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4nts. Helena, Missoula, Kalispell - how to divide time?

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Jun 21st, 2007, 01:57 PM
  #1
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4nts. Helena, Missoula, Kalispell - how to divide time?

As part of a 4 week NW rd trip, my DH and I will be spending 4 nts in the above area before heading into Glacier. We are a sr couple, mainly interested in sightseeing. We had planned to spend 1 nt Helena, 1 Missoula and 2 Kalispell. After doing even more reading, we are wondering if we should change to 2 in Missoula, 1 Kalispell, 1 Helena or skip Helena all together and spend 2 each Miss. and Kal. Unfortunately, we would be arriving in Helena on Sun of Labor Day weekend and it looks like everything is closed Suns and holidays. Also, we would like to drive Rt.1 thru Anaconda and Philipsburg which looks awkward to do to/from Helena. Advice?

Thanks,
isy
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Jun 21st, 2007, 06:00 PM
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Even if it's a Sunday it's still worth it to stay one night in Helena. Restaurants and some attractions will be open. The tour train should be running and the capitol building and museum should be open. http://visitmt.com/categories/morein...=2431&SiteID=1
Anaconda and Philipsburg via I15 to Butte and then I90 to the MT 1 interchange is very doable and scenic even if you plan on continuing on to Missoula that same day. Another option is to leave Helena via US 12 over McDonald Pass, follow I 90 to Drummond, and then drive South for about half an hour to Philipsburg which I think is the highlight of MT 1. You would have to backtrack to Drummond in order to continue on I90 to Missoula but it's a good road and a pretty drive.
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Jun 22nd, 2007, 02:00 PM
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Thanks, ternstail. Will stick with 1 nt in Helena. For the other 3 nts, would you recommend 2 in Missoula and 1 in Kalispell or vice-versa?

isy
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Jun 22nd, 2007, 02:50 PM
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You might consider Whitefish instead of Kalispell. When we went to Glacier we found Whitefish to be a nicer, altho smaller, town. Also, a little closer to Glacier NP. Just my opinion...have a great trip regardless.
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Jun 23rd, 2007, 09:06 AM
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I agree with TAW about Whitefish. Bigfork would be another option. Missoula is a nice university town with lots of good restaurants. Whether it's better to spend two nights in Missoula or the Flathead Valley really depends on your interests. I'd spend the two nights in the Flathead Valley myself because I'm not into the bigger city stuff but you can't go wrong with either.
You could also spend one night in Missoula, one night in Polson, and one night in the Flathead Valley.
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Jun 23rd, 2007, 01:51 PM
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I would go for two in Missoula and one in Whitefish, myself. Lots to do in Missoula, great restaurants, very interesting architecture. Ditto Whitefish: a Frank Lloyd Wright building and an incredible railroad station. Try to be there when the Empire Builder arrives in the morning.

I would urge you to have room reservations well in advance for Labor Day. Even in July, many hotels and motels were fully booked in both places.
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Jun 23rd, 2007, 05:13 PM
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Thanks, everyone. Something else to think about and research. Hadn't thought about Whitefish. Greatly appreciate all your suggestions.

isy
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Jun 23rd, 2007, 09:10 PM
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We spent only a couple of hours in Kalispell, but we really loved our walk through 4th, 5th, and 6th Avenues East--the 300 to 600 house numbers. These avenues are replete with wonderful Victorian and Craftsman-style houses, beautifully kept up. A wonderful stroll down tree-lined streets.

We were also very impressed with Phillipsburg, which is a National Historic District in its entirety. The many circa-1890's brick buildings along its main street have been restored and now house shops and restaurants.
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Jun 24th, 2007, 02:04 PM
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I agree with Pegontheroad about the east side of Kalispell. If it's open don't miss a tour of the Conrad Mansion. http://www.conradmansion.com/

In Helena, the tour train takes you through the mansion district which is full of ornate nineteenth century mansions from the time when Helena had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the US.....Tiffany's had a store there.
http://www.lctours.com/itinerary.html
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