Starling Travel

August 13, 2009

J. E. Haynes: Yellowstone Photographer

Filed under: Hiking,Montana,Museums,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

While going through my grandmother’s collection of knitting and crochet books, I found this old photograph of Lower Falls in Yellowstone.

J. E. Haynes: Yellowstone Photographer by LauraMoncur from Flickr

The information on the back made us very excited.

J. E. Haynes: Yellowstone Photographer by LauraMoncur from Flickr

It is a hand painted photograph by J. E. Haynes, son of Frank Jay Haynes, the first official Yellowstone photographer. F. Jay Haynes actually named many of the Yellowstone sites and was instrumental in documenting Yellowstone. J. E. Haynes, followed in his footsteps.

My grandmother’s photograph is pretty faded, so I tried to spruce it up a bit.

J. E. Haynes: Yellowstone Photographer by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Here is what the sight looks like today.

Lower Falls 2009 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Lower Falls is located in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

April 24, 2009

Opening Day in Yellowstone National Park

Filed under: Montana,Places To Visit,Tourist Attractions — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Bison Snow YellowstoneMike and I are planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park soon, so we were interested to see if we were going to be buried in six feet of snow again this year. Fortunately, the lovely Roland K. Smith visited Yellowstone on opening day this year and gave us a bunch of photos to see how our trip might be.

For some strange reason we didn’t get to Yellowstone Park once last year. We decided we were definitely going to change that this year and further determined that, if possible and the weather permitted, we would go to Yellowstone on the first day that vehicular traffic was allowed into the Park.

Last year, Mike and I went to Yellowstone on opening day and we got a FAR different welcome.

Yellowstone Park 04-20-08 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

The snow was piled higher than our ears. I don’t think we’ll run into that again this year. Thanks, Roland, for scoping it out for us!

To see more of Roland’s Yellowstone Photos:

To see more of last year’s Yellowstone trip:

April 23, 2008

Hotel SWAG: Comfort Inn West Yellowstone

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging,Montana,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Our snowy stay in West Yellowstone was made more pleasant by our hotel. We stayed at the Comfort Inn in West Yellowstone.

Here are the photos of the Hotel SWAG as it was presented on 04-19-08:

Hotel SWAG: Comfort Inn West Yellowstone 04-19-08 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Here is the coffee setup.

Hotel SWAG: Comfort Inn West Yellowstone 04-19-08 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

This Quattro razor was also on the counter. I don’t know if it was included in the SWAG or if we will be charged if we use it. The sign says complimentary, but it’s hard to know.

Hotel SWAG: Comfort Inn West Yellowstone 04-19-08 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Here is the keycard.

Hotel SWAG: Comfort Inn West Yellowstone 04-19-08 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

The Internet connection wasn’t screaming fast, but it was usable. Additionally, there were several open wi-fi networks nearby that were also available.


Where:

Comfort Inn West Yellowstone

638 Madison Ave.
P.O. Box 1050
West Yellowstone, MT 59758
406-646-4212 • Fax 406-646-4212
Reservations 888-264-2466

April 22, 2008

Yellowstone Photographs

Filed under: Montana,Places To Visit,Travel — Laura Moncur @ 7:55 am

Our first foray into Yellowstone this spring was greeted with snow and baby buffalo.

Yellowstone Park 04-20-08 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Yellowstone Park 04-20-08 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Yellowstone Park 04-20-08 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Yellowstone Park 04-20-08 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

With the snow piled higher than our ears, we waited for Old Faithful to erupt.

Yellowstone Park 04-20-08 by LauraMoncur from Flickr

For more photos:

September 21, 2007

Hotel SWAG: Best Western Crosswinds Motor Inn in West Yellowstone, Montana

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging,Montana — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

On our way back from Billings, we stayed the night at the Best Western Crosswinds Motor Inn in West Yellowstone, Montana. They also allow pets, but if you have allergies, you won’t be able to tell because their rooms are so clean. Here is the SWAG as it was presented on 08-24-07:

Best Western Crosswinds Motor Inn Hotel SWAG

This motel is within walking distance of all the fun places in West Yellowstone. It’s right on the main strip and our room faced the busy road, but we couldn’t hear road traffic because the insulation was so good. Our room had a refrigerator in it, which was an added bonus that we didn’t expect.

After such a harrowing trip, the Crosswinds Motor Inn was a quiet and pleasant place for us to rest on our way home.


If you have taken pictures of Hotel SWAG, please share them with us on Flickr:

Or you can contact me and I can post them here and give you credit for it:

September 20, 2007

Hotel SWAG: Best Western Clock Tower Inn in Billings, Montana

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging,Montana — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Without a doubt, my favorite place to stay in Billings, Montana is the Clock Tower Inn. They accept pets, but their rooms are clean and didn’t set off my husband’s allergies. It is closest to the best restaurants in Billings. I have stayed at plenty of hotels in Billings, but my favorite is the Clock Tower Inn. Here is the hotel SWAG as it was presented on 08-20-07:

Best Western Clock Tower Inn Hotel SWAG

I’m ashamed to say that the SWAG at this hotel made me squeal with joy.

On the back of the toilet, they had extra toilet paper, a shower cap and a disposal bag. I love the container for the shower cap. If you actually USE a shower cap and want to keep it, this is the BEST little box for one because it allows the cap to dry, it’s recloseable and it is compact.

Best Western Clock Tower Inn Hotel SWAG

I usually don’t take pictures of the coffee setup at hotels because I don’t drink coffee, but everything looked so good, I snapped a picture of the coffee as well.

Best Western Clock Tower Inn Hotel SWAG

They even performed a little bit of toilet paper origami. It’s little touches like this that make the hotel experience all the better.

Best Western Clock Tower Inn

We had to stay in Billings because my grandfather died. It was a horrible time for us and the one respite we had at the end of those hard days was coming back to the Clock Tower Inn. I’m so grateful for them.


If you have taken pictures of Hotel SWAG, please share them with us on Flickr:

Or you can contact me and I can post them here and give you credit for it:

September 17, 2007

Hotel SWAG: Days Inn in Billings, Montana

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging,Montana — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Once again, it’s Hotel SWAG week. Today, we are showing the hotel SWAG from the Days Inn in Billings, Montana. These photos were taken 07-29-07:

This was on the counter by the sink:

Days Inn Hotel SWAG

This was taken in the shower. We had a handicaped room (saved us $5 a night), so all we had was a shower. This bath mat with soap and shampoo were sitting on the shower seat.

Days Inn Hotel SWAG

I liked this hotel. There was a friendly cat who lived there. He liked to sit on the printer and would let me pet him if he happened to be in the hall.


If you have taken pictures of Hotel SWAG, please share them with us on Flickr:

Or you can contact me and I can post them here and give you credit for it:

August 7, 2007

Bozeman, MT: The Museum of the Rockies

Filed under: Montana,Museums,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

We went to the Museum of the Rockies to see an exhibit that they have there until September:

The Museum of the Rockies: King Tut Exhibit

Here is their description of the exhibit:

“Ten years in the making from the artisans of the Pharaonic Village in Egypt, the Field Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this dazzling collection of 126 reproductions faithfully preserves Tutankhamun’s treasures. Included in the exhibit are Tutankhamun’s magnificent state chariot, golden shrines, beds, thrones, jewelry, his spectacular funerary mask, mummy case, and royal mummy. There are also associated artifacts from the period surrounding Tutankhamun’s reign that reconstruct both the historic discovery of the tomb by Howard Carter and the life and times of Egypt’s celebrated boy king.”

If you have seen the King Tutankhamun Museum at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, you will be underwhelmed by the reproductions at The Museum of the Rockies. In fact, if you have seen the gift shop at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas, you will be underwhelmed by this exhibit.

The entire cost of entry, however, was made up by the dinosaur exhibit. I have never been to a better dinosaur museum. I was amazed at the collection that they had. Here is me next to a T-Rex skull.

T-Rex Skull at The Museum of the Rockies

My favorite part of the museum was the collection of Triceratops skulls lined up according to age. Baby Triceratop skulls right up to old age and everything in-between. Each skull was labeled with the exact location in Montana where it was found.

They also had paleontologists there, working on fossils and explaining them to questioning children. I felt like a peeping tom, looking in on their work in the office, but it didn’t stop me from looking. It was totally awesome!

With the horrible King Tut reproductions forgotten, we left the museum happy and wishing we could stay and see more.


Where:

Museum of the Rockies
600 W Kagy Blvd
Bozeman, MT 59717
Phone: (406) 994-2251

Google Map

August 6, 2007

Billings, MT: Grains of Montana

Filed under: Food,Montana,Places To Visit — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Grains of Montana

After dining at some casino restaurants in Billings, Montana, I had given up on finding any food in an enjoyable atmosphere. Then we found Grains of Montana and were pleasantly surprised.

The most endearing part of the restaurant for me was a small touch that might not even be noticed by most people. The “number” that they gave us to put on our table while we waited for our food wasn’t a number at all. It was a little card telling me something about a town in Montana. In this case, it was Pendroy.

Pendroy, Montana

It gave the restaurant such a local flavor that I immediately loved eating my egg salad sandwich on sourdough bread with kettle chips. It was a simple meal, but it felt like incredibly good food that I couldn’t get anywhere else.

Egg Salad Sandwich with kettle chips

Mike had the chicken pesto pizza. I had no idea that Billings had heard of “pesto” until we saw it on their menu.

Chicken Pesto Pizza

Unlike so many of the trendy bakery restaurants that have infiltrated Salt Lake City, Grains of Montana had an EASY ordering process. We were able to tell ONE person ONCE what we wanted and paid her. At Paradise Bakery, for example, we end up having to tell four separate people our order before we are allowed to pay for it. Grains of Montana made the process so much smoother.

Grains of Montana ordering is easy.

There were desserts aplenty. We tried the cinnamon roll and its delicious cream cheese frosting was perfect: not too sweet and fresh. There were so many desserts to try that we wanted to return, but our time in Billings was short. If you get a chance to try their brownies, please comment here and tell me what I missed out on.

Free wi-fi at Grains of MontanaBest of all, there was free wi-fi available. We had looked all over Billings and finding free wi-fi is difficult, to say the least. Grains of Montana announced it loudly with this sign on their door. It had been days since we had partaken of free wi-fi, so it made that little cafe feel like a piece of home.

In the end, the visit to Billings was made better just by visiting Grains of Montana. It’s amazing how healing an egg salad sandwich and free wi-fi can be where neither are easily accessible.


Where:

Grains of Montana Bakery
926 Grand Ave.
Billings, Montana 59102
Phone (406) 259-7142
Fax (406) 259-7152
Email: grainsofmontana@qwest.net

STORE HOURS
Mon. – Fri. 7:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sat. 8:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sun. 8:00 am – 8:00 pm

July 30, 2007

Montana: Greycliff Prairie Dog Town

Filed under: Montana,Places To Visit,Tourist Attractions — Laura Moncur @ 7:50 am
Click here to see the video

Download this video for your iPod

We took a break on the long drive to Billings and stopped at Prairie Dog Town. We were surprised to see that it’s nicely inhabited. The prairie dogs and bunnies were shy, but willing to hold still for many pictures.

I have no idea what they were eating. I was zooming in on them with a 10X zoom, so I wasn’t nearly as close to them as it appears.

I remember Prairie Dog Town being hot and too much walking when I visited it as a child. I remember not even being able to see the prairie dogs because every time I would see one, they would pop back into their holes. Now, I realize it was because I was a noisy kid, who screamed every time she saw one. Now that I’ve learned to be still and quiet, I am able to see the prairie dogs I was never able to see as a child.


For More Information:

Greycliff Prairie Dog Town State Park – Montana FWP

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