grocery. The grocery store sits in a field about a half mile or so west of Eddie’s Corner (junction of US 191 and 200/MT 3). There are a couple of wooden gazebo structures outside in the gravel parking lot and a large sign giving hours of operation for the grocery store. I … Read more

Restored Historic Lodging in Fort Benton

We were touring around Fort Benton recently and spent the night at the Grand Union Hotel. The hotel sits at one end of the historic river levee so it’s a great anchor to the downtown area. A beautiful building, 26 elegantly restored rooms and an awesome restaurant make up the Grand Union. The Grand Union was built in 1882. Steamboats were still coming up the Missouri River and Fort Benton was their final destination before turning … Read more

Old Fort Benton Charms Us All

I’ve been to the restored fort in Fort Benton before but my travel buddies had not been there. I was eager to show off this treasure. From the outside it does look fortified! A perimeter fence surrounds the buildings and grounds so you don’t see too much until you get inside. Then, as one person said, it really looks like a fort. The trade store was the first section to be reconstructed and it is filled … Read more

Puckering Up at the Chokecherry Fest

Lewistown hosts the annual Montana Chokecherry Festival the first Saturday after Labor Day each year. The festival celebrates the chokecherry – a tart wild berry that grows profusely in Central Montana. It may be a tart berry but oh, it makes some mighty delicious treats. Lots of people bake with it and my Mom used to can the juice and then it could be made in to jelly or syrup. A culinary competition is held the … Read more

Fall Float on the Upper Missouri River

What a great time of year to float the Missouri River! I usually start thinking about paddling the Mighty Mo in June and it took me over three months to get on the river this year. I have to say, my September canoe trip was the best ever. We launched at Coal Banks Landing one mile from the small town of Virgelle, Montana. There were three or four other vehicles in the parking lot but it still … Read more

Gargoyles in Great Falls

Yes, it is hard to believe that there are gargoyles in Great Falls, Montana. And, they are working gargoyles! A quest for some exercise this evening took me past the Ursuline Centre on Central Avenue and 23rd Street. The stunning architecture of Great Falls’ Ursuline Centre features gargoyles near the top of the center tower. There are eight mythical gargoyles on the building’s rain gutter system. Some pretty unique decorations for rain gutters! This amazing building … Read more

Early Morning Stroll Around Virgelle, MT

Whenever I mention the very little town of Virgelle I can always tell if someone has been there. Usually I get a puzzled look that says they’ve never heard of the place! Well, my favorite expression is that there are three exits to the little spot known as Virgelle. Seriously, if you are driving on US Hwy 87 between Fort Benton and Havre you’ll have three options to turn and travel about eight miles to get … Read more

Montana’s River Ferries

Montana has three river ferries, all located on the Upper Missouri River in the central part of the state. Locations include (going downstream) the little towns of Carter and Virgelle and the McClelland ferry north of Winifred (or south of Chinook). I was at the Virgelle Ferry a week ago and out came my camera as my friends drove their van on for their first ride across the Mighty Mo. At first glance you would never believe … Read more