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Old 08-06-2011, 02:35 PM
 
3 posts, read 7,770 times
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Hello all -

I currently live in Lewistown and am researching Helena as a possible place to relocate next spring. I've heard great things about Helena, there are job possibilities in my field in Helena, and so I wanted to start getting a feel now for what it's like to live there.

I've already got the basic info on rent, salaries, etc. - I've lived in MT for 2 years now and while there are variances, I think I've got a feel for the cost of living statewide.

My question is about culture in Helena. I am a professional 40-something female. I'm into classical music, art, theatre....what are the dating prospects for my age group? What types of activities? Nightlife? Shopping?

Is it hard to find a social circle to relate to? Being in Lewistown 2 years it's been pretty hard to break in. Unless you are connected to school activities (my daughter is already grown and gone) or go to church - social opportunities here are pretty limited. There just isn't much to do beside go to a movie, go drinking, hunt, or go to church. (Not being critical - I just need a little more and different types of stimulation!)

Let me know your thoughts on Helena!

Thanks,
M.
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Old 08-06-2011, 05:21 PM
 
Location: Bozeman, Montana
1,191 posts, read 2,572,842 times
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Check out the Myrna Loy
The Myrna Loy Center for the Performing and Media Arts

Also, see the listings of events, gallery openings, etc. in the Lively Times section on Helena
Lively Times | Montana Arts and Entertainment Calendar, a complete statewide searchable database of music, concerts, events, theater, dance, recreation and art exhibits

The Archie Bray Foundation is a world renowned center for ceramic arts in Helena
Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts

If you are interested in traditional Irish music there is a session you can go listen to at Riley's Pub on Thursday evenings.

Hope this helps.

H.I.
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Old 08-06-2011, 08:49 PM
 
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I can't see Helena as being any worse than Lewistown for social activities. Just join a gym.
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Old 08-06-2011, 08:55 PM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
11,856 posts, read 15,505,617 times
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I would trade places with you in a heartbeat. I love Lewistown.
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:20 AM
 
3 posts, read 7,770 times
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Thanks for the resources!

Lewistown is ok - although I find the cost of living here NOT in line with what's offered. The streets are not taken care of, there don't seem to be any codes regarding garbage in yards, so every other house looks like you're visiting the junk yard - if I've got to pay $8.00 for a bottle of Jergens lotion then the town better offer up something to make that sort of nonsense worthwhile.

I was researching the cost of living in Alaska and found something that said you can feed a family of four on about $120 a week. I'm a family of one, and eat pretty conservatively, and I pay about $75 per week for the bare bones basics. Something's wrong with that.

Restaurants and bars - that's really all that's here for fun. And it's just a little small for me. Going to the local gym means running into everybody you know and see everywhere else. Helena offers a little more anonymity.

Also - everything closes around 5:00 or 5:30 - just when you're getting off work. And no coffee shops Saturday night or Sunday at all! Those are the days I want to go hang out with friends, chat, read the paper....whatever.

Kinda funky here.

On the other hand Central Montana is gorgeous. There isn't a day I don't walk outside and thank God I ended up here. It's just stunning.

Anyway - this is probably a lot more info than you wanted but now you know where I'm coming from (literally!)

Thanks again -
M.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Bozeman, Montana
1,191 posts, read 2,572,842 times
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Have you considered Bozeman? See the thread on moving from Australia to Bozeman where I posted a lot of links about the community, culture, etc. I grew up in Helena. I prefer the fertile soil, the trees, views, easier to grow a garden, and sunsets in Bozeman. There is just a bit more humidity here, so the landscape around Bozeman compared to Helena is more filled with foliage and flowers. When my mother was alive, she used to envy the giant fern that I grew in my home in Bozeman, as it was so dry in Helena, she could not keep one alive.

Anyway, just throwing out another idea for a more socially active and cultural place.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
11,856 posts, read 15,505,617 times
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I'm married with kids and Helena is pretty nice for a family. We do a lot of outdoor stuff, like camp, boat, scouting.. We live on the north end of town, on a little acreage, close enough to groceries and work but far enough not to hear the town. So we like it.

My co-worker is single and mid-life, very active mountain biker, has a nice place in town and he's always into something. There are bands that play, he frequents Blackfoot brewery for social hour, goes to a lot of parties- he stays busy. Most of the middle aged folks I meet at Blackfoot and other places downtown seem very, very active and pretty nice. Very laid back, good conversations- just a nice atmosphere.

As far as theaters and that type of thing- I have no clue as to what goes on here. Last play I went to was at Wolf Trap in VA and saw Camelot with Peter O'Toole. It was so good I figured I better not take a chance on seeing anything else, lol. I stick to the school plays and Boy Scout skits around the campfires .

We really like Helena. As far as I'm concerned there's enough to do in-town and out of doors that you really, really have to work hard at being bored. Missoula and Bozeman are certainly nice too, and they have a uniqueness all to themselves which will appeal to different sorts. Something for everyone I guess. Same with Helena. It seems to fit us well. We came from West Virginia so we were not all that accustomed to urban lifestyles. I think that's another reason we like Helena (and Montana) so much. Quiet living is what were used to. (Another reason I like Lewistown).
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:52 AM
 
Location: Bozeman, Montana
1,191 posts, read 2,572,842 times
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When I was in high school in Helena, before "Model Cities" tore down most of historic Last Chance Gulch, there was an old brewery building up at the end of the gulch turned into a theater. The couple who owned it were able to cultivate quite an active theater company. The wife in that couple, Mrs. Marshall, was the theater teacher in the high school. Each legislature, a large musical involving the symphony, the high school chorus and the theater department, complete with costumes rented from New York and amazing sets, would be seen by the legislature and governor, as well as the community audience. Mrs. Marshall was quite a force to be reckoned with.

The musical would be staged in the Civic Center. When I was in high school, I was in the Mikado (perfect script to be seen by a legislature!) and I'll never forget it.

Helena was really adversely affected by the destruction of the historic part of much of Last Chance Gulch.

Anyway, it's a great town with lots going on in it. I'm sure you would find a lot to enjoy there.
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Old 08-07-2011, 11:56 AM
 
Location: Bozeman, Montana
1,191 posts, read 2,572,842 times
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What I just wrote about the old Brewery Theater in Helena brought back memories for me, so I googled and found a site called "Helena As She Was". It's very sad that so much of Helena was deliberately destroyed instead of preserved.

On that site, there is a page about the Brewery Theater and even a photo of the Marshalls.
Old Brewery Theater, summer stock from 1954-1972
Old_Bewery_Theatre

H.I.
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Old 08-08-2011, 12:37 PM
 
3 posts, read 7,770 times
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Thank you for all the good information. Helena sounds about my speed. Of course all this is predicated on my success in job hunting, but doesn't hurt to plan ahead.

Bozeman I've heard is very pricey (as college towns are) and bigger and more like being back in the big city - something I don't want to go back to. I won't be opposed to it if Helena doesn't work out - after all, I need a plan B.

Anytime history is destroyed I think we make a big mistake - out here in the west the trend is not toward preservation and that's a big cultural loss in my opinion. One thing about back east is they do tend to preserve old buildings and there is a lot more living history for folks to see and be close to. Sorry to hear that about Helena, as it was my understanding there was quite a bit of history there. I hope there is plenty yet.

Thanks again for the input and resources!
M.
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