Helena is the capitol of the great state of Montana. I had an opportunity to interview an author who was doing a book tour and had a stop in Helena so we decided to make an overnight trip out of it. In my ten years of living here I’d only been to Helena once and that was for the Women’s March where I really didn’t get to see anything but the 10,000 people walking in support of Democracy. It was about time for me to visit Helena.
I decided then that I wanted to go back and see a bit more of the city. We didn’t have a lot of time to tour around as I had a 4PM appointment and it’s a 3 hour drive for us from home. We arrived in Helena just in time for lunch so we parked the car and went to the really lovely pedestrian mall called the Last Chance Gulch.
Last Chance Gulch
The buildings are beautifully maintained and very detailed. There are a number of different shops, businesses and restaurants all along the mall. There are also a number of markers explaining the history of the site and the buildings. I was a little hungry so we found a modern looking shop called Hub Coffee.
There were a variety of offerings from muffins to sandwiches. The staff was friendly if not completely informed; I wanted to try something but no one knew the ingredients and when you have an allergy that can be dangerous. So we both settled for muffins. They were each very good; I had a peaches and cream and the hubby had a breakfast muffin. My coffee was good and he really enjoyed his chai tea.
After exploring a bit more of the mall we decided it was time to head to our Bed and Breakfast to check in. That was also were I would have my interview. That is also where the day got interesting.
Bed and Breakfast
I had found the Carolina Inn Bed and Breakfast online and thought it would be a nice change from a hotel. Check in time is 4PM. I had made arrangements to be there a little early. The door was locked and there was a note to call or text – I did both. We waited. And waited. And waited. Called again. Emailed. Knocked on the door, pressed the buzzer. After an hour and a half we were about to drive away when a text arrived.
The innkeeper had been there the whole time. She hadn’t heard her phone or us for that matter.
It was a little frustrating. She is a very nice woman, just a little discombobbled. The room was lovely as you can see in the photo above. It was a little cold when we got there as she wasn’t totally prepared for our arrival. There were lots of thick, nice towels and extra blankets. The sheets were heavenly.
Breakfast the next day was generous – French toast, scrambled eggs and sausage with fruit salad. Plus juice and coffee. I’m sure it’s a great place to stay when it’s busy but in the off season – I think reminders would be advised.
We decided to try a restaurant called Mediterranean Grill for dinner. The hubby ordered an Olive Tapenade for an appetizer. It came out with some amazing pita bread. He really enjoyed this starter; I really enjoyed the pita.
The house salad was a marvel. Mixed greens and some bits of tomato but the dressing was amazing. It was a balsamic/lemon combo with some quality olive oil and it was so very fresh and delightful. This was the best restaurant salad I think I’ve had in a long, long time.
For entrees I had Veal Saltimboca and the hubby had a Salmon and Pasta special. Sadly, my veal was not very good. It was oddly sweet and overly greasy. The potatoes were not cooked through and cold. His meal was very good. The pasta was perfectly cooked and the sauce was delicious. I think the moral is to go with the specials if you go to the Mediterranean Grill in Helena.
A Perfect Ending
Instead of staying at the restaurant for dessert we decided to go with an old favorite. As we had been exploring the Last Chance Gulch we noticed our favorite ice cream shop – Big Dipper Ice Cream
We go to the Missoula location all the time and were happy to find one in Helena. I had a flavor I had not tried before, Butterfinger Ice Cream. It’s just as you would think – vanilla ice cream with lots of bits of that famous candy throughout. It was DE-licious. And a perfect way to end the evening.
On the Road Again….
Sadly my hopes for further explorations the next day were dashed when the hubby found out he had a meeting. We had to be on the road by 8AM. Ugh. At least we had a beautiful day to be driving back home.
As always when driving in this beautiful state, the scenery was amazing. There had been snow the night before and the mountains looked beautiful with their new white coat.
I am always enthralled by the beauty of Montana and we’ll be on the road again soon to share more of this state with you. Maybe even back to Helena to see more of what she has to offer.