Monday, June 21, 2010

Realm Romping: Missoula, MT!

Traveling through Montana the wet road is a silver path weaving secretly through the valley shortcuts between rolling mountains. The sky is expansive as the state's namesake hints - Big Sky Country - while tree studded hillsides brush the clouds like a vast pine-comb.

As the path rushed under her carriage wheels, Amethina found herself soon enough at her destination of Missoula for the weekend of MisCon. After the convention was over though...that's when the real Realm Romp of Missoula began!!

The first magically delicious place that some frisky pixies said Amethina just had to visit was the Big Dipper Ice Cream, which of course she did. There were some of the most unique flavours! Black Licorice (which turned your mouth grey like a zombie by the time you were finished), Green Tea, Irish Whiskey Sorbet, anyone? It was so good she went back twice!

Following the directions from the Ice-cream Guy, Amethina set off toward downtown. By complete happenstance her route passed by the strangest house (which is of course how finding magical places works). The yard was decorated with and enormous barbell and a menagerie of welded animals. They roamed the grass and pecked at the bushes so she stopped to get some pictures of the metallic zoo.

Venturing down toward the riverfront walkway there was an awesome carousel. Donated to the city on the condition that the residents would never disassemble it, this carousel stood out! The story behind this treasure is filled with inspiration.

As riders donned their steeds and whirred around, they could reach for a ring protruding from a dragon's mouth which overhung the edge of the merry-go-round. The last ring in the dragon's mouth was made of brass, and he or she who nabbed the Brass Ring won a prize!

In the back room behind the gift shop was a woodworking shop. This is the place where the ponies were hand-carved and painted for the carousel.

The nice girl at the counter let Amethina poke her nose back there and take a picture or two and on the way out, she got some wood chips from a carousel pony in the making (what an awesome ingredient for a magic spell ;)

Rounding the Carousel House, Amethina was happily surprised to discover Dragon Hollow. The whole weekend seemed to center around Dragons, and a small horde of them would be following her home eventually, so the coincidence was just perfect for being led to this park.

The construct was built like a giant Dragon Castle and there was no end of fun running over the bridges, playing Rapunzel in the towers and peering through the grating into the dungeon below.

Nearby was a music making factory for littler spritelings where they could bang on over-sized versions of xylophones and drums. Amethina ran around making silly faces with some of the local elflings who were having a fun playing.

Eventually it was time to go, though so Amethina marked The Carousel, Big Dipper Ice Cream and Dragon Hollow on her map of the Magical Realm as places worth visiting should one find themselves out and about.

Curled at the edge of the Dragon Castle was a grey cat, sleeping peacefully, so Amethina curled up with it and crossed into Dreamland where she took a short-cut to the next magical place on her Realm Map: All's Faire!

View Realm Romper in a larger map

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