Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day in Butte, America

First things first, Butte gets a bad rap. It is a little deserved, but uptown Butte is one of the coolest places in America, if not the world. The buildings are awesome and old. Everything is dripping with history. Which is why I decided to take Darcy there for Valentine's Day. She didn't know where we were going until we turned on to I-90 going east. She correctly guessed our destination before we'd driven a mile.

Merle Haggard was playing in town, but on the wrong side of town for us. He played at the Butte Civic Center, which is in the gentrified "McDonalds" side of town, so we opted to sit the show out. Trying to get a hotel room was almost impossible because of the concert, so we ended up staying at Eddy's Motel. This was the view from our front stoop.

Since this was Darcy's first time venturing into Butte, I figured we should get the Berkley Pit out of the way right at the get go. We weren't so lucky, since apparently the observation deck was closed for the season. I'm not sure why they would close, but I think they charge a two dollar fee to look at the pit. We tried climbing up and around, but they actually piled dirt in the line of sight, so you have to pay to see one of the most toxic bodies of water in the country. This is as close as we got.

We had late dinner reservations, so we wandered around uptown to grab a few drinks while we waited. I'd heard rumors that the seminal bar M&Ms had closed down, but we saw lights on inside, it was open! We had a few beers and talked to the new owner who actually had relatives in Blue Earth, the tiny town in Minnesota where Darcy is from. The bar was awesome, and we heard stories about Obama, Schweitzer and countless other politicians who have all stopped to grab a drink or a bite to eat.

We stopped back at M&Ms in the morning for breakfast and had to wait almost 40 minutes just to order. Still it was worth it. I ordered my standard greasy spoon breakfast: bacon, eggs over easy, hashbrowns, sourdough toast and coffee. Usually you get about 3 pieces of bacon, but here I got a whopping 5 and a half! Sweet. Plus, Darcy got a free beer because we had to wait so long. We hit the road back to Missoula right after breakfast. We were itching for a quick drink on the way home, and planned on going to the great sounding "Chalet Bearmouth." It was closed and for sale. We ended up going to Harold's in Bonner, and wound up in the middle of a jamboree.

Apparently, once a month a bunch of old guys get together in Bonner, Alberton, Frenchtown, basically anywhere that isn't Missoula. There was sporadic dancing, and at one point a false arm that had been modified with a guitar slide on the end sitting on our table. One of the best random stops we could have made.

Butte was great, of course we aren't the first Missoulian's to visit Butte recently, Mitch and Melissa(and Ludwig of course) and Christopher recounted their adventures in Butte, America on their respective blogs.

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