The family packed up and drove two hours to Missoula for the day. Each town here has their initial on a mountain. Here is the "M" for Missoula!
We planned to see the Fairy Tale and SuperHero festival, the Celtic Festival, Joseph's Coat (yarn shop), Loopy Ewe (yarn shop), Butterfly Herbs, and to eat at the Blue Bison Grill. As usual, things didn't go quite as planned, but we remained flexible and rolled with it.
This was right next to The Carousel, so we headed there to check it out. There was a beautiful stained glass ticket booth, dragons everywhere, and plenty of details to keep our interest while we waited our turn.
I've never ridden a carousel where you are required to wear a safety belt. They had rings to collect with the brass ring winning a free ride.
Megan tried several times, but wasn't able to get the brass one.
After getting our fill of organ music and gaily painted ponies, we headed to the Celtic Festival. It was only a short pleasant walk down the trail. They had some booths selling various things. Megan bought organic, dye-free cotton candy, so Alex had his first cotton candy taste. I was very tempted by the souvenir beer glasses, but held out for possible yarn later. The shows going on were things we hadn't seen much of, if ever, before, so that made it fun. The heat was pretty bad, though, and I felt myself starting to wilt. We headed back to the car to cram in a little shopping before all of my energy was gone.
We browsed a sparkly, quirky bead shop and found a book for each of the kids at a local bookstore. I actually saw two independent booksellers when we were driving around. That is impressive to me.
We went on to find Butterfly Herbs. They sell coffees, teas, candies, and other lovely niceties. Megan was particularly admiring of their paper crane dishware and the real sand hourglasses. I picked up a few gifts for friends back in Maryland so that if we do come home for the holidays, I won't be empty-handed.
We decided to find food next. We had found the Blue Bison Grill through Urban Spoon saying that it had gluten free fare and the price was reasonable. It was kind of a dump. The dude who would be taking our order, making our food, and serving us was honest, though, so we were spared a disappointment. The gluten free bread they had was tiny, kept in the refrigerator, and looked quite unappetizing. (Think frozen rice bread.) The menu claimed they baked it fresh daily. I doubted it. We bailed.
There was a place right down the way with gluten free pizza. I had heard a less than stellar review of the Helena branch from a friend, but we gave it a try. Honestly, it was pretty good. The crust was typical restaurant gluten free pizza, but the toppings were tasty and it held together nicely. We sat and watched the Olympics on a big screen tv, enjoyed the air conditioning, and felt sleepy.
Now, I was allowed to go the Loopy Ewe. It was on the same block, but I had been overruled earlier due to hunger pangs of my companions. When we went after eating, they were closed. I was sad, but I know we'll be back.
The drive home was just as beautiful as the drive out, but this time I got to take some pictures. I did not get one of the little waterfall, but that will just have to wait for the future. There were these haystacks. I have never seen hay stacked this way other than in children's picture books.
This is the device they use to get it that way, and I don't have a clue as to how it works.
Here are some pictures from MacDonald Pass, which is the main reason we don't live in Missoula. The commute time wasn't the issue, but the weather through the mountains was.
Look at the view!