The hubby and I made a quick trip to the state capitol last weekend. He had a couple of meetings to attend and I decided to tag along for a bit of a break from the yurt. The last time we decided to visit Helena Montana we stayed at a bed and breakfast. This time around the hubby made a reservation at a Comfort Suites out by the regional airport. I’ll go into why you should stay there in a bit.
Why Visit Helena Montana
We didn’t have a lot of time to tour around on this trip. Truth be told the hubby was in meetings all day Saturday so I sat in the car and read – two books to be exact. I was very happy about that. I could relax and just enjoy reading. But there are many reasons to visit the state’s capitol. Thanks to Trip Adviser I’m going to share some of the top places to visit to learn about the state’s history:
- Montana State Capitol – the capitol was constructed between 1896 and 1902 after a couple of design contests. The wings were added later in 1909 and 1912. There are self guided and presented tours available. Tour Information
- Original Governor’s Mansion – This beautiful Queen Anne structure built in 1888 was acquired by the state of Montana in 1913 as the first official governor’s mansion. It remained as such until 1959. Currently it is owned by the Montana Historical Society and is open for tours. Tour Information
- Cathedral of St. Helena – Construction began in 1908 and the first mass was celebrated in 1914. It was not fully completed for another 10 years. In 1935 the cathedral suffered some damage from a series of earthquakes but all was fixed by 1938. Virtual Tour
We only went down for one night and we stayed at the Comfort Suites by the Helena Regional Airport. It is a little bit away from most of the attractions but it’s not that far a drive to get downtown – maybe 10 minutes.
The room was very spacious. The bed was huge – it’s been a while since we’ve slept in a king size bed and we forgot how easy it is to get lost in a bed that big! The couch is a fold out so if you are traveling with a family or another couple you can all fit in one room.
The room was absolutely spotless when we checked in. The hotel also offers free wifi, a pool and fitness center. Breakfast is included in the room rate; I can’t eat in the morning as I don’t feel well so the hubby went down alone. He said it was one of the better breakfast buffets he’s seen at a hotel. He had a waffle with eggs and sausage.
I also want to give a shout out to both of the women at the desk when we checked in/out. It was crazy busy both times and each woman handled the guests with a smile. No one was rushed and everyone was treated well.
A Delicious Japanese Dinner
We hadn’t given dinner much thought which turned out to be a mistake. Helena is hopping on Saturday nights. Our first try told us there would be an hour wait so we headed over to our second choice. The only reason Nagoya was our second choice was because the hubby told me it was a hibachi restaurant – which it is, but only on one side. I wasn’t in the mood to sit at the hibachi with a bunch of strangers. When I learned that it also had regular seating I was a happier camper.
We got to the restaurant and were told it was a 15 minute wait. This turned out to be a lie. A very big lie. The wait was more like an hour. I really wish the truth had been told. It rather soured me a bit on what was a really delicious meal.
I opted for what was billed at calamari tempura on the menu which is rather amusing when you think about it. Now it was excellent; perfectly fried and very tender. Calamari can be tricky and frying is always a good test for a restaurant. These were truly perfect. BUT they were not tempura, they were just fried.
The hubby had seaweed salad which was very good. It was well dressed and a generous serving.
For our main course we both had sushi. The rolls came out first. I was obviously in a fried kind of mood because I ordered a shrimp tempura roll. This had tempura. It was also amazing. The shrimp was perfectly fried and the roll came with the same sauce that usually goes on eel sushi. Don’t ask, I have no idea. I also ordered a tuna and avocado roll. It had very high quality ahi with fresh, ripe avocado. The hubby ordered a spicy tuna roll. He said it was very tasty.
The pieces of sushi came out a little while later, the pieces topped by a pretty orchid flower. These were mostly the hubby’s. I had my customary tamago (egg). The egg was just sweet enough and I really enjoyed it. As to the hubby’s choices – salmon, mackerel, tuna, yellowtail – the fish was all very high quality and generously sliced.
And it must be noted that the rice was perfectly cooked. This is not necessarily a given.
Despite the long wait at the outset I would go back to Nagoya for dinner bit I would make a reservation first.
Visit Helena Montana
If you get to this part of the world I heartily suggest you visit Helena Montana. There is so much more to do than the few things I’ve listed here. I am hopeful we will go back, after all it is only a three hour drive for us. And a beautiful drive at that. Perhaps this summer I’ll be able to share ever more of the beauty of the capitol of the state and its environs.