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Thrift Stores

Thrift Trip: Montana thrift stores

It’s no lie that Montana is considered ‘Big Sky’ country.  There’s a lot of big, beautiful blue and sometimes moody sky in those parts. And, as it turns out, there’s also a lot of thrifting in the great Montana thrift stores.  Recently, my friend Liz and I flew into Bozeman, rented a car via Priceline and headed west along Highway 90 to the bustling little town of Three Forks, Montana.  There’s not a whole heck of a lot going on in Three Forks, but there is a beautifully restored place to stay ~ The Sacajawea Hotel.

The Historic Sacajawea Hotel in Three Forks, MT

The Historic Sacajawea Hotel in Three Forks, MT

The porch at Sacajawea is a perfect place to perch

The porch at Sacajawea is a perfect place to perch

 

If you drive into Three Forks, you can’t miss it – it’s the biggest place in the entire town and takes up an entire city block.  The owners, the Folkvord’s, who also happen to own Wheat Montana – a popular bakery for locals and travelers alike – purchased the old hotel that had been vacant for several years and gave it a good spit shine.  Now, it’s a lovely place to stay with an excellent restaurant.  One of the best meals we ate in Montana we had at the Sacajawea’s own restaurant, Pompey’s Grill.  Yummy wild salmon, wagyu beef, and of course the coup de grace – Wilcoxson’s ice cream, a Montana favorite.

Pompey's Grill at Sacajawea Hotel

Pompey’s Grill at Sacajawea Hotel

Everything is slower paced in Montana and there’s a sense that you could get on the road and drive real slow like from one place to another and no one would really mind.  So, that’s pretty much what we did for a few days – driving from Three Forks to Harrison to have lunch at Town Haul Diner, a local favorite that Liz’s brother John (a Helena resident) shared with us.

 

The bluest sky you've ever seen is in....Montana!

The bluest sky you’ve ever seen is in….Montana!

There are great road trips in MT

There are great road trips in MT

Town Haul Locals

Town Haul Locals

Cross made of antlers

Cross made of antlers

Cross made out of antlers near Harrison, MT

Cross made out of antlers near Harrison, MT

Then it was on to Pony, MT to check out this Victorian town that used to have over two thousand residents during the mining boom, but now has been shrunk down to a meager bar, a few homes and some large ranches.  We stumbled upon an old estate which was for sale.  Compared to Bay Area prices, the $595K for two houses on  over 3 acres seemed like quite the deal.

Window in Pont, MT

Window in Pony, MT

 

Old Wall Sign in Pony, MT

Old Wall Sign in Pony, MT

The Road to Pony

The Road through Pony

 

Estate For Sale in Pony

Gorgeous Estate For Sale in Pony

After a brief fantasy about moving into this beautiful estate right next to a fresh stream that was aptly named Brookside, we ambled down the road and starting driving towards Ted Turner Country – the Red Peaks – right past Norris Hot Springs.  But, something made us turn the car around, and luckily so because for the next 4 hours, we paid $1 to borrow a bathing suit and jump in the 100 degree water fed by a fresh spring.  We hung out in the beautiful 80 degree weather, soaking up the fresh air and good nibbles and even soaked next to Andrew Gromiller of the band Andrew Gromiller and the Organically Grown who shared some of his family’s adventures fixing up the abandoned Norris Schoolhouse building just down the road that would soon become Mama’s Organic Pantry & More, as well as a music and theater venue.  Andrew also clued us in on the Big Moon Rising music festival in Big Sky, although we never made it there.

Norris Hot Springs

Norris Hot Springs with Liz & her brother John

Liz enjoying herself at Norris Hot Springs

Liz enjoying herself at Norris Hot Springs

Norris Hot Springs is a great way to while away a few hours

Norris Hot Springs is a great place to while away a few hours

Hollyhocks at Norris Hot Springs

Hollyhocks at Norris Hot Springs

The next day we got up early so that we could hit the road and go thrifting.  We started at the Three Forks Thrift Store right down the road from our hotel.  I just love thrifting in other places because those regional differences that make places unique really begins to show up.  For example, I don’t think I’ve ever seen farming utensils at any of our local thrifts in the Bay Area – except maybe occasionally at a Sonoma or Petaluma thrift store.  Surprisingly, there was a set of 9 astrological cocktail glasses that I was coveting, but common sense said it would be difficult to fit those in my suitcase, so I had to pass them up.  Wah!

Three Forks Thrift Store

Three Forks Thrift Store really surprised me

 

So sad that I had to leave these behind!

So sad that I had to leave these behind!

They even had my sign!

They even had my sign!

They even had CPR dummies

They had CPR dummies

This would've been hard to fit in my luggage

This would’ve been hard to fit in my luggage

They had a little of this

They had a little of this

And a little of that

And a little of that

These boots were made for working

These boots were made for working

Back out on the road again</center

Back out on the road again

It was time to get back out on the open road to check out some more thrift stores. John guided us to Restore, the Habitat for Humanity Store in Belgrade, MT which turned out to be where Liz and I both found some good stuff. This store had a little bit of everything.

 

Restore in Belgrade is definitely worth a stop

Restore in Belgrade is definitely worth a stop

Beautiful Vintage Glasses I found at Restore

Beautiful Vintage Glasses I found at Restore

Sweet Little Birdie

Sweet Little Birdie

Had to have this McCoy vase

Had to have this McCoy vase

Liz almost bought this Yale brass lamp

Liz almost bought this Yale brass lamp

I still think about this gorgeous Art Deco light that I didn't buy

I still think about this gorgeous Art Deco light that I didn’t buy

And I definitely should have brought these Spanish sconces home!

And I definitely should have brought these Spanish sconces home!

These spanish sconces were so cool

These spanish sconces were so cool

Restore has a great selection of vintage light fixtures

Restore has a great selection of vintage light fixtures

Off we went to do a little more thrifting while time allowed. We hit the Sacks Thrift Shoppe in Belgrade where we really could have filled our suitcases with more and more, but common sense prevailed. Although, I did encourage Liz to buy the gorgeous hand-embroidered runner that I’ve seen sold on the streets in Mexico for around $100. She got it for $6. Way to go Liz!

Sacks Thrift Store in Belgrade, MT

Sacks Thrift Shoppe in Belgrade, MT

This Hand Embroidered Table Runner is so gorgeous!

This Hand Embroidered Table Runner is so gorgeous!

These cocktail glasses will really Mad Men up someone's house

These ’50’s cocktail glasses will really Mad Men up someone’s house

Even though John was soon to celebrate his 25th, he promised his wife he wouldn't bring anything home

Even though John was soon to celebrate his 25th, he promised his wife he wouldn’t bring anything home

You can't find something like this at Walmart

You can’t find something like this at Walmart

This was tempting, since this is my Alma Mater

This was tempting, since this is my Alma Mater

Many Montana towns have "Mint" related businesses

Many Montana towns have “Mint” related businesses

Mint Cafe Bar in Belgrade, MT

Mint Cafe Bar in Belgrade, MT

It was time to say good-bye to Belgrade

It was time to say good-bye to Belgrade & John

The next day we were on our own, as our illustrious tour guide, John had to return home. So, left to our own devices Liz and I set out to do some thrifting and to find some Wilcoxson’s Ice Cream. We did both. In the charming town of Livingston, Montana we admired the beautiful, historic buildings and stumbled onto the neat-as-a-pin thrift store that benefits the Senior Center. Lo’ and behold, it just happened to be kitty corner from a deli that sold our new favorite ice cream. Bonanaza!

The next day, on our way to Livingston, we felt compelled to stop in at the popular bakery, Wheat Montana, since they owned the Hotel Sacajawea where we had just spent the last three nights.  However, being Gluten-free, there weren’t alot of options for us, so we opted for snapping some photos and heading out on the road.

Wheat Montana

Wheat Montana

It's what's for dinner

It’s what’s for dinner

This is probably not true for everyone

This is probably not true for everyone, especially if you’re gluten intolerant like me

Charming Livingston, MT

Charming Livingston, MT

I can see why Hollywood came here

I can see why Hollywood came here

C

Great thrift store in Livingston

Great thrift store in Livingston supports Park County Seniors

Vintage Chickens

Vintage Chickens

Western Wear abounds in Montana thrift stores

Western Wear abounds in Montana thrift stores

So may great vintage finds at the Mainstreeter Thrift Store

So may great vintage finds at the Mainstreeter Thrift Store

Why on earth didn't I buy these?!

Why on earth didn’t I buy these?!

Cowboy Boots at Mainstreeter in Livingston

Cowboy Boots at Mainstreeter in Livingston

Western-themed goodies are everywhere here

Western-themed goodies are everywhere here

Wilcoxson's makes the best ice cream!

Wilcoxson’s makes the best ice cream!

Ice cream was a perfect exclamation point to a nearly perfect day! Fortunately, they don’t sell Wilcoxson’s ice cream in the Bay Area! As our trip winded down, we spent the last couple of days at Chico Hot Springs, reknown for being the place where Jeff Bridges met his wife. As the story goes, she was a waitress there while he was filming Rancho Deluxe. They met, he kept asking her out. She kept saying “no” and then finally relented. They’ve been together ever since. After all the wide open spaces and the natural beauty of Montana, it was a bit of a shock to get to Chico Hot Springs because it was a holiday week-end, and it felt like the entire state of Montana was there. I have a feeling it would have been a much different experience had we been there at a different time. In any case, the surrounding area of Paradise Valley, where John Mayer, Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan and others have their ranches is absolutely gorgeous. The locals claim that the best time to be there is Winter. I’d like to go back during that season and sit in the boiling river in Yellowstone and perhaps give Chico Hot Springs another try.

Chico Hot Springs Saloon is a popular hang out

Chico Hot Springs Saloon is a popular hang out

Chico Hot Springs Saloon is a favorite of Jeff Bridges, apparently

Chico Hot Springs Saloon is a favorite of Jeff Bridges, apparently

Chico Hot Springs mineral pool

Chico Hot Springs mineral-fed pool

The best part about Chico Hot Springs is the old town of Chico just a walk up the road

The best part about Chico Hot Springs is the old town of Chico just a walk up the road

Great reuse of old license plates

Great reuse of old license plates

Nice license plate memorabilia

Nice license plate memorabilia

Old town of Chico

Old town of Chico

Skeleton driver near Old Chico

Skeleton driver near Old Chico

Fortunately, we didn't see any grizzly bears

Fortunately, we didn’t see any grizzly bears

Montana is a great place to wind down

Montana is a great place to wind down

It’s been so fun to write this post because it took me right back to Montana. I’d like to go back, perhaps in Winter and see that beautiful open sky again. And, this time, I’ll leave some room in my suitcase!  And in one final note, thank you to Liz’s family for being such great Montana tour guides and enthusiasts.  And, thank you for a great breakfast at Nova in Bozeman! Yum!

Montana is full of nice folks like these

Montana is full of nice folks like these

Montana Thrift Stores

Three Forks

Three Forks Thrift Store
23 S. Main Street
Three Forks, MT 59752
 
Belgrade
 
Sacks Thrift Shoppe
31 E. Main Street
Belgrade, MT
(406) 388-7526
 
Grandma’s Closet Thrift Store
201 S. Weaver Street
Belgrade, MT
(406) 595-1223
 
Restore, Habitat for Hunanity
Bruce Industrial Park
230 Arden Drive
Belgrade, MT 59714
(406) 388-2851
Hours: Wed. — Sat: 9 am-4 pm 

Livingston

Community Closet Thrift Store
416 E. Park Street
Livingston, MT
(406) 222-6200
 
Mainstreeter Thrift
206 S Main St
Livingston, MT
(406) 333-2276
Bozeman
7717 Shedhorn Dr
Bozeman, MT
(406) 586-5261
2130 Simmental Way
Bozeman, MT
(406) 586-2045
24 W Main St
Bozeman, MT
(406) 587-2153
431 N. 7th Avenue
Bozeman, MT 59715
(406) 585-9031
32 S Rouse Ave
Bozeman, MT
(406) 586-5813

Where to Stay

Sacajawea Hotel
5 N. Main 
Three Forks, MT 59752
(406) 285-6515
 
Chico Hot Springs
163 Chico Road
Pray, MT 59065
(406) 333-4933
 
 

Where to Eat

Pompey’s Grill, Three Forks

Yellowstone Valley Lodge, Paradise Valley

Wheat Montana

Town Haul, Harrison

Cateye Cafe, Bozeman

Nova Cafe, Bozeman

 

What to Read

Liz brought this book with her to read on our trip to Montana.  I highly recommend it.  It’s great reading, even if you’re not going on a trip…


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Discussion

4 Responses to “Thrift Trip: Montana thrift stores

  1. Montana is God’s country! The population hasn’t changed much in years – halleluja! Still lots of open space. Mimi captured this magical place marvelously in her photos and descriptions. And Wilcoxson’s ice cream rules!

    Posted by liz | September 26, 2014, 11:42 pm
  2. Mimi, Thanks for this post about Montana. You are a very gifted writer and photographer. Thought I was traveling right there with you! I especially liked the Spanish sconces and porcelain chickens. The photos of the wide open spaces lowered my blood pressure by 25%. Keep up the great work and I look forward to your next posting. – Thomas

    Posted by Thomas | September 30, 2014, 4:20 pm

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