Showing posts with label Montana. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Montana. Show all posts

the catepillar named Ernie

Happy belated 4th of July!

I'm exhausted.

We just got back from a quick trip up to Montana. All told we drove about 24 hours to get there and back. Hence the italicized comment up above. We got to visit lots of family and spend some time camping over the weekend. We took a lot of photos, so I wanted to share and save these special moments. It's not every day that 29 family members camp together in Paradise Valley, Montana.

Elinor loves her Uncle Jace!

Carter and Chloe had a really great time together. They explored all over camp and Chloe told me yesterday that she wanted to marry Carter. So cute! Except that they are 2nd cousins or something like that. On the last morning they found a catepillar and they named it Ernie. Carter is supposed to send Chloe pictures of it when it turns into a butterfly.

The whole crew!

Dot brought along a new pet. A parrot-lette named Belle. She was so small and sweet! We all got a chance to pet her.

We had a pretty full camp of all different age groups. The twins (1 yo), Anastasia and Everly were there. Chloe loved playing babysitter with them. Carter (4 yo) and Garrett (1 yo) were there too!

These little dirt-balls had a great time.

These dirt-balls had a pretty good time too. ;)

a short list of the best of Billings, Montana

Now that we've officially moved out of Big Sky Country (aka, Montana), I've been reminiscing about our favorite spots/hangouts/eateries. I wanted to compile a little list today on the blog for you, in case you ever find yourself in the Magic City.

Billings, Montana is actually a great place to start your travels in Montana. It's the largest city in Montana and is a short drive away from some major attractions (some examples here, here, and here). Yellowstone National Park is only a 3-hour drive away through some really amazingly, beautiful country. Billings was also voted by Outdoor Magazine as one of the best places to live in the U.S. for 2016.

So we only got to live there for two short years, we did do a lot of living while we were there. I've also asked a few of my friends who live there currently and have just moved away to rank their favorite spots also.

best place to eat >  The Fieldhouse (great food and great ambiance)

best coffee shop > The Annex (try the rosemary, lavender cappuccino), followed closely by Rock Creek

best burger > Burger Dive (they are award winning too!)

best lunch > Harper and Madison (I always called it Ashley Madison, haha, oops)

best cocktails > Walkers (great live jazz on Sunday nights)

best brewery > Angry Hanks (try the Anger Management)

best breakfast > Stella's (the cinnamon rolls are amazing)

best Italian > Cio Mambos

best steak > Rib and Chop House

best antiques > Oxford Antiques (super friendly owners)

best ice cream > Softies (open seasonally since 1972)

best park > Pioneer Park (with the best playground, of course)

best gym > downtown YMCA (my hubby and I love the lunchtime bootcamp class)

Okay, so in no way is this a complete list of absolutely everything that is awesome about Billings. However, if you are looking for a great place to eat and grab a coffee, this list has some really great options.

I will probably be following up with a list of things to do and see while in Billings, that one will be coming sometime later.

our family photos

The last weekend we were in Billings, we decided to quickly get some family photos in our favorite park. I wanted to capture some moments with our family right as we were leaving Montana.

I might be biased, but I think they turned out beautifully.

Thank you, Tina Stinson! You did a great job, as always!

in between the rain clouds

Gosh, isn't that girl up there the cutest?!

And in other news, we're moving this week! More on that later.

But before we left we spent a little more time in Roscoe with the family. Chloe got to ride a 4-wheeler and drive a 4-wheeler! She was over the moon happy and her dad was having giggling fits while he held onto the back of the 4-wheeler. It was pretty cute to watch.

Elinor and I did a little riding too, but she was past the point of happiness since she was trying to skip her afternoon nap. We quickly retreated indoors to snuggle with granny and let the professionals drive around the fields and hills.

Overall it was a nice weekend before the hustle of packing and driving begins.

an afternoon at Tippet Rise

Just as we're about to pack up our stuff and leave the state of Montana, we get a chance to go to a world class art exhibition, basically right in our backyard. Or two hours away, if you really want to get picky about it. 

On Sunday we met up with Chris's family and took a two-hour, guided tour of the property and exhibits. Tippet Rise is an art center / working ranch / musical venue / non-profit philanthropic gift to the world. Life-long philanthropists and artists Cathy and Peter Halstead created this ranch by buying a few smaller ranches near Fishtail, Montana and creating one massive, 11,000-acre ranch full of rolling hills and views of the Beartooth Mountains.

I had read about Tippet Rise in the local newspaper early in the summer and had been dying to find a weekend where we could spend the day out there. It just so happened that we finally got to visit the very last weekend it was open to the public for the summer. And let me tell you, the weather was frigidly cold and blustery, so it was just about perfect timing.

What impressed me the most was that this billionaire couple had really honored the landscape and the feel of the ranch. They've hired locals to run the ranch and tours which provide a good job for a small rural town. If I had billions of dollars, I hope I would do something this amazing. The entrance fee is $0 and when they have live concerts, they only charge $10 per ticket. It's basically a free art museum set in an amazingly beautiful corner of Montana.

We took a few pictures along the way. There are even more amazing photos on their website, Tippet Rise.

beethoven's quartet

This piece is called Beethoven's Quartet by Mark di Suvero.  It used to reside in New York City before they transported it here. The piece in the middle was meant to sway and move in the wind, so it fit the windy hilltop here much better than in the middle of New York. Below it was two mallets that you could use to ring the mobile steel structure and create a resonating tone.

inverted portal

Ensamble Studio created three pieces for Tippet Rise, they have an amazing video where they showed how they created these concrete behemoths and placed them.

beartooth portal




This house reminded me so much of the Netflix show, Stranger Things. It was creepy and wonderful all at the same time. They built a brand new schoolhouse and then aged it so that it looked turn of the century. The artist is Patrick Dougherty and his work is quite amazing. He takes willows and tree saplings and molds them into fantastic shapes. His website has even more awesome creations.

I would highly recommend making your way to Fishtail, MT and checking out Tippet Rise.

Insider tip: I would recommend going in June or July. Late September is very cold up there!