Category Archives: Holidays

Spread the Magic of the Season with Montana-Made Gifts

Here in Western Montana’s Glacier Country, we treasure each season for its unique offerings, and we don’t like to rush things—a Montana trait, for sure. So although we’re still savoring the smell of pumpkin spice and hot apple cider, we know the holidays are right around the corner. And with the season—no matter what holidays you celebrate—comes gift giving, which is one of our favorite things. The many gift options Glacier Country has to offer has us especially enthusiastic this year.

The Christmas spirit is bright and merry in Montana. Photo: TheBobFactor

Monthly Subscription Box

Here’s an option for those of us who want to give an ongoing taste of Montana to our loved ones. The Last Best Box offers a monthly subscription box chock-full of Montana goodies, many of them from Glacier Country. November’s “Fall in Montana” box featured Moxie Nosh’s Pumpkin Spice Cashew Butter (YUM!) and The Montana Homestead Emporium’s spiced pumpkin soy candles.

The “Montana Camping Box” is an amazing gift to give. Photo: Last Best Box

Bath and Body

Any holiday gift list isn’t complete without treats from Sage & Cedar, a bath and body shop with its own line of pure, natural and organic products. Just walking through the doors at either of Sage & Cedar’s two locations is relaxing. Online and gift options include products for men, mamas and babies, custom scents, and more. The anti-stress Coconut Milk & Honey Bath Salts come in scents like Glacier Spring, High Mountain Sagebrush and Montana Morning. For the fella who appreciates a Montana-made pampering, try the Shea Butter & Aloe Vera Brushless Shave Cream paired with the Vitamin E & Shea Nourishing Aftershave Lotion with cedarwood essential oil.

So many different and amazing choices, we can’t choose!

Leather

Wallets, clutches, saddle bags, totes, you name it…Western Montana is known for its leather, and we’re lucky enough to have some fantastic artists, craftsmen, craftswomen and leather smiths in the area. Functional, beautiful and oh-so-hip, we’ve found T Bird leather products to be the one accessary people consistently ask about. Goertzen Adventure Equipment makes fantastic gender-neutral messenger bags, fly-fishing accessory bags and versatile, must-have totes. And Pinch Flat Manufacturing makes fabulous and quintessentially western wallets, bi-folds, glasses cases and purses. You’ll have a difficult time picking just one.

These purses from Pinch Flat Manufacturing are swoon-worthy. Photo: Great Gray Gifts

Jewelry

Montana-made jewelry is a gift favorite for any occasion, but particularly for the holidays. Made of Mountains jewelry offers fun and casual Montana-shaped necklaces, earrings and bracelets, or for a daintier version, The Montana Way makes a sterling silver Montana with a heart over Glacier Country. Another favorite is Rag and Stone, featuring big, bold pieces incorporating stones found in the area, and because of the nature of the medium, all of the products are one-of-a-kind.

Our favorite pair of earrings from Rag and Stone. Photo: Great Gray Gifts

Candles

Capturing the essence of Montana, Wandering Bison’s hand-poured soy candles have clever scent names like “Peak Bagger,” “Alpen Glow” and “Trail Head.” Campfire and Whiskey? Pine and Lavender? Aged Leather? They’ve really got Montana figured out. We’re also big fans of Montana Homestead’s soy candles, with scents like Flathead Lake Cherry Blossom, Mountain Meadow and Lake House. They’re all made on-site, one at a time right here in Glacier Country.

So many delicious smells to choose from, but we are in love with “Trailhead”. Photo: Wandering Bison

Glacier Country Stores and Shops

Western Montana is a veritable treasure trove of fun finds for everyone on your holiday list. Here are just a few of our favorite shops: Great Gray Gifts in Charlo, Sage & Cedar in Whitefish and Kalispell, Think Local in Kalispell, Firefly in Missoula, The Montana Scene in Whitefish, Kalispell, Bigfork, Bozeman and Missoula, The Toggery in Whitefish and Kalispell and the Bitterroot Bit & Spur in Hamilton.

Happy Gifting!

15 Holiday Events in Western Montana: A Big Sky Country Christmas

We always talk about how much we love winter, and it’s the truth. It’s also true that we love the festive holiday frolic the season brings. In Western Montana’s Glacier Country, we really know how to deck the halls and celebrate the season of giving with all things merry and bright.

So without further ado, here’s a look at Western Montana’s must-see happenings this holiday season.

Deck the halls! Whitefish, Montana showing off its western holiday spirit. Photo: Brian Schott.

Santa at Missoula’s Southgate Mall + Holiday Performances
Capture the magic of the season at Southgate Mall, the region’s largest shopping center, with a Santa visit and photos, as well as a gingerbread house contest display and holiday performances. For a complete rundown of holiday happenings at the mall, visit shopsouthgate.com. New this year: Holiday Hustle for Him on Wednesday, December 20 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Christmas at Kalispell’s Conrad Mansion Museum
November 24 – December 31
The home of one of Kalispell’s founders, Charles Conrad, gets completely decked out in seasonal splendor, and the mansion offers tours Fridays and Saturdays during the holiday season at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m

Old-Fashioned Forest Service Christmas at the National Museum of Forest Service History, Missoula
November 25, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Join Santa Claus and his pack mule team, plus Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl, for Christmas stories and songs around the campfire, a candy cane hunt, holiday shopping at the Bungalow Ranger Station, plus Bill Moore’s book, “The Lochsa Story,” his documentary, “Bud’s Place,” and a book signing with author Vicky MacLean.

Carriage Rides in Downtown Missoula
Saturdays and Sundays November 25 – December 17, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Take a break from the holiday hustle for a festive horse-drawn carriage ride in downtown Missoula. The Resort at Paws Up brings two of their beloved horses to town for free carriage rides. Make your way to Missoula’s East Pine Street and hop in.

Enjoy a festive carriage ride through downtown Missoula. Photo: Taylar Robbins

Polson Parade of Lights
December 1, 6 p.m.
Get festive in the Flathead Valley and celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season with Santa, a bonfire, food vendors and a parade. Downtown Polson shops stay open late so you can start checking names off your gift list.

Lantern Tours at the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula
December 1 – 3, 5:30 p.m.- 7:00 p.m.
The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula offers guided lantern tours providing a look into past winters (complete with plenty of Christmas moments) and ends with cocoa and cookies. Book early! Call 406.728.3476 (extension 1) to purchase tickets.

Whitefish Christmas Stroll
December 8, 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
The quintessential mountain resort town of Whitefish decks its halls and kicks off the holiday season with a downtown Christmas Stroll featuring concerts, a tree-lighting ceremony, Santa, and wagon rides from Bar W Guest Ranch.

A Christmas carol before your eyes—chestnuts roasting on an open fire in Whitefish, Montana  Photo: Peter Siudara

Christmas Light Trolley Tours in Kalispell
December 8 – 31
Hop aboard a cozy trolley and set out to view the holiday lights in Kalispell with Montana Trolley Co. Click here for specific times and additional info.

Christmas in Bigfork
Located on the bay of Flathead Lake, the quaint (and beyond adorable) community of Bigfork goes all out for Christmas. Two days to note: Saturday, December 9 and Saturday, December 16. On those days, Santa comes to Bigfork, along with carolers and free live music dowtown, and the Bigfork Playhouse Children’s Theatre presents “White Christmas.”

Not many places celebrate Christmas quite like Bigfork, Montana. Photo: Bigfork Chamber of Commerce

Dolce Canto’s Light, Beauty, Peace at the Historic St. Ignatius Mission
December 10, 7 p.m.
One of the most beautiful churches in the state, the St. Ignatius Mission hosts Missoula’s a cappella (though sometimes accompanied) choir, Dolce Canto, for a holiday concert encouraging listeners to meditate on the notion of hope this holiday season.

Handel’s Messiah with Glacier Symphony + Chorale
December 15 – 17, 7:30 p.m.
A popular holiday tradition, the Glacier Symphony and Chorale performs Handel’s Messiah in Bigfork, Whitefish and Kalispell.

The Nutcracker in Missoula
December 15 – 17
A beloved holiday tradition, Montana’s Garden City Ballet performs “The Nutcracker.” Check specific times here for this treasured Missoula community event.

The grace and tradition of Missoula’s Nutcracker performance will be the highlight of your holiday season. Photo Neil Chaput de Saintonge

Community Christmas Party
December 16, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Hamilton’s historic Daly Mansion hosts a Community Christmas Party complete with a visit from Santa and activities for the whole family.

Yuletide Affair 14 at Alpine Theatre Project
December 21-23, 7 p.m.
This sellout show stages once again at the Whitefish Performing Arts Center with a mix of holiday music, Broadway-caliber performances and hilarious satire. You can snag tickets here.

Whitefish’s Yuletide Affair is the perfect combination of comedy and winter cheer. Photo: Brenda Ahearn

Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade at Whitefish Mountain Resort
December 24
A Christmas Eve tradition, Santa visits the slopes of Whitefish Mountain Resort, leads a torchlight parade on snow-covered Big Mountain, and gives out gifts at Ed & Mully’s after the parade (so hopefully you’ve been good this year).

You can also check out a full listing of holiday events at glaciermt.com/events.php.

May your days be merry and bright! (If you’re in Montana, all of your Christmases will probably be white, too. We just can’t help ourselves.)

 

 

 

Fall Family Fun: Montana’s Harvest Traditions + Halloween Happenings

Pumpkin patch in Missoula. PHOTO: Destination Missoula

Western Montana’s golden fall foliage set against our signature big blue sky is enough to make autumn a lovely time to visit Glacier Country. Add to that our strong heritage of local harvest traditions and Halloween happenings, and the season becomes downright fun. Family activities abound this time of year, and we’re here to give you an insider’s guide to some of our best—and spookiest—festivities. So grab that pumpkin spice latte you’ve been waiting all year for (and perhaps a handful of candy corn) and give in to your craving for all things autumn. Oh, and don’t forget your costume.

Family Fall Fest: Missoula

October 21, 2017, 1 – 4 p.m.

Fall frolic happens at the Fort. Fort Missoula Regional Park, that is. The Fort’s classic Family Fall Fest has everything you’d expect—a costume parade, apple cider pressed on site, hayrides, pumpkin and face painting, games, sack races, and…a giant pile of leaves. Jump into fall in Montana at this fun family festival. Plus, it’s free. (A suggested $1 donation supports the Fort’s scholarship fund.)

Haunted Hayrides: Hamilton

October 27 – 28, 2017, 7 – 10 p.m.

What’s fall without a hayride and Halloween without haunting? Head to the historic Daly Mansion in Hamilton for both of these things—haunted hayrides. Ghouls, ghosts and goblins wander the mansion grounds. Witness a zombie wedding, scary clowns and a hillbilly village. Bonus: The Bitterroot Valley is absolutely stunning this time of year, so add a leaf-peeping scenic drive onto either end of your hayride, whether you stick to Highway 93 or turn off into one of the Bitterroot’s scenic canyons to pull over and take a golden fall hike (costumes optional, hiking shoes recommended).

Hamilton’s Daly Mansion. PHOTO: Destination Missoula

Field of Screams: Victor

Open through October 31 (see website for days/times)

Hailed as “Western Montana’s #1 Haunted Attraction” Victor’s Field of Screams is exactly what it sounds like it is. Daytime fun turns into nighttime terror. Bring your little goblins by during the daylight hours for wagon rides, a hay bale tower and cornfield fun without the spooks. But when the sun goes down the zombies come out, and it’s time for the big kids to play. Field of Screams is not for the faint of heart. Thrills and chills abound.

Sweet Pickin’s Pumpkin Patch: Kalispell

Open through October 31, 2017, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Picking out a pumpkin is part of the magic of the season, and building a day of autumn adventure around it makes it all the more special. Head to the breathtaking (especially this time of year) Flathead Valley and make fall farm memories at the family-run Sweet Pickin’s Pumpkin Patch, with activities like a giant jumping pillow and a huge construction site sand box, plus tractor tours, farm animals and train rides. Jump in the corn kernel shed, hang out by the plum trees, and savor the season with caramel apples, kettle corn and hot chocolate. Oh, and don’t forget to pick out a pumpkin!

Sweet Pickin’s Pumpkin Patch. PHOTO: Sweet Pickin’s

Festival of the Dead

November 2, 2017, 6 – 8:30 p.m.

Inspired by the traditions of the Mexican holiday El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Missoula’s unique and popular annual Festival of the Dead is a multicultural family-friendly event celebrating life and death through community arts. The festival culminates with a procession, which begins at the north end of downtown Missoula’s Higgins Avenue and processes to Caras Park, with post-procession performances by the University of Montana’s African Dance Class and Unity Dance and Drum.

Harvest Wrap-Up: Glacier Country’s rich autumn traditions are the perfect way to take in fall in Montana. Do note: It’s the season of favorite flannels and cozy sweaters, but be prepared for any kind of weather this time of year.

For more fall fun, visit our Fall in Montana page, where we’ve compiled a list of autumn activity ideas and events in our little corner of Big Sky Country. Be in the know about all the finest fall happenings, and also learn where to hike, bike, float, fish, golf and camp—all the obvious things we love about Montana—among the vibrant fall colors. We’ll also help you find the best local spots to kick back and relax with some of Montana’s favorite fall flavors (think pumpkin ice cream) and tastiest seasonal brews. There’s something for every member of the family to enjoy in a Montana autumn, plus shoulder-season pricing.

5 Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas and Travel Deals in Montana

Well you guys, it’s official. Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us. And I don’t know about y’all, but I love Valentine’s Day…maybe because I’m a big fan of love. Whether it’s the love between a couple, the love of a mama for her baby or the love of friends, I’m all about it.

One of my loves: Missoula, Montana.

One of my loves: Missoula, Montana.

While I don’t think we need a special holiday to tell people that we love them (I prefer to tell those I love that I totally heart them basically every time we talk), at the same time it’s pretty nice to have a day that’s all about the one that you adore. Sidenote: their birthdays are also all about them, just an FYI. 

Whether or not you celebrate Valentine’s Day with grand gestures, flowers delivered to their work, diamonds or a heartfelt card, I (probably) like your style. Because no matter what, we all—at our very core—want to be loved. And in honor of the world’s biggest, sappiest day of love, I’ve rounded up some Valentine’s Day gift ideas and getaways.

1. Jewelry from Rag and Stone. This is a new discovery for me (thank you instagram) and it’s safe to say I’m obsessed with the work that Ms. Erin Hawley is whipping up in her northwest Montana shop. If your lady loves jewelry and Montana, a piece from Rag and Stone is a safe bet. PS: you can also shop via her Etsy site here.

Steelhead bracelet. Photo via @ragandstone instagram.

Steelhead bracelet. Photo via @ragandstone instagram.

2. Foldover clutches from The Montana Scene. Gentlemen, if you have a lady on your list who loves Montana, just buy her one of these clutches. I’m pretty sure she’ll love you forever.

Obsessed. Photo via @themontanascene instagram.

Obsessed. Photo via @themontanascene instagram.

PS: ladies, The Montana Scene also has lots of gear for that hunky man in your life, including T-shirts, hoodies and hats.

3. Mountain home necklace from Made Of Mountains™. Created by the same Montana mama from Poisonberry Jewerly, Britt is also the lady behind Made of Mountains. Plus, she has a line of “Mountain Mama” tops that are adorable for the mama in your life. Shop here.

Mountain home necklaces. Photo courtesy of @madeofmtns instagram.

Mountain home necklaces. Photo via @madeofmtns instagram.

4. A winter getaway to the Belton Chalet in West Glacier. It’s no secret that I love the Belton (read about my obsession with their Sunday brunch here). And as someone who’s had the pleasure of staying there, this girl thinks that a weekend getaway (that conveniently falls over the Valentine’s Day weekend) may be just what the doctor ordered for you and the one you love. This weekend, the Belton has two specials: a one-night Valentine Dinner + Lodging Package (for $199) and a two-night Romance + Rendezvous All-Inclusive Weekend (for $399).

Winter at Montana's Belton Chalet.

Winter at Montana’s Belton Chalet.

5. Sweetheart Package at the Bitterroot River Bed-and-Breakfast. If you’re looking for a quiet, low-key getaway, this cozy B&B may be the perfect place. They’re offering the Sweetheart Package (starting at $99/night) through February 29 with code WINTER99. Sidenote: if you go to Stevensville, be sure to make a dinner reservation at Mission Bistro or The Catered Table.

Wishing you and yours a Happy Valentine’s Day!

xo,
TT