Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dreaming about Burlington: The Harrington's Next Big Thing

It all started mid-November. With a phone call:
A proclamation. A bar for sale. In the Big Horn Basin. Fair price. Just thought you'd like to know.

Google and Mike's own knowledge of the basin soon revealed that Burlington was a town of 300 people, primarily LDS (Latter-Day Saints/Mormon). But owning a bar. Could be worth it.

Mike and Melissa mulled it over, without too much direction. However things progressed and continue to do so, and here is the timeline of important events:
Mid-November 2012: The fateful call from Tom Harrington making the couple aware of the possibility.

Thanksgiving 2012: Offhanded remark to Harland and Brenda that the couple was considering, to some degree this new opportunity but really had no idea. Followed by enthusiasm and support from the Allen's claiming the success of others who had taken on similar opportunities and suggesting pizza as the food to be lovingly prepared and served. 

December 2nd, 2012: A trip to Burlington, Wyoming to enter and view the Burlington Bar, to begin thinking through the true potential and desire. To view Burlington as a potential home, a place to settle and a place to pursue a dream.

December 2012: Research and dreaming. Thinking and talking. Discovering and learning.

December 27th, 2012: The preparation of a proposal to purchase the Burlington Bar in 90 days, after receiving financing.

December 28th, 2012: Offer accepted.

January 2013: Planning and developing. Working on a business plan. Acquiring LLC (limited liability corporation) status. Mastering pizza, dreaming up recipes and names. Requesting help from friends and their expertise of graphic design.

Early February 2013: Polish the business plan, begin conversations with loan officer, health inspector, town of Burlington employees, etc.

Eve of February 19, 2013: Submit business plan to loan representative, wait with fingers-crossed.

Month of March 2013: Waiting. Praying. Pizza-making. Home-brewing. Emails with loan officers, parents, insurance agents, realtors, etc.

Spring Break 2013: Inventory products left at the bar, show it off to friends and family, create bank accounts, choose paint colors, start opening up about future plans.

March 22, 2013: Close on the bar. Keys and business in hand.

Friday, March 22, 2013

An Early Week Snowshoe Outing

Occasionally, it's easy to feel too lazy, too stuck-at-home, too sheltered, too stuck-in-a-basement, too eager to get out and do something!

The Harrington life has been busy with lots of road-trips and the tackling of a few other big projects, leaving the entire family (three-legged member included) anxious to get out of the house!

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And that's exactly what they did on a Monday afternoon. They left work. Loaded up the car. Strapped on some snow-shoes and set out about exploring their favorite state and watching their sweet pup tackle the mounds of snow as if she were born to be buried in snow.

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Chinese New Years and Fat Tuesday: Lots of Celebrations!

February 10th, 2013: Chinese New Year
Celebrated in typical Korean fashion with a bowl of Ddeok-guk.
Celebrated in typical Harrington fashion with a bottle of craft beer.

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February 12th, 2013: Fat Tuesday 
Celebrated in typical American fashion with piles of pancakes and bacon. 
Celebrated in typical Harrington fashion with good friends. 
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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Brew Tour: Bozeman Brewing of Bozeman, Montana

In order to break up the drive from Missoula, MT to Worland, WY, the Harrington duo decided to stop for dinner and a drink in Bozeman -- drinks first, of course.

Since the couple had already stopped at 406 Brewing on the way to Missoula, the logical choice was to stop at Bozeman Brewing on the way back down. It was also obvious that the couple should call up their dear friend, Becca Skinner and catch-up on her wild and beautiful life.
Much to the Harringtons pleasure, considering the positive experiences they'd had around the state, Bozeman Brewing was as incredible as desired. With something along the the Java-Coffee Porter or Stout lines, Melissa felt like she was entering that blissful place between a caffeine buzz and drink buzz. Meanwhile, Mike sipped on a CDA - Black IPA and the duo spent some time being inspired by Ms. Skinner and sharing their own plans for a wild and crazy future.

As the couple pulled across the state-lines they knew that they had just enjoyed some of the country's best brews and were fully inspired for their home-brewing (and other brewing) adventures!

Pizza Tour: Biga Pizza of Missoula, Montana

When you drink as much beer as the Harringtons do, it doesn't take long to get a hankering for a fine pizza pie! Fortunately, Missoula knows how to provide more than just good beer and the Harringtons were fortunate to sink their teeth into some extraordinary wood-fired pizza from Biga Pizza in downtown Missoula.

While beer is the perfect compliment, both Harringtons opted for hard cider at Biga Pizza and split the flavor of their large pie (yeah, yeah, a large for two people may be overkill, but the duo hammered it out!) Half the pie was topped with Sausage and Flathead Cherry chutney while the other side featured Prosciutto and Figs, both of which were truly phenomenal and made taste-buds skip and sing with joy.

A Mid-Winter Vacation: The Send-Off Moments

As Friday rolled around, the Harringtons knew they would soon be saying farewell to Hakcheol who was in route to Seattle before heading back to the home-land. The Harringtons were grateful to be able to 'sneak' Hyunhee out of her classes for the morning and after everyone had managed breakfast, the crew slowly made their way to Big Sky Brewing Company after stopping into a Casino so that Hyunhee could try her luck at the slots.

After sampling some brews, the crew took Hakcheol to the International Airport and sent him on his way before returning to the tasting room to finish off their sampling tour. Being a class day, Hyunhee had some responsibilities to address in terms of a volunteer activity for which Mike and Melissa dropped her off before heading over to Biga Pizza for some pizza that was truly out of this-world. The Harrington duo continued their afternoon with a combination of napping and reading (Mike) and thrifting and shopping (Melissa).

With the coming of evening, the Harringtons and Hyunhee had plans to meet up with Ethan and his girlfriend to enjoy a Vietnamese dinner followed by meandering downtown Missoula for first Friday's. After entering a number of shops and checking out some art displays, the Harrington and crew made their way to a yogurt shop where they were surprised (and thrilled) to run into another HSI student, Laice. A bit of catching up, downing some fine yogurt and capturing a few photos everyone was off on their separate ways for a good nights sleep.
Saturday came and saw the Harringtons and Hyunhee making their way out of town to visit the dear family of good friends Garrett and Alla (still living the life in South Korea).

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Brew Tour: Big Sky Brewing of Missoula, Montana

Perhaps the most famous of Missoula's Brewery's, Big Sky Brewing is home of Moose Drool and one of Melissa's more embarrassing mid-day blunders.

Having hardly sipped her first, free sample of Biere de Noel (fabulous brew!) Melissa thought she'd get all instagram-cutesy and take a photographic shot of the taps...and elbowed her sample glass right to the floor, letting it shatter, spill and break.

Needless to say, the photo never happened and Melissa spent the next five-minutes trying not to make eye-contact with anyone.
The brewery is a large ware-house and more of a tasting room with great gear and apparel and free samples (maxiumum of three...or four?) Between the Harringtons and Kim's samples of Berliner Weisse, All Souls Ale, Bucking Monk Tripel and Moose Drool were all sampled and enjoyed.

Conveniently located near the airport, this stop made for the perfect 'holding area' prior to saying farewell to Hyunhee's husband, Hakcheol.

A Mid-Winter Vacation: Hitting up the Casino's

Since Hyunhee was busy being a student all day everyday - we took to taking Hakcheol out into the great Montana wilds. Of course, this included a trip to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation where the Harringtons and guest learned loads about Rocky Mountain wildlife and the conversational hearts of hunters.

Having enjoyed the tour of the Elk Foundation (which, P.S. if you go, and sign the guest book - they'll send you a hand-written thank you note which is friggin' amazing!) the Harringtons opted out of a suggested trip to a strip club (sorry Garrett) and opted to take Hakcheol to a Montana Casino where he wooed the machine for a brief breath of time and promptly lost any hopes he had had of becoming a millionaire in Montana. As per usual, the Harringtons hardly even entertained the notion of a big win as their dollars were quickly swallowed.

Brew Tour: Kettle Works of Missoula, Montana

Continuing forth with a study of Missoula breweries, the Harrington's took Hyunhee and Hakcheol to Kettle Works where they shared a sampler before ordering a few pints.

True to form, Melissa ordered something dark: The Brick and Mortar Porter. Because of a difficult time distinguishing each beer on the sampler, Mike was not entirely sure what he ended up with and in their weakened ability to drink like American's the Kim's split a Lake Missouola Amber.
The brewery was filled the entire time the Harrington's and Kim's were drinking there, and the group was definitely grateful to have had entered just in time to snag a table. Although the building is quite large, it's obvious their popularity could withstand a few more tables, regardless, the real reason any one goes to a brewery is to enjoy a quality beer, and that dear readers, is exactly what you'll find at Kettle Works.

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Mid-Winter Vacation: On the Road and In the Breweries

While it may seem the Harringtons only made their way to Montana to drink fine beer (such as those from 406 Brewing, or Draught Works, or Tamarack's) the truth is they made the long haul in order to see their dearest Korean friends one of whom was in Montana for a month of study the other of whom, her husband, was in for just a short visit, so the Harrington duo requested a couple of personal days and set out to see these two gems. You may remember the couple from THT events such as visiting Beartree Park, learning to Play Go-Stop at the Farm, watching the kickin' good show Jump, Sleepovers, trips to the DMZ and Final Farewells at the Airport. Needless to say, this is a couple which the Harringtons have many fond memories with and whom they cherish greatly. So, while Montana provides great beer, for a time, the state also housed some great friends.
Having survived some less than perfect driving conditions and a sample of beers at 406 Brewing, the Harrington duo was ready to meet up with the dear Koreans for whom they had made the long, crazy haul. Upon pulling into Missoula, the couple headed to the University campus to pick-up Hyunhee. Having exchanged hugs and words of greeting, the little trio was en route to the airport in order to retrieve Hak-cheol who had spent a lovely day or two exploring San Francisco. 

PhotobucketUpon reuniting with the entire crew, it was off to enjoy some fine American beer, food and of course chatting. The couples first made their way to Draught Works where they shared a double sampler followed by a few pints. As the representatives of good American brews, the Harringtons pushed and prodded the Korean couple to enjoy the fine flavors which can (and should) exist in a pint of beer. Hakcheol came around quickly in terms of enjoying quality libations, while Hyunhee would take a bit longer, always hindered by her inability to get much further than a half-pint. All jokes and teasing aside, the couples raised their glasses to being reunited at last and began plotting the course of the evening, dinner plans and the following days that they would all spend together.

With both Hyunhee and Hakcheol feeling a bit jet-lagged and the Harrington duo fading fast from many hours on the road, the crew decided dinner, followed by sleeping arrangements was to be the order for the evening. They made their way across to town to one of the breweries which also served food, Tamarack's, and set to chowing down, catching up and preparing to find their bed for the night.

As part of a Korean government program to improve English ability, Hyunhee would be staying on the University campus. Fortunately, thanks to expat friends in Korea who otherwise call Missoula home, the Harringtons and Hakcheol had been set up with a local Missoulan and made their way toward his apartment where they showed up too late to meet their host and eagerly made their beds on couches, chairs and floors - all ready for a nice night of sleep and a day of exploring and enjoying Montana to come.


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