In our last post we shared about our recent trip to Montana’s mining city, Butte. Writing that post I knew I wanted to separate our travelling for the trip, because Philipsburg deserves a post of it’s own.
In our 77′ Landcruiser we knew that we were going to have to take the back roads as much as possible to Butte… Can’t quite keep up with the vehicles on the interstate… nor do we really want to.
We left Kalispell early in the morning and drove the Swan Highway. Slightly colder then we anticipated, and if you followed our Instagram stories of the trip, you might recall Andy warming his hands with the help of Lola’s vents.
We topped our tank in Seeley Lake and turned left at the Clearwater Junction, heading East on MT Highway 200. We noted that there was a sign in Ovando that gave mileage to Helmville and decided we would try that route on the way home.
By the time we rolled into Helmville it was lunch time and we stopped at the Copper Queen Saloon. A great local eatery. We had fun looking around at the signatures on the ceiling, some were from the 80’s.
We drove Hwy 271 that snaked through sage brush and HUGE grasshoppers that forced us to stop in Drummond to clean our windshield before we headed south.
We drove into Philipsburg and parked Lola on a side street adjacent from the Philipsburg Brewing Company and went in for a brew. The taproom is beautiful… Can a brewery be considered beautiful?… Not sure, but I’m sticking with it.
We didn’t know it at the time, but we visited “The Vault” (named after the historic Sayr’s Bank Building constructed in the 1880s that now is the home of the brewery). They also have a newer space, “The Springs”, which is opened when the weather is cooperating. There is no shortage of history in their second location as it has the original hoptower from the Kroger Brewery that operated in the same location in 1875.
Andy’s Drink Suggestion: Otter Water Session Pale Ale
Crystal’s Drink Suggestion: Haybag American Hefeweizen
We walked down to the The Sweet Palace, this is a must do when you travel to Philipsburg. Especially when you didn’t bring your daughter and she knows you are going to Philipsburg and she loves fudge… They have an amazing space and selection. Just be sure to visit on any other day besides Saturday, they aren’t open.
Besides the sweets, Philipsburg is well known for their sapphires. On previous trips we’ve always visited Gem Mountain’s mine located on the Skalkaho Pass, 22 miles west of town. But this trip we tried our mining hands in town at their indoor gravel washing located in the garage to the west of the store. Just as much fun as the outdoor mine, and just as many sapphires! We highly recommend you stop at either location and grab a bucket.
We ended our time in Philipsburg with a chocolate milkshake and green river lime phosphate at Doe Brothers Soda Fountain.
We can’t wait to take the Landcruiser back to Philipsburg to visit Granite Ghost Town and perhaps the 6th Annual Brewfest and Chili Cookoff in February.
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