WELCOME TO MONTANA!
I was walking back to my car after snapping the above photo of Montana’s welcome sign when a passing pickup truck slowed to a stop and a couple inside kindly asked me if everything was ok. That sums up small town Montana for you.
I had the wonderful opportunity to house sit in Livingston, Montana in the summer of 2015. Montana is one of the most – if not THE most – beautiful places I have ever had the opportunity to call home, and the small town of Livingston and its eclectic scene and townspeople is what made it a truly unique and special experience.
Historic downtown Livingston:
Welcome to Livingston’s backyard, The Yellowstone River:
I lived in a studio apartment at the Grabow, which was once a hotel constructed between 1908 and 1911:
Due to living in an apartment building, (my first ever!), making new friends was a breeze – which was such a blessing – and things like borrowing milk and sugar, hanging out in each other’s apartments for movies and meals, and barbecuing in the side yard was the norm.
THINGS TO DO
For such a small town there’s so much to do and from my apartment I could walk to everything which was a dream come true. My days were mostly spent grabbing coffee and a bite to eat, taking walks or jogs around town, checking out a library book and settling in at the park to read, and relaxing in my cute and comfy apartment. But every once in awhile something exciting and not to be missed would come up such as…
The Annual Boat Float down the Yellowstone River:
A Traditional Montana Horse Drive: (Read About My Experience Here!)
Friday evening Art Walks. (There’s a ton of art galleries in Livingston!)
Photo curtesy of MontanaPressroom.com
The annual Fourth of July Parade:
A visit to the historic Livingston Depot:
Wednesday evening Farmer’s Market:
Photo curtesy of sweetwaterguesthouse.com
HIKING, HIKING, HIKING!
I went on so many hikes while living in Livingston, each trail being only a short drive away. My favorites are Livingston Peak and Elephanthead Mountain, both full day hikes. Livingston is surrounded by breathtaking mountains so there’s definitely no lack of nearby outdoor adventures. Don’t forget your bear spray!
Montana isn’t known as “Big Sky Country” for nothing. The sky literally seems to go on forever due to being sparsely populated and the lack of tall buildings. And there’s also no lack of livestock in any direction. Feel like petting a horse? Just pull off to the side of the road and there’s bound to be one who would welcome a good ear-scratching! Anywhere you travel to in the state of Montana is simply awe-inspiring and picture worthy:
Livingston has so much going on. I recall when I first arrived and saw what a small town it was that I couldn’t help but wonder in fear, “what am I going to do here?” I almost turned the car around and sped out of there. That would have been one of the biggest mistakes of my life. Turns out there is so much to do/see/eat/shop/explore that when it became time to leave I was disappointed by all that I had yet to experience. (Gives me a great reason to come back again, and again, and again!) Below are a few of my favorite haunts around town but believe me, this is only scratching the surface:
Favorite Cafe: Gil’s Goods
Favorite Coffee Shop: Coffee Crossing
Favorite Bakery: Bodega
Favorite Thrift Store: Community Closet
Favorite Smoothies & Juices: Wheatgrass Saloon
Favorite Gym: Firehall Fitness Center
Favorite Downhome Diner: Pinky’s Cafe
Favorite Lunch Spot: Mustang
Favorite Restaurant: Rib & Chop House
Favorite Bar: The Murray
Favorite Art Coop: B.Hive
Favorite Gift Shopping: The Obsidian Collection
Favorite Grocery Store: Town & Country Foods
Favorite Antiques and Cowboy Memorabilia: Cowboy Connection
I’m surprised I’ve been able to finish this post without jumping in my car and high-tailing it back to Montana. Seriously, all the reminiscing has got me missing it and appreciating it more than ever before. It reminds me why I continue to travel, and especially house sit, as it gives me the opportunity to really immerse myself into a new community and way of living and create lasting memories. The people I’ve met, the life-long friends I’ve made, the experiences I’ve had, and all the breathtaking views I took in, will continue to live on in my heart.
Now, have I convinced you to get out to Montana, yet? Don’t forget to stop in at the little town of Livingston if you do. And slow down when you get close, or you might just drive right through it! It really is that small. But here’s a word of caution, the charming people and places, the down-home mentality, and all those cute horses in need of a good ear scratching may just pull you in and never let you go.