By ERIN TURNER
Today, I was presented with this thought: “You are what you love. So, what do you love?”
Hmm, I love a lot of things, but this question was begging for a deeper analysis of the things I cherish in my life. In addition to family, faith, friends, and nature, living in Missoula ranked high among my list of my cherished loves. I thought this was perfect blog fodder for Valentine’s Day.
So, in honor of the day of love coming up on Tuesday, here is a small list of the things I love about Missoula. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments!
1. The History of Missoula. I love hearing and learning about the “Old Missoula.” We live in Orchard Homes and there is such a great agricultural history out here. But I love going downtown and looking at all the old buildings and trying to imagine them in their heyday. I am grateful to all those who have preserved the history of this great town! My husband and I also love driving around and trying to remember where certain businesses were located when we were kids. Our latest trivia test: What was the original business in the current Les Schwab building on Highway 93 near the mall?
2. Diversity. I love the variety of different neighborhoods Missoula has to offer. Obviously, I love Orchard Homes/Target Range where we get a little touch of country living without having to be miles from town. I also love the traditional, old-style neighborhoods of the Franklin area, the University area, and the Northside. Yet, the beauty of Miller Creek, Pattee Canyon, Rattlesnake, and Grant Creek are all alluring too. It seems Missoula has a place for everyone’s desires, whether it is in an apartment downtown, a condo out on Mullan, a couple of acres in Target Range, or a log cabin up Grant Creek!
3. Schools. Missoula is blessed with incredible academic institutions. Whether public or private, Missoula’s school system is by far one of the best in the state. Our boys attend Hawthorne and CS Porter schools, and we are constantly in awe of the compassionate, motivated, and inspiring teachers this district employs. And then there is the awesome higher education of the University of Montana and its technical schools as well. I love Missoula’s access to quality education for all levels!
4. Community Support. Forget that we are in an economic recession…this community pulls together and supports its causes regardless! If someone is in need, Missoulians are the first ones to step up and support. I have had friends diagnosed with cancer who have had incredible benefit fundraisers and the community has pulled together to make sure they have been taken care of. This last spring, our neighborhood flooded – not only from the rivers but from an outpouring of community volunteers who brought food and water, filled sandbags, and gave hugs to perfect strangers as they watched their houses fill with water. Missoula’s love for its community members is breathtaking.
5. Local Food. I love how passionate Missoula is about their local food! It is evident in the growing numbers of local farmers’ markets. We have the two downtown markets, but Orchard Homes and Target Range also host local weekly markets. More and more, local food is popping up at the grocery stores and at many restaurants. As small farm owners, my husband and I feel so supported by this community in our efforts to provide healthy, local food. I also love how supportive and passionate the community is about protecting the vital agricultural lands which have been rapidly vanishing in Missoula. Missoula loves its food and I love that!
6. Recreation and the Arts. I think this is one of the reasons Missoula is so popular. Where else can you go from the ski slopes to a Broadway show in a matter of 30 minutes? Missoula offers an array of outdoor activities yet blends these with a wide variety of the arts. I love being so close to the mountains, rivers, and forests! I also love that Missoula is so filled with many talented performers—dancers, singers, actors, artists, and musicians. It’s a perfect harmony in a beautiful environment!
7. Shopping. Now, c’mon…did you really think the Missoula Coupon Queen could write an entire blog without mentioning shopping? Nope! But you have to agree that Missoula has a great selection of shopping – everything from all-local, thrift shops to big box stores and everything else in between. You can shop great local stores downtown or hit the mall or head out North Reserve. I love the all the choices I have for groceries, clothing, home, and garden. I also love how many of the stores offer coupons and are so willing to help you earn discounts. Missoula is a coupon-friendly town and for that I love it!
I could go on with a super long list of Missoula loves—things like how jeans are acceptable any place and any time, or Missoula’s commitment to health and activity, but I’ll stop at the above Super Seven. You get the idea!
I love Missoula. I was born and raised here. Missoula is in my blood and it is a part of who I have become. I am a Missoulian! So, I guess it is true…you ARE what you love!
Erin’s got tons of tips for saving money, couponing, and sticking to a budget in her previous posts: Save Money and Do It Yourself with Pinterest, Learn How to Save with a Couponing Class, and The Frugal Living Pantry Challenge. Be sure to check out the Missoula Save it Club.
Erin Eisenman-Turner is proud to be a native Missoulian. Along with her husband and three sons, they raise chickens, pigs, rabbits, and vegetables at Turner Family Farms in the Orchard Homes area. When the farm chores are done, the coupons clipped, and the blog written, you can find Erin exploring Montana, collecting antiques, and trying to maintain a well-run, happy, and organized home for her family.