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Bed and Breakfast Missoula Mt: Spring into Arts

The Arts are waking up in Missoula, along with the bears in the mountains. Singer/spoken word artist Bill Harley, known to all Montana public radio listeners for his work on the children’s show “Pea Green Boat”, will be performing at the University of Montana’s University Theatre on Sunday, May 17, at 2pm. His performances at that venue in 2007 were taped and ultimately won him a grammy for Best Spoken Word Album for Children. The whole family is sure to enjoy his upcoming show.

The fine arts are also thriving. This past weekend, the University of Montana School of Fine Arts honored Monte Dolack and his wife, Mary Beth Percival, for their contributions to the community of Missoula. Saturday night’s “Odyssey of the Stars” recognized the couple as two of the most influential Montana artists of their generation; their art has developed and changed with them over the years, and their influence has been wide-reaching. The artists’ most recent works will be open for viewing at their studio on the next First Friday art gallery open. Smaller versions of their art can be found on the notecards available at our Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast.

There is something for music lovers in Missoula this week too. Jazzoula, a series of concerts featuring local jazz musicians, is the prelude to the University of Montana’s Buddy DeFranco Jazz Festival next weekend. Even locals are sometimes surprised by how much talent is hidden in the region. In fact, innkeeper Elaine used to be an active band member with Andrew Goodrich, one one the featured guests at the Jazz Festival this year. Maybe Elaine will surprise us with a performance of her own at the inn!

Plan to stay in our bed and breakfast Missoula, Blue Mountain B&B, and explore some of what Missoula’s art community has to offer this spring. We grew up in this area and it is important to us to support our local artists and community.

Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula

montana-wildlifeStay at our bed and breakfast Montana while you take in some films. Animal lovers and film enthusiasts will be flocking to Missoula MT in early May for the 32nd Annual International Wildlife Film Festival. This longstanding event was the first of its kind in the world, and has helped raise awareness of wildlife and conservation issues for decades through film and media. The festival has been called the “Sundance of the wildlife film genre”, and is sure to be both entertaining and fascinating. It kicks off with a Wildwalk Parade “Howl at the Moon!” at noon on May 9th, and continues until the “Best of Festival” screening on May 16th. Many of the festival events will be at the historic Roxy Theater, restored by the International Wildlife Media Center which recognizes the importance of preserving local history as well as wildlife — everything is connected. Stay at our Missoula Mt bed and breakfast while you attend the festival. Come early or stay late, and take advantage of the pristine wilderness around Missoula.

Hiking in Missoula

There is great hiking in Missoula. In the Blue Mountain Recreation Area, enjoy the Maclay Flat Interpretative Trail.

It is a gentle stroll on a wide path that can also accommodate wheelchairs.  The trail takes you along the Bitterroot River and through adjacent meadows, with some great views of mountains around Missoula.

Blue Mountain Views

Blue Mountain Views

If you want to pick up a little knowledge while visiting our Missoula lodging, the Maclay Flat Trail also has 16 interpretive signs along the way describing the river system, wildlife, vegetation and archeology of this area.

There is wildlife in the area, and the observant guest has seen evidence of porcupine and beaver. Also look for wood duck nesting boxes attached to trees and for bluebird boxes on fence posts.

About a third mile down the trail, you reach a flat, grassy spot along the river – perfect for picnicking. There are also some fishing spots along this stretch of the river. We at the Blue Mountain Montana Bed and Breakfast will be happy to provide you with picnic baskets and coolers!

There is also great bird watching at Maclay Flat. During spring in Missoula look for lots of wildflowers and other plants. Hope to see you at our Missoula Inn soon!

Bed and Breakfast Montana: Aerial Fire Depot

Smokejumpers are highly trained specialists who parachute into remote areas of national forests to fight the spread of wildfires.

Smokejumper Suit Display

Smokejumper Suit Display

The nation’s largest training base for smokejumpers is located in Missoula. This is a great place to learn about wild land firefighting and smokejumping in particular. Tours of the working parts of the smokejumper base at 10 and 11 AM, and 2, 3, and 4 PM all summer long. Some of our favorite parts of the museum include the cool parachutes, the airplanes and talking with actual fire jumpers and hearing their stories.

This can be a good place to bring the family while staying at our Missoula lodging. The last guests that visited told
us their tour guide was led by an actual rookie Smokejumper and included a visit to the working Smokejumper facilities. If you have very good/bad timing, you might see the Smokejumpers suit up and board the aircraft to go to a fire!

If you are interested in learning more about what it takes to protect the wild areas around our Montana Bed and Breakfast, like the Rockie Mountains just North of us, the Aerial Fire Depot is a must-see for you. The tours are usually a great learning experience and fun for the kids. Adults will probably find the information about firefighting and national fire policy interesting. The tour takes about 45 minutes, is free of charge, and includes a visit to a real fire lookout.

Just one of many interesting excursions near our bed and breakfast Montana. See you soon!

Bed and Breakfast Montana: A Carousel for Missoula

“If you will give it a home, and promise no one will ever take it apart, I will build A Carousel for Missoula.” That was the promise Missoula cabinet-maker Chuck Kaparich made to the Missoula City Council in 1991. And now, in the heart of town, is a Carousel for Missoula. The Carousel stands as a stellar of community involvement.

Kaparich, who had spent many childhood hours on the carousel at Columbia Gardens in Butte, Montana, had already carved four carousel ponies and had purchased an antique frame in thousands of pieces. The City Council agreed and the journey for our community began. This Carousel is only 15 minutes from our Missoula lodging, and a must-see for families!

Woodworkers instruct young & old to create a community masterpiece

Woodworkers instruct young & old to create a community masterpiece

A board of directors was formed to facilitate organization and fund raising, Kaparich taught others to carve, mechanics began the process of restoring 16,066 pieces, painters were recruited, and Missoula began working together to create a treasure.

By Opening Day, May 27, 1995, over 100,000 hours of volunteer time had gone into the construction of 38 permanent ponies, three replacement ponies, two chariots, 14 gargoyles and the largest band organ in continuous use in the United States, all within a jewel box building.

The finished project

The finished project

School children collected over one-million pennies to adopt four ponies! Although this beautiful piece of work started for the kids, it enriched the hearts and souls of all that worked on it! The project continued with the Dragon Hollow play area right next door to the merry-go-round. It took just nine days to erect this expansive play structure through the hard work of volunteers. This children’s play land is in the heart of Missoula. It would be a great place to stop during some window shopping while staying at our Montana Bed and Breakfast and have a picnic or let the kids run wild for a little while you get off your feet.

We have always been proud community members and are looking forward to sharing the beauty and wonder of the Bitterroot Valley with you when you come to our Missoula MT Bed and Breakfast. See you soon!

Chipmunks Awaken!

As February comes to a close, and March is just around the corner, Montana turns its thoughts and desires to spring. Mostly it is just thoughts right now, for winter’s chill and new snow are still on the menu and many of us are still hoping for some of that “white gold” our mountains and forests need so badly. But spring is on our mind none the less, and the first buttercups and returning birds are telling us that the winter is on its way out. The first chipmunks have started to appear and it reminds me of one fine spring day a few years back when I spent some time out in our backyard with my camera and these fine little “people”. They were out in great numbers making the most of the sun and warm weather. The older ones were scurrying about, some times in groups, while the babies, cautious only of their own less then skilled and unfamiliar agility, explored the world in wonder. One in particular, feared nothing and was as curious of me as I was fascinated by him. He climbed over, behind and around the large rocks that make up the cliff-like wall that holds the hillside at bay from our house and makes a backdrop for our pond and waterfall. Each step was cautious and planned as he tested what his new little body could do. No fear seemed to enter his thoughts or actions, just fascination and wonder as he made his way up a vertical face of a rock. Then he stopped to see just what he had accomplished, and a moment later, he was on to see what else about himself and his world was waiting to be discovered. These tiny creatures are innocence at it purest form, and their simple but beautiful lives are undeniable proof that we humans must live with nature and share in its splendor, not just use it for our own.

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