sOne of the first things my old high school buddy and his wife did for my wife and me was to take us on a tour of the area. The highlight of this driving tour was spotting all the wildlife that make this part of Montana home. The kick of the drive was spotting two wild turkeys only a few feet from the road. Made my mouth water for turkey pot pie and Wild Turkey Bourbon.
More than turkeys are seen on a drive around the Bitterroot Valley. Deer, sheep, cattle, and even Buffalo are spotted, along with many birds. Worth a drive to see the Bitterroot river, the forest and St. Mary's Peak that make this part of Montana shine.
SAINT MARY'S MISSION, WHERE MONTANA BEGAN
Located just minutes from Hamilton lies the town of Stevensville and the home of the birthplace of Montana, Saint Mary's Mission. Founded in 1841 by a Jesuit Priest, Fr. Pierre DeSmet, S.J., from Belgium, at the request of the native american people in the area, the Salish. The fourth chapel to be built after years of turmoil and native troubles, was raised in 1866, Saint Mary's Chapel. The Mission owes much of it's success and the State of Montana it's beginnings to an Italian Jesuit Priest brought to the site by Fr. Pierre DeSmet, S.J. to make Saint Mary's Mission flourish in those pioneer days, Fr. Anthony Ravalli, S.J..
Father Ravalli was not only a priest but a medical doctor, surgeon, pharmacist, teacher,carpenter, artist, sculptor, and an architect. Truely, a man for all reasons and seasons. He built the first grist mill and saw mill in the Bitterroot Valley. His art and sculptor adorn the chapel to this day and his cabin and office still stand. Father Ravalli died in 1884 and is buried in the mission grounds with his native american converts, but he is remembered by all to follow, as the county was named Ravalli County in his honor. Located in Stevensville, on the west end of 4th St. Guided tours are conducted from 10am till 4pm, April 15-October 15.
Hamilton - 2 days, never enough!
"Minimalism at Maggie's"
Now here's an odd-bod of a town, it merely scrapes the "town" definition, but yet has aspirations to be a city - doesn't anyone know that to be a city you have to have a Starbucks? No Starbucks and you're nothin' pal!
Yet, city or not, Hamilton has its attractions and Maggie's is one, another is the Rainbow Bar - chalk and cheese! There will be tips to follow when I finally catch up, patience is everything.
OK back to Hamilton - Small town, big aspirations, situated about 50 miles south of Missoula on the US 93 in the Bitterroot Valley, a small neat town with everthing that I could have expected from small town Americana - and more. Hints of class, what with me being UPSCALE! and all that, this is the sort of place I really wanted to find here in the US and here I can see how the "American Dream" continues. Without the city "dog-eat-dog" mentality I can see why Hamilton is up and coming, the civilised touches are there and it is just a matter of letting things happen at their own pace.
As to the photo - I just had to use this one, the waitress's unposed posture in what looks like an empty restaurant, the ketchup bottle avoiding the salt and pepper as if it is too classy to be on the same table - take away the modern coffee machine, the cd player and replace the electric clock, tint the picture sepia and think where you would be???????