Top Five Destinations of Billings
How many events do you know that you know the name, but don’t know anything else about it? If I start broad with something like The Civil War or World War II, I’m sure you and I can both point to Gettysburg, Antietam, Sherman’s March to Atlanta or Pearl Harbor, D-Day, the liberation of concentration camps and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, there are many details between those events and significant details within each event all the way down to the individuals in platoons and their leaders.
I’ve been to Pearl Harbor and seen how the oil still bubbles up from the sunken USS Arizona that serves as a mass grave. I’ve read about the people that created Fat Man and Little Boy. I’ve watched documentaries about the suffering in concentration camps and read “The Diary of a Young Girl” to feel that pain of loss more acutely. I’ve walked in the shadow of the rolling hills of Antietam. I have an idea of what happened at these places, but that’s barely scratching the surface of each individual’s moments around those times which could easily be lost in the waves of death that surround war.
I write all of this to lead up to exploring Billings, Montana with the following five possible destinations, and first is a big event within the wars of western expansion associated with one man in many minds.
On June 25, 1876, Lt. Col. George Custer attacked an Indian encampment near the Little Bighorn River and every soldier serving in one of the five companies that Custer commanded died, though other U.S. Army soldiers in other companies survived. Today, you can go to Custer Battlefield Museum about an hour from Billings, and the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument to get more details about something that about which I truly know little and want to know more.
Of course after something that heavy like battles and the forced migration of Native Americans, stepping back to just enjoy nature will seem like a good plan. Head over to Zimmerman Park, do a little bouldering and maybe wait and sit high on The Rimrocks and watch the sunset.
On June 1st, the Western Heritage Center hosts a fundraiser that includes drinking, dancing and dressing up in stylish fashions. It sounds like a great time, but if you can’t make it to the party, just go for exhibits on the Apsaalooke Nation or the impact of the railroad.
To get back to exploring history and nature, go for a hike at Pictograph Cave State Park. If you bring binoculars, not only can you bring your eyes closer to the pictographs, but also you might be able to do a bit of bird watching.
After all that activity, I’m sure I’ll need a nice meal. Maybe that means every night I’ll go to Walker’s American Grill and Tapas Bar to try something different. First night, I’ll eat the Lemon Salted Sea Scallops. Then, the next night I’ll feast on Buffalo Osso Buco and I’m sure I can go for a few more nights with small and medium plates. I’ll probably fill my gut to the brim with the apple crisp every night though.
Any suggestions for things that I missed? Any additional recommendations for the area? Just let me know in the comments.
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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."