A southern mansion in the wilds of the Bitterroot Valley of Montana, right in the middle of the town of Hamilton. It was in the 1880's that Marcus Daly, founder of the Anaconda Mining Company and established the town of Hamilton, with his lumber industry, built his "modest" summer home for his family on his 22,000 acre Bitterroot Stock Farm and the Daly Mansion was known as "Riverside". The Bitterroot river runs through Hamilton and is a beautiful scenic river with many trees and the mountains in the backdrop.
"Riverside" was remodeled after Marcus Daly's death in 1900, completed by 1910, at the wishes of Margaret Daly, his widow. Called Georgian Revival style it was designed by A.J. Gibson and it contains 25 bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, and 7 fireplaces. Italian marble was used throughout the house and 5 of the fireplaces are faced with Italian marble. I was impressed with the space and design of the rooms and the way the light entered the windows for each room.
The cooler room, next to the kitchen, was huge for it's day (I could walk around inside as if it were a commercial refrigerator) and still seemed quite cool as the air temperature outside was around 83 F. No refrigeration needed with this size and type of cooler. Fine furniture of the day and wonderfull rugs filled each room. The wallpaper of each room was chosen by Margaret Daly and to this day, many rolls still are stored for use, if damage were to occur. The grounds include a swimming pool, tennis court, greenhouse, children's playhouse, laundry building, boathouse, and fifty species of trees, one of which is maple and the syrup that is drawn from the maple trees is sold in the gift store located inside the mansion.
The Mansion was closed after Mrs. Daly's death in 1941 and boarded up until 1987, when it was reopened to the public. Owned today by the State of Montana and managed by the Daly Mansion Preservation Trust. The Daly Mansion "Riverside" is a National Historic Site. Tours are given from May through October.
This is the sort of bar I personally love, an eclectic clientele united with a common purpose - have a few beers and enjoy!
So much did I enjoy my first visit on the Sunday afternoon I just had to return later that evening for more (purely to research the range of local brews of course!) .
Walking through the front door with its heavy padlock fitting and metal-reinforced cladding, the "good-ol-boy" pick-ups parked outside, you enter a piece of small-town America which, as a total stranger to the country, fits exactly what I had expected to find. The custom is slightly off-beat, in various stages of drunkeness (both males and females). The decor is a mix of beer promotion paraphernalia, musical bric-a-brac and hand written admonishments regarding minors and butts on pool tables (butts of both types being strictly prohibited!).
Ordering a beer with my strange accent requires a repetition of the request, but that is the last problem I have. As the first beer goes down, I find myself relaxing, joining the flow and as the second arrives without me having to do more than smile and nod, I'm really starting to enjoy this bar.
Had I been here in Hamilton for a week I can gaurantee that I would have been on first name terms with pretty much all the regulars, yep, definitely my sort of bar!
This is such an incredible view and you do not even have to hike to it. (not that there is anything wrong with hiking) But some people cannot hike up a mountain to find these kind of views, this is a drive all the way to the top. The day we went was the 4th of July, we saw a friend in the grocery store after and told him how great it was, so he and his daughter drove up there then. They saw a mountain lion on the way up, and had a flat tire on the way down! I would have been petrified!
The Bitterroot brewery is the only microbrew in the valley. Missoula has a few and others in Montana, but Hamiltons Bitterroot brewery is one of a kind. Montana has weird laws and the brewery has to close at 8:00 p.m. but it is a fun after work place to hang out and often has live music.