A Sunny Autumn Day in Kalispell, Montana
Part of: West of the Mississippi
I spent two nights in the small town of Kalispell, Montana, and had a great time. The sun was shining, the leaves were turning colors, the downtown was quiet and walkable, there were many good lodging options and interesting things to check out, and it's right next to Glacier National Park. Highly recommended.
The Kalispell Grand Hotel
I stayed in the Kalispell Grand Hotel, which I was very happy with. Built in 1912, it is located right downtown in the heart of things, has a great breakfast and friendly staff, and I had a cozy little room with a nice view (and a nice low price!).
Museum at Central School
After a random stroll down Main Street, I stopped in at this museum located in a pretty public school building. I don't think I actually knew about it in advance, so it's a good thing they had such a big sign to draw me in!
It was very fun to chat with her and hear about her school memories - she was a cheerleader! - and the story of how the building was just barely saved from demolition. I wished I had more time to hear more stories of her life in Kalispell.
Mrs. Ruby reluctantly informed me that photos are not allowed in the museum but, after seeing my disappointment and hearing about Go Historic, she sent me downstairs to talk to the manager about it. That was a new experience! It was interesting to talk to him, too, and he eventually agreed to allow me to take photos. So, happily, I can show you around the museum a bit. If you're in the area, please visit - it's interesting and they need those admissions to stay open!
A short walk from the museum is the Conrad Mansion, built for Charles E. Conrad, founder of Kalispell, in 1895. When he built his house, there was pretty much nothing else here.
The mansion is now a museum that contains almost all of the original family furnishings, which is rare and pretty impressive. Visits are by guided tour only, and I didn't plan ahead so didn't get a chance to join one. Instead I just had a nice wander around the grounds and garden.
More Residential Goodness
A few other notable sights from my leisurely walk through Kalispell's residential neighborhoods:
After all that hard work, I was ready for a break featuring a cold drink or maybe some dessert, so I headed back downtown to see what was what. I came upon Sweet Peaks Ice Cream, which a quick phone-lookup told me was homemade and excellent. Done!