After a loud and rainy thunderstorm during the night, this morning I woke up in Miles City. This was my first trip spending the night on the road to visit farmers markets. They are getting farther away from home, so the next few weeks I will be doing this.
One lesson I learned this first time was to do a bit of research to see if there is an interesting place to stay in town. I stayed at the Econolodge, which is nice and offered a continental breakfast, but was unfortunately located in a suburban sprawl by the freeway.
Before I fell into bed, I drove into the historic district (what back home we simply call "downtown"). The original part of Miles City has several interesting places to eat. Across the street from the farmers market area is the Olive Hotel. Oh, how I wish I had stayed there! My night at the Econolodge cost $68; a room at this historic hotel is $55. Plus, if you are lucky (or unlucky, depending on your point of view), you get a ghost thrown in for free. Room 250 is haunted by a friendly female ghost who reportedly flushes the toilet a lot.
There's always next time.
While I was downtown, I noticed this delivery truck. Look at that content face. Isn't it great to see someone with the perfect job?
The skies cleared a bit for the Saturday morning market, which has been opened for 14 years by market manager Alice. Some markets open with a bell, but Alice feels that is too impersonal. She prefers to use her voice to tell everyone that a raffle basket filled by vendors will be won by some lucky customer and that everyone will find great buys in today's market. Alice dresses up a bit so everyone knows where she is.
There was plenty of produce, which was predictably selling out quickly even as rain began dripping onto vendor tables. Baked goods made an appearance, as well as wooden crafts (if you want to attract more mosquitoes, try a 2-inch mosquito house), soap, and jewelry made from locally found moss agates (which along with blue sapphires are Montana's state gemstones).
Each week, an average of 15 vendors stake out spots, and about 300 customers buy their goods. It's a popular market, and this year it has been expanded to Tuesday night.
Miles City Farmers Market
Riverside Park, west end of Main Street
May 16 - October 24
Saturday, 8 am - noon
9th, at Main Street
July 14 - September 29
Tuesday, 6 pm - 7 pm