If you prefer to travel to Montana by train, chances are that you are well aware that the current train schedule has eastbound trains from Seattle arriving into Whitefish at 4:26 a.m.
Sidenote: Let’s just be honest; the current schedule stinks. But it had to be done in order to accommodate construction projects to add capacity to the BNSF route.
I’m happy to tell you that in a couple of short weeks, Amtrak’s Empire Builder will return to its regular schedule in both directions. As of January 12, 2015, eastbound trains headed to Montana’s Glacier Country will arrive into Whitefish at 7:26 a.m. and westbound trains will arrive into Whitefish at 8:56 p.m.
Going back to normal operating hours means that spending a weekend skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort just got that much easier. To celebrate, Amtrak is offering 30% off train travel to Whitefish with their Winter Getaway Promotion!
The return to this normal schedule also means that train travel to Western Montana will be smoother and allow for timely arrivals throughout the year into Libby, Whitefish, West Glacier, Essex, East Glacier Park and Browning.
To make it easier for you to enjoy a winter getaway to Whitefish, I’ve rounded up my top picks for where to stay, what to do and where to fill your belly.
Where to stay: Grouse Mountain Lodge (check out their ski + stay package here), Garden Wall Inn (they have a getaway package for two) and Best Western Rocky Mountain Lodge (rooms start at $99/night). I’m also a big fan of Hidden Moose Lodge and Good Medicine Lodge, especially during the winter.
Where to eat and drink: Truth time–Whitefish has some of the best dining options in Western Montana. Fuel up for the day on breakfast at Loula’s or the Buffalo Cafe. For a mouth-watering and tummy-satisfying dinner, make a dinner reservation at Tupelo Grille. Or for a casual meal, grab a sandwich (and green bean fries) at Great Northern Bar. For a more romantic meal, go see Chef Andy Blanton at Cafe Kandahar. And for post-dinner drinks and dancing, make a stop at Casey’s. Be sure to rub elbows with the locals at Great Northern Brewing Company in downtown Whitefish.
What to do: Ski at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Go for a sleigh ride at Bar W Guest Ranch. Unwind with a spa treatment at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake. Rent a fat bike from Whitefish Bike Retreat and hit The Whitefish Trail.
Happy New Year!
PS: Be sure to tag your photos on instagram and twitter with #GlacierMT so I can pretend like it’s me making sweet jumps at Whitefish Mountain Resort and chowing down on green bean fries at Great Northern Bar.