“I’m sorry, we’re already out today!” she yelled from the back kitchen at only 10 am. Despite consisting of just a short main drag with an unfamiliar name, Sheridan, Montana and the surrounding small towns are teeming with life the second the nice weather hits, and the Bread Zeppelin was no exception. A quaint and itty bitty little spot right next to the Ruby Valley Brewery. the small cafe has a little bit of everything. Made from scratch with delicious local ingredients, anything from bakery goods to chorizo tacos are found here.
“The asparagus guy is here!” I hear another yell from the back. Apparently, the greens for the cream of asparagus soup special had been picked fresh the day before by a local down the road. He walked away with a big tub and a smile.
A peek out the window showed off some black metal tables with umbrellas and chairs, flowers in the windowsill, and people chatting away. Cars lined the streets, bikers were pulling in and out, and groups of 2 to 3 people wandered around peering into the windows. Somehow the tiny town was a tourist stop, though no one is really sure why. A guess would be the traffic from Bozeman and West Yellowstone heading to or from, but the Heart of the Ruby Valley is hardly well-known other than that. The area though is something of beauty and worth a visit.
An Unimagined Spot on the Montana Tourist Map
If heading out from Bozeman, a short drive towards and through Ennis will take travelers on a journey past multiple small towns, fields of ranches, historic ghost towns, shady tree-lined streets, and up and over scrubby sage bushes. Anyone into artwork would immediately recognize the old west depictions sprawling along as they drive by. But it isn’t necessarily the scenery though, or the outdoor adventures, that keep people stopping by, the locals are some of the friendliest around, and will definitely make your stay worth it.
The Bread Zeppelin is only one of the many friendly cafes that can’t keep enough goods on the shelves though. Right next door is the tiny Ruby Valley Brewery with its horse head logo and always filled stools of friendly faces. Virginia and Nevada City rest along this route as well, a must-see for those into history and events. Heading back from Sheridan, it's only a ten-minute drive down to the little town of Alder where you'll run into another local and tourist favorite, Chick’s Bar and Grill. Almost passable if you blink, the parking lot here is full at all hours and days of the weeks with anglers traveling through for a quick chat about the fishing conditions and motel guests stopping by for the night. A pass-through in the evening will reward you with an amazing prime rib dinner and a drink with the local ranch hands, finally getting some time off for the day. No question is too stupid when asking for local advice, although they’ll look at you funny if you ask about camping spots. Acting like maybe you just went blind, they’ll take a quick glance towards the backyard. We're just pointing out the most obvious points now though, truly, a day is recommended to discover these cute little Montana locations.
The Local Vibes of the Real Montana West
This is the Montana feel that few who come here experience or maybe get. It’s the neighborly goodwill and family friendliness that keeps giving these small spots great reviews and has them continuously popping up on the map. Most grew up here or are transplants from long ago that fell in love with the distant mountains. Each and every one embraces that small-town vibe and quality of life. Anyone can embrace and accept it too, no matter their job or eccentricities. If you haven’t been on a horse or made a fire, they’ll teach you, if you’re lost, broken down, or otherwise in a tight spot, they’d all stop to ask if you needed a lift.
If a slowdown in your lifestyle is what the doctor ordered, a trip through the Ruby Valley is exactly the prescription.