The Thomas Meagher Bar - MissoulaThis area is fantastic, streets are lined with a facade of original buildings and the streets are part pedestrianised, hosting a local farmers market at times. The type of restaurants range from trendy American burger bars, Vietnamese, or even Sushi. There is something for everyone, and if not, a short trip away to some of the malls renders even more options! After a delightful lunch, we made our way a few blocks away to the local minor league baseball field to watch the Missoula Osprey’s (although now I have learnt that they have rebranded to the “paddle heads”) v. the Orem Owlz. I had never been to a baseball game before, but this was a great experience! The food, the fanfare, the crowd - the weather was fantastic for this, as were the team - knocking the competition out of the park!
Osprey Field - Missoula
Our view of the game
A quick snackBack to Hamilton for our final day, we chose to relax closer to home. We took a walk just outside of town along the Bitterroot River, and headed back to Main Street for some lunch. As mentioned before, for a small, sleepy town there are a lot of trendy options. We visited Napp’s Bar and Grill, I believe this is a converted old firehouse? I could be wrong…but the decor was great! Exposed brickwork, license plates and other cool decor. They specialise in homemade burgers and fries - super tasty. After which we grabbed a seat in the bar area and enjoyed some of the selection of IPA beer. This, like many places, had a vast selection. It seems as though IPA is very popular across many places in the US right now - my husband was not complaining!
Napp’s Bar, Main Street - HamiltonDuring the afternoon, we took a drive down to Lee Metcalf National Wildlife refuge. It is a fantastic reserve, where you can see a variety of wild game in their natural habitat. The walks you can take will take an hour, with huts located along the path and the ponds to sneak a look at otters and ducks - there are even bald eagles in the area, although we were not lucky enough to see one. Another beautiful stop to be at one with nature. There is a museum located at the start of the trail, which offers a lot of information on the area, as long as park rangers who will be more than happy to talk you through anything. Nearby is the town of Stevensville. Another small, yet beautiful town to stroll down, relax and grab a quick drink.
Some of the wildlife and scenery at Lee Metcalf RefugeJust up the 91, you can reach another nearby town worth mentioning - Darby. Similar to Hamilton, although smaller, this town has a great history which you can learn about from just walking down main street. There are a lot of small independent shops which are great to peruse, typically either bookstores or thrift shops as well as some good ole fashioned candy stores and antique shops. All of this, of course, set with the backdrop of the mountains. Beautiful.
An antique store and the old Marshall’s Office at Darby - MontanaOverall, for a change in pace and a breath of fresh air I would definitely recommend a trip to Montana, and in particular Hamilton. There is really so much to see. You can get lost in the wilderness, taken in by the charm and kindness of the locals, and just really take some time out to slow down the pace of things and enjoy the simple life! We had such an amazing time, I cannot wait to go back. We were lucky enough to stay with family, so I haven’t touched on where you can stay here! There are several options within Montana - a selection of Inns and Motels, all of which are reasonable price wise ($50/60 a night). One necessity if you are staying is a car. Everything is a fair distance from each other, so would expect to drive to explore. There are a few options here, I would recommend renting in Missoula (you won’t find anything in Hamilton or the neighbouring areas!) Most of your travel to get here will take you through Missoula, whether by train, plane or bus. Again, prices are reasonable in this area. So what are you waiting for? Go out and get your piece of the Big Sky Country! You won’t be disappointed…
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