We happened to pass through the little town of Ennis due to an unplanned route change leading us down Hwy 287 in central Montana. For those of you who haven’t heard of it (such as ourselves) it’s supposedly known as the fly fishing capital of the world.
We stopped off at the Ennis Cafe as they were advertising ‘World Famous Strawberry Pie’ and we decided this was worth stopping for. They happened of be out of strawberry pie, but we settled for a slice of apple and enjoyed the warmth of the fireplace and friendly atmosphere. We soon learned the story of longstanding cafe… founded by William Ennis (also founder of the town) over 100 years prior. To this day, this is where the locals hang out every morning drinking coffee and eating pie.
Next we stopped in at the trading post across the street just to take a look. The woman there was extremely friendly and we ended up chatting for quite awhile. Her and Jake got to talking about leather tooling and she gave him the name and address of a local leather worker by the name of Wade Miller that had a Saddlery shop behind his house just outside of town. She suggested we pay him a visit.
As we headed out of town, a few other of the 10ish shops in town caught out interest, such as Willy’s Whiskey Distillery and a large antique shop.
We followed the directions across the bridge and left on the gravel road across from the Episcopal church to the house of Wade Miller. Behind the house we found the shop adorned with a bull skull and wooden letters that read Saddle Shop. We entered the small building that was divided into about 3/4 workshop and 1/4 showroom, and efficiently warmed with a wood stove. Wade graciously paused from working to show us around the space and tools. He shared with Jake some techniques, advice and a few ergonomic tips on how to avoid ending up with one shoulder an inch and half larger than the other, such as he now had.
Ennis had initially been a quick stop to stretch our legs, however turned into more than three hours of intriguing conversation and wandering. For such a simple little town, it was full of charm and an easy place to lose track of time.