Enjoying Big Sky Country

After a fun-filled week in South Dakota and an overnight in North Dakota, we headed into Montana to explore Glacier National Park after a few stops along the way.

Montana is the 4th largest state in the U.S. in terms of land area, with roughly more than 3 times that of our home state of Kentucky. Yet with all of that space, Montana is one of the least densely populated states. In fact, the metro area of our hometown of Louisville has more people than the entire state. That means plenty of elbow room for the folks in Big Sky Country!!

Despite all that elbow room, however, we still managed to make a Kentucky connection. As soon as we drove across the state line, Edie jumped out for a state sign picture. The only other person standing on the side of the road for a photo? The son of a St. X grad!

Surfing in Billings

Our first stop was to Couchsurf in Billings, Montana’s largest city.

Our hosts were awesome, welcoming us into their home despite Knox’s strong desire to chase their cats. They let us take over their kitchen so Scott could cook and Edie could bake (everyone was in need of some Peanut Butter Bacon Bars!).

We spent hours (literally!) playing Rock Band with our hosts, their son, and their daughter-in-law, and Knox spent hours playing with their granddoggies. They told us about huckleberries, and we shared lots of laughs & stories. It was another successful Couchsurfing experience!

Candy Town USA

After discovering our love of sweet bacon treats, our hosts’ daughter-in-law told us about Candy Town USA, the largest candy store and soda fountain in Montana. She said the store had a whole assortment of meat-themed candy, so we decided a trip on our way out of Billings was a must.

Candy Town USA is a fun stop whether you’re needing a sugar fix or not. In addition to the 1940s era soda fountain where you can get a hand mixed soda pop or hand dipped shake, there are rows & rows of old-fashioned, bulk, and novelty candy plus old-fashioned signs and candy-themed clothing.

The meat-themed section was a definite plus. We found dental floss in flavors like bacon, waffle, and coffee. We found bacon-flavored jelly beans. Edie even purchased some bacon-flavored lip gloss. Although she’s only tried it once so far (we were venturing into bear territory for a few months!), it is definitely an experience. Smoky, meat-flavored lips are a bit different!

Helena & Great Falls

Continuing our quest to see & photograph state capitols, we took a short detour through Helena on our way from Billings to Great Falls. Unlike North Dakota, Montana’s Capitol followed the traditional pattern of domed architecture. With the sunny day and great landscaping, we were pretty happy with the picture of this one!

After Helena, we continued on to Great Falls for 2 nights before heading on to the Glacier National Park area. We’d been doing lots of driving and seeing lots of sights, so we decided to be bums in Great Falls. We spent our time in the hotel room, catching up on blog posts and utilizing our slow cooker. Boring but quite productive! And on our way out of town we at least got to see the amazing Great Falls BuffaFish!

Flathead National Forest

To the south of the incredibly gorgeous Glacier National Park is the also beautiful Flathead National Forest and Flathead Lake. Scott’s Mom had told us to check it out, so we spent our first morning in the area taking a long drive around the lake.

We found a dirt road that led us off the main road and down to a tiny little boat launch right on the lake. It was still pretty early on the very overcast morning, so the lake wasn’t yet crowded with fishing boats. We took some time to enjoy the view of the surrounding mountains, but given the chilly temperature of the water, Scott decided wading in was not a good option.

Pictures!

What post about one of our travel destinations would be complete without a gallery of pictures? Well never fear, we’re not one to leave a post unfinished. Hopefully you’ll enjoy our shots from our time in Montana outside of Glacier National Park!