If you’re looking for a way to “get lost in Montana”, I highly recommend taking the back roads to Virgelle, by way of Geraldine. Four of us recently took that route to the Virgelle Summer Antique Market. Google Maps reported the 161- mile trip from Two Dot to Virgelle would take 4 ½ hours, adding the warning: “This route includes a ferry.” They did NOT warn us that we’d meander over 32 miles of gravel and dirt roads before we reached the ferry crossing. Thankfully, we spotted a few wooden signs with a barely legible “Virgelle Ferry” painted on them. It was enough to keep us going.
Business was brisk at the Missouri River when we arrived. We even had to wait in line. After the five-minute crossing, we drove up the hill toward the historic Virgelle Mercantile and parked in a pasture next to an abandoned grain elevator. People from all over had chosen to “get lost” in Virgelle on that particular Sunday.
Vendors from every corner of Montana had brought their antiques and collectibles to entice us. There were enough farm toys, arrowheads, antlers, furniture, jewelry and glassware to put a dent in everyone’s pocketbook. Most of us left there carrying at least one “treasure”.
I’m not sure what would win the “best-part-of-the-day!” contest but our stop at Square Butte, on the way home, ranked right up there. Square Butte is an unincorporated town that’s located on MT 80-S, halfway between Fort Benton and Stanford. Charlie Russell’s paintings made Square Butte’s scenic surroundings famous. But, it’s current claim to fame is the delicious gourmet food served at the Square Butte Country Club. Their burgers and home-made fries are definitely worth a trip on Montana’s by-ways!