So, here we are in Red Lodge-tiny little town with cute stores up and down Main Street. This one caught our eye: Magpie Toys. Tall building with tin ceilings, shelves stacked high with wooden sculptures and objects, old toys, books, half of them not even for sale. Wooden guns, sling shots, rocks, horse shoe puzzles and pedal planes-all here is indeed powered by imagination—not batteries. Then there is the steaming hot cast iron fireplace with an old armchair next to it right there in the middle of it all. Magpie is humble and simple and because of that truly magical.
The owners Joel and Gloria Hardy call themselves “Purveyors of timeless toys, games, books & amusements.” Both used to be teachers at the Sioux reservation near by, and started Magpie in 1991. The store’s motto is: “As Good As You Remember. Better Than You Ever Imagined.” Some of the toys are made by Joel right there in the store. Gloria tells me that he had crafted rocking horses and moose as well, but those where sold out when we got there. Check out the Montana flashlights…and that fantastic stick horse! (Gloria said to call or email her, their web site is down right now…406.446.3099)