So often we don’t take advantage of all there is in our backyard. People live in NYC and never go to the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, or the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The same can be said for so many people wherever they live big city or rural America.
One of the things we try to, in each place we lived across the US, is play tourist regularly. For us, this means to do only the things that people from out-of-state would do and see. To go to those things that locals would consider hokey, to commercial or to packed with out-of-staters. To give ourselves a chance to look at our home as others see it. It allows us to take lots of mini-vacations and not break the bank. Often they are daytrips.
We have done many things locals and Montana natives have never done. We have been to Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks. We have gone to many ghost towns and can tell you which are best to see and which may be better skipped. We have hiked on the Continental Divide Trail in various areas and can tell you which areas are “better.” We have stayed in Forest Service rental cabins (old guard stations) and can tell you which are better for facilities and which are better for stargazing . We have taken in local symphonies, concerts, theater shows and art galleries. We have gone to living museums, historical sites, toured caves, dug crystals and panned for gold. We have taken walking tours and road tours. We have seen so much but there is so much more to see.
These experiences give us a greater appreciation for where we live, but it also makes us good tour guides when we have family who comes to visit. This year is looking to stack up with lots of visitors for us and we are well equipped to show off the best our state has to offer.