My wife and I stayed in one of the cabins for our anniversary and loved the tranquility and beauty of the surrounding area. The Missouri River offered a quiet backdrop for exploration and the hospitality of the Mercantile staff just cannot be beaten.
Virgelle Mercantile is Featured in the Following Trip
Odds are, if you’re in Fort Benton, you’re here to canoe the Wild and Scenic stretch of the Missouri River, following in the oar-strokes of Lewis ...
Why You Should Visit
This is one of the most relaxing stays I've ever had and one of my favorite Montana adventures ever! Don, the owner is an amazing host, the food is delicious, the beds are comfortable and the old Merc building is a treasure. This IS getting lost in Montana. Down a dirt road is this relaxing, wonderful place that everyone should get the chance to visit. Stay here, you won't regret it...and you'll love the breakfast sausage patties!
Imagine driving miles and miles of unbroken prairie beauty, and then, out of nowhere, a little old building crops up, just as the map says you’re approaching the banks of the wild and scenic part of the Missouri. That’s what it was like to find the Virgelle Merc, which turned out to be a quaint little building with essentials and antiques on the first floor and bed and breakfast rooms on the upper story. Don, the owner, greeted us as if the town had no residents (it doesn’t); he makes a mean breakfast, too. They have little homestead cabins, very vintage and simple and each with its own front porch and woodstove, then one sheepherder wagon that you can sleep in…but all with fluffy towels, which to me is key!
The whole place is done up in real antiques, right down to the china plates. You can shop for some to take home while you’re there. This is a remote place of beauty and hospitality, we are so lucky to have found it and will definitely be back as part of a float!
I’m not the most outdoorsy person so this was a big adventure for me! I did it as a father’s day present to my dad, who has been talking about trying this float for years. I think now he’s going to talk about actually going for years, which is a nice change. ☺ The canoe outfitters are hilarious, they talk about how this special canoe is made from whatever materials so it can travel at the speed of light…I don’t know if it matters but Dad seemed to like teching out over the fiberglass and carbon fiber and all. I’m just glad the guides take charge of all the particulars, I don’t think I could have pulled off the trip if I had to do all the food and everything. There are no stores or anything out there, obviously so you have to be PREPARED with every last detail.
So, once we were ready we took off…the weather was almost too good! I was hoping my shower would last me a few days but I was in the river cooling off on day one…hot and sunny. It’s muddy, but refreshing. Even not being super outdoorsy this trip was pretty relaxing, I fell into the swing of things pretty well and I could tell Dad appreciated the emptiness, scenery and the geology, as well as the fishing. It’s not a thrill a minute, rapids kind of float…just peacefully rolling through history, scenery, and forgotten America. My favorite spots were the climb to Hole in the Wall, and seeing the stars camping. Incredible. More stars there than anywhere. And I’m glad I got to do this with my Dad. When we came home we were sunburned, happy, smiling…and Mom thought we were crazy.
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came along, a buddy planned this trip, his wife fell through, and he already had everything ready to go, he invited me, to make it a buddy fishing trip. Man did she miss out. I love to fish but I haven’t been in a canoe since boy scouts. We planned to spend 7 days in one. I really didn’t know what to expect… not the power of the remoteness, or the sheer wow factor of the cliffs and stone formations. We saw some of the best sunsets of my life, eagles, deer and shared the river with amazing people. There is something about being in that much desolation. Things really haven’t changed since Lewis and Clark floated it, we even checked out some of the original homesteads. I thought maybe I would get bored just floating and paddling, but by the sixth day, it was just a relaxing, serene routine. Although that first shower back was sooooo good. This is what life is for. Living. Floating. Taking in the natural beauty and a slower pace of life. Now I’m trying to convince MY wife to go…
Virgelle Mercantile on the Missouri River offers lodging in it's B&B lodging in a 1912 National Register Mercantile and Homesteader Cabin Lodging in Original Restored Cabins. Ideal for quite retreats, family reunions and weddings. Multi-night rates available. 1.9 Miles from Coal Banks Landing.