Billings Farm to Fork: Café DeCamp

Billings Farm to Fork: Café DeCamp

November 16, 2011  |  Eat, Farm to Fork  |  No Comments

I’m always surprised when friends wrinkle their noses when I say I have to shoot in Billings. What is it about The Magic City that elicits this response? I can cut people some slack if they’ve never been downtown and have only seen, say, King Avenue or 24th. Both of these streets have heavy traffic & box stores and are NOT pedestrian-friendly. But downtown Billings? Montana Avenue? It’s full of great galleries, antique shops and phenomenal dining. (See previous posts on Harper & Madison and Montana Vintage The Downtown Billings Alliance even has a Loan-A-Bike program where you can park and borrow a bike.

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Luxe Lodging in Glendive

November 16, 2011  |  history, Stay  |  No Comments

I’m a sucker for inns, and the 8,000 square foot Charley Montana Bed & Breakfast—built in 1907 by millionaire stockman Charles Krug in Glendive—is one of is one of my favorites. Not only is the three-story, 25-room mansion spacious and elegant, it’s light on the lace and frills. My 6’3’’ tall husband, whom I call Tom Sawyer, always knocks over tchotchkes and looks out-of-place sitting amid the swags and wallpaper found in many b&b’s, but he fits right in here.
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Montana’s Bale Trail

Montana’s Bale Trail

August 30, 2011  |  Do, Drive, Eat, Story, Towns  |  No Comments

Two of Montana’s most scenic blue highways—239 between Hobson & Utica and 541 between Utica and Windham—are also two of its least traveled. That changes the second Sunday of September, when forty to fifty larger-than-life hay sculptures line the asphalt between Hobson and Windham, making the road less of a thoroughfare and more of an “Ag Art” installation.

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Montana Vintage

Montana Vintage

August 30, 2011  |  Shop, Towns  |  2 Comments

One of the best vintage shops I’ve run across is Montana Vintage in downtown Billings. Not only are the prices great and the selection vast (they have children’s and maternity!), but the merchandise is also impeccably clean and well cared for.

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Little Belt Roadtrip

Little Belt Roadtrip

August 30, 2011  |  Do, Drive, Eat  |  8 Comments

My husband Dan and I got a wild hair while visiting my parents in Denton last August to return to Livingston over the Belt Mountains. This would involve traveling roughly three hours on gravel roads past the headwaters of the Judith River, up a narrow, winding pass and down onto Highway 12 just east of Checkerboard. We’d then head home on asphalt through White Sulpher Springs.  I had last done this trip in about 1985 with my parents and the Snooks Family. I remember when we went I had an asymmetrical haircut AND had just bought Prince’s latest album Around the World in a Day on cassette. Much to our parents’ dismay, we kids cranked His Royal Badness the whole way—and it’s a long way. To this day, whenever I hear the song Raspberry Beret, I think of this trip.

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#1 on your MT Bucket List: The Virgelle Mercantile

#1 on your MT Bucket List: The Virgelle Mercantile

July 19, 2011  |  Drive, Eat, history, Shop, Stay, Towns  |  No Comments

A place that should top every Montanan’s bucket list is the Virgelle Mercantile, a remote and exceptional antique store and bed & breakfast near Coal Banks Landing on the Missouri river. You can get there by floating 42 river miles downstream from Fort Benton or by driving 19 miles down a gravel road from Loma and crossing the river on the Virgelle Ferry—one of only three Missouri River ferries left in Montana. My favorite route is an eight-mile drive down a gravel road hemmed by wheat fields and blue sky that shoots off of Highway 87 North between Loma and Big Sandy. One thing’s for sure: No matter how you arrive, it’s going to be wild & scenic.

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Circle:  A Great Place To Be Around

Circle: A Great Place To Be Around

July 19, 2011  |  Do, Drive, Eat, history, Shop, Stay, Story, Towns  |  7 Comments

I was shooting a travel story in eastern Montana a few years ago for the New York Times, and I had always been bothered by that fact that I’d never been to Circle. It’s only 46 miles from Glendive on Highway 200 and 59 from Terry on Hwy 253, so when I finished my assignment, I hightailed it to this speck of a town.

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Bison Feast at Chief Plenty Coups Day of Honor

Bison Feast at Chief Plenty Coups Day of Honor

July 19, 2011  |  Drive, Handmade, history, Story, Towns  |  No Comments

One of the neatest late-summer events I have ever attended is Chief Plenty Coups Day of Honor; a daylong celebration of cultural sharing designated to honor the great Apsaalooke (Crow) Chief. Now in its 17th year, the event takes place on Saturday of Labor Day Weekend at the 195-acre Chief Plenty Coups State Park (Embed link: http://fwp.mt.gov/parks/visit/chiefPlentyCoups/ one mile east of Pryor on Montana’s Crow Reservation (about 40 minutes from Billings).

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The “Countriest” Country Club in The West

The “Countriest” Country Club in The West

July 19, 2011  |  Do, Eat, Saloons, Towns  |  4 Comments

Country Clubs don’t get more “Country” than the Square Butte Bar & Country Club in Square Butte, MT. Anchored at the northeastern end of the Highwood Mountains at the base of the butte for which it’s named, the unincorporated town has a historic stone jail, two dormant grain elevators, a former schoolhouse, a 13-year-old mayor, “And about twenty residents, give or take a few,” says Amy Wentz, owner of the Square Butte Bar & Country Club. “I’m the only business left in town.”

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Don’t even get me started on Lewistown…

June 27, 2011  |  Eat, Events, Stay, Towns  |  No Comments

…because I grew up near there, and I LOVE it! This video shows just a fraction of what this picturesque small town offers. From Wagon Wheels at The Dash Inn to the incredible pool at the shady City Park…to downtown, gelato and crepes at Lola’s. I also take you to the Symmes-Wicks House Bed & Breakfast, to The Mint for dinner and to events like the Central Montana Fair & Horse Show and Chokecherry Festival. Top it off with bread pudding from Main Street Bistro (view their menu HERE), and you’ve got a taste of Lewistown. But remember…it’s just a taste. I’ll be going back to do in-depth pieces of Main Street and its businesses, as well as taking you on some great hikes in the many mountain ranges that surround town. And remember….it’s LewisTOWN, not Lewiston—that’s in Idaho!

Here’s a link to an exceptional piece on Main Street Lewistown.