Written by Kathleen Goodwin
Growing up in the South, I had never heard of Missoula. Montana itself was almost as mythical as Narnia to me; a place that only existed in pictures and a place where I would never visit, let alone live. Years later, I found myself driving down I-90 through the rolling mountains on my way to my new home. I was both nervous with anticipation for what was to come and giddy beyond belief to arrive in Missoula. When moving to a new town, everything is interesting: the air, the buildings, the people, and the rhythm of the town. Here is how I spent my first week exploring my new home.
Exploring the sunny streets of Missoula
Missoula is bursting with fun outdoor activities, so during my first week in town I had to soak up as much sun as possible. I started by exploring the Rattlesnake area by taking a run down by the creek and exploring the area with my dog. The upper Rattlesnake area is a popular place for families and solo enthusiasts to bike, run, and take an early morning or late evening stroll. It was stunning that such a relaxing place was so accessible from Missoula (only about a 10 minute drive). Later in the week, I decided to explore town via bike. I rode down to campus, took a leisurely ride on the River Front Trail system, and marveled at the A-rated city bike system in town. I am not the most graceful biker in the world but felt totally safe in this bike-friendly community. With so many opportunities for outdoor adventures, I plan to explore as much as I can before the winter sets in... and then I will explore by snowshoe!
Enjoying a pint on the patio at Draught Works
In my first week here, I have managed to visit three breweries- call it priorities! First stop was Kettlehouse Brewing, a small tasting room with big personality. Eclectic music filled the air, and a man next to me was reading a book while a large party of friends gathered in a nearby corner. The beer selection was small but mighty with a variety of hop filled varieties as well as lighter offerings. Next stop, Draught Works. With its large patio and rotating selection of food trucks, it would be easy to get lost in the hours while drinking from a wide selection of brews. This place was full of locals and visitors alike, and I look forward to many days spent on their porch drinking a delicious IPA or cream ale. Lastly, I sampled the beers of Highlander Brewing. Situated along a little creek with a huge outdoor lawn, I did not feel like I was in town at all. Adirondack chairs lined the creek and kids were playing in the grass. The delicious smell of homemade pizza filled the air while I enjoyed a sampling of the best Highlander has to offer. I closed my eyes and imagined weekends with visiting friends or nights with future co-workers, taking in the rays of the late-setting Missoula sun and breathing in the relaxing calm that comes with beautiful scenery, good beer, and great company.
Let's be honest: food is one of the best things about coming to a new city. I have proudly sampled several cuisines from some local places in my short week here. Good Food Store has an extensive hot bar that I have not-so-shamefully enjoyed during grocery shopping outings. Five on Black, a fast casual Brazilian restaurant, made its way to the top of my list thanks to its affordable rice bowls and delicious flavor. I never realized that I liked beets until I had their roasted veggie bowl. Another excellent and affordable dining option I discovered is The Greek Pastry Shop - #1 Gyro's, located a nice walk from the downtown area. This place had some tasty fries and falafel and a nice outdoor eating area. Lastly I treated myself to a delicious breakfast at Hob Nob, a local favorite. As I sat there in the early morning calmness sipping coffee and looking out at Higgins Street, I was very happy to know that this was my new home.
Colorful veggies at the Saturday Farmer's Market
Missoula not only boasts great beer, food, and outdoor pursuits, but it also is home to some of the kindest people. There is a very strong sense of community here, and everyone has been so willing to lend advice about the town or a helping hand if needed. I found myself at ease while exploring the library, browsing veggies and baked goods at the Saturday Farmer's Market, or marveling at the artisan goods at the craft fair. This town is as homey as they come, I am so thrilled to be a part of it.