When we left Helena on Sunday morning Zach decided to take a different route back to Salt Lake. Instead of taking I-15 all the way south we diverted from the Interstate onto some state and US highways to indulge in some scenic back-road beauty. Even though it was slightly overcast, it was a gorgeous drive through rolling pastoral fields and sparsely-inhabited towns (all the more appropriate since I was reading Anna Karenina).
It’s often on our drives to/from somewhere that we discover new places we want to visit. Such was the case this time. We stopped in Ennis, Montana for a couple hours to stretch our legs and have a drink at the distillery. Known as a fly-fishing destination, Ennis is a little over an hour from Yellowstone Nat’l. Park and 20 minutes from the iconic Old West town, Virginia City. Ennis attracts most visitors in the warmer summer months, but we enjoyed catching it during the tranquil off-season.
We stopped first at Willie’s Distillery. Willie’s tasting room is cozy, welcoming, and styled like an Old West saloon. Since Montana law dictates that customers can receive only two ounces of liquor at distillery tasting rooms, Willie’s has a creative but extensive menu. We opted to try a few mixed drinks; I had a Moscow mule and Zach had an Old Fashioned. Then we ended up splitting a Moonshine Margarita which was amazing. We loved Willie’s. Our bartender had recently moved from South Carolina, and we really enjoyed talking with her about our mutual enchantment with our new western homes.
After our final drinks, we wanted to take a stroll up and down Main St. to give Tru a chance to stretch his legs. Ennis has a quaint downtown strip with several restaurants, offices, and businesses. Many were still closed for the winter hiatus, but I can imagine it would be a lively place in the summer.
The bartender at Willie’s had suggested walking Truman down the street to the Ennis Lions Club Park which borders the Madison River. It made for a chilly but beautiful walk, and a nice way to take in the scenery before hopping back in the car and heading home. Hopefully we’ll come back in the summer and spend more time in the area!