We packed up our stuff in Livingston Montana and hit the road west again for about 2.5 hours (126 miles). It was a little windy on the drive today but with all the beautiful mountain scenery it went by pretty fast. We pulled into the Lewis and Clark Fairgrounds and asked about camping. We paid for two nights ($20 per night) and drove around back to the RV park.
Man what a cool site we discovered here! This is the best campground we have ever stayed at in a fairgrounds. There is electricity only (including some 50 amp service) and nothing else… no frills. However, this campground is laid out more like a state park with beautiful scenery all around. We set up and simply relaxed to admire the view of Mount Helena.
We made a plan to hike that mountain before leaving but first things first. We wanted first to tour the state capitol. I don’t know when we decided to start visiting state capitols but I sure wish we had started it from the beginning of our travels. They are such interesting state treasures with history, art and wonderful architecture..... all for free to visit.
Montana’s capital city, Helena. was oddly enough founded by four men from Georgia searching for gold. When word got out they had discovered gold, Helena was born. Another interesting fact is that Helena once had more millionaires per capita than anywhere else on earth! Who would have thought?
The state capitol building was constructed between 1896 and 1902 and the later annexes on either side were added from 1909 to 1912. Constructed of Montana sandstone and granite this stately building is a centerpiece of Helena. Even President Theodore Roosevelt spoke from its steps on the morning of May 27, 1903. Inside the rotunda is fairly elaborate and ornate and it sure was fun taking our self guided tour through this beautiful building.
Afterward we went to the downtown area and took an urban stroll through town. We loved that parking is free in the city and even though the western towns don’t have the history found in eastern towns the architecture was interesting in Helena. We strolled through the pedestrian mall and at the end discovered a brewery named Blackfoot River Brewing Company. We sampled their brews and liked the Scotch Ale so much we departed with a growler of it.
What a great start to our short stay in Helena Montana…
NOTE: We are currently in Kalispell Montana for another 4 weeks…