Today I am delighted to announce a new series on Beside the Danube – City Slicker. I’m fascinated by urbanism (nerd alert!) and by the ways we interact with our built environment (blame my constant wanderlust!) So I decided that a Q&A with city dwellers near and far might be a fun way to get to know other people and places. One person and their city will be featured every Friday! So without further ado, anchors aweigh and slice the main brace! Introducing Bozeman, Montana…
Our first city slicker is the lovely long-locked Ellie, currently living in Bozeman, Montana. Ellie is a filmmaker who loves hiking, chocolate anything and swimming in the ocean – and once had a face-off with a deer in the middle of the night. She’s also my little sister! Follow along with her snowy adventures on instagram or her blog Pink Mountains.
Q: What brought you to your city?
I’m taking part in a study abroad programme. It was one of the only choices that had space for me this semester and it is also where my boyfriend is studying so it worked out pretty well for us! Montana is located in the northwestern USA, and is the 5th least populated state (just passed a million residents!) Bozeman is in Gallatin County, not too far from Yellowstone National Park.
Q: What’s the best season to visit your city, and why?
As I’ve only lived here for two months, I have only experienced winter: the houses are covered in icicles, the ground in a thick layer of ice, the mountains in the distance are snow-capped and the skies are a beautiful blue, but the temperatures are rarely above -4C and often as low as -20C. There are lots of winter activities like skiing, outdoor ice skating on frozen ponds, ice climbing and sledding as well as lots of cosy coffee shops along Main Street to curl up in with a hot chocolate or a book.
Q: What’s your top recommendation for the hungry traveller?
The Stockyard for a backcountry American living room feel with pancake stacks and over-easy eggs or the Co Op for an organic buffet and fresh smoothies. If you just want a coffee or cake, International Coffee Traders or Wild Joe’s are cosy, friendly little places with room for friends or books if you’re studying. If you need something sweet, then Cold Stone Creamery is the go-to place – I mean they have cookie dough that you can put in your ice cream by the handful…
Q: Where do you like to go to feel inspired?
Outside. Montana is nicknamed ‘Big Sky Country’. The views of the mountains still amaze me every day, as well as the sunsets which last for much longer than in the UK. I was told on my first week here that I’d get used to the sight of huge mountains in every direction but I haven’t yet and I really hope the novelty does not wear off!
Q: Best outdoor space?
For the best sunset views, follow the Galligator trail and climb the steep Peets Hill to admire mountain ranges in every direction as the sun goes down. Runners, dog owners and power walkers will pass you by, each one greeting you as they do. There is even an old wooden warming hut at the bottom with stacks of blankets in, just in case you need to warm up on an evening walk.
Q: Tell us about a place a visitor shouldn’t miss?
I’d recommend a day skiing at Bridger Bowl! Skiing is a huge part of the culture, to spend your day at the mountains and come home for a meal and a beer with friends talking until the early hours. But make sure you pick a day when it is snowing or has done overnight, so it won’t hurt in the (unlikely) event that you fall!
Q: What does your city sound like?
It’s quiet here. Lots of birds chirping and the freight trains in the distance beeping their horns to scare away the animals. When there has just been a snowfall, it is oddly quiet, at least for a city girl like me, as the snow mutes everything. It’s so peaceful.
Q: How would you spend an ideal day in Bozeman?
For me, a perfect day would be spent outdoors on a sunny day, starting with a hike or an amble down Main Street stopping to take a look in the antique stores, to peruse some titles in the county bookstore. A sunset cycle to Peets Hill would round out the daylight hours and the day would end with a dinner party and bonfire with friends, sharing stories and laughing until the early hours.
Q: What makes Bozeman unique?
It’s a city but the vibe is that of a small town, locking your front door is uncommon and everyone knows everyone. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, I think it makes it more exciting and undiscovered as an area. It’s small without being too claustrophobic (mountains have that effect) and the nearest big city is a 10-hour drive away (!!) I love it!
Q: Describe your city in three words.
Eclectic, outdoorsy, peaceful.
Thanks Ellie! Aren’t those mountains gorgeous? Feeling inspired and interested in taking part in City Slicker? All and sundry are welcome regardless of whether you’re a blogger, a writer, a photographer or none of the above. I’d love to feature you! Shoot me an email at [email protected] to register your interest. Thanks so much for reading!