Tag Archives: American Indian

9 Must-See Attractions in Montana’s Mission Valley

Montana has some big names and well-known places (I’m talking about you Glacier National Park), but the truth of the matter is this: some of the coolest places are located off the beaten path and come in the form of small towns, destinations at the end of gravel roads, local shops and colorful characters. Keeping this in mind, last week I set out to explore one of Western Montana’s most-underrated places: the Mission Valley. And you guys, it was a perfect fall day that had picture-perfect views around every corner.

Hello Mission Mountains.

Hello Mission Mountains.

But, as it goes with many off-the-beaten-path places, it can be hard to know where to start or what to see when you’re adventuring around a new destination.

To make it easier, I rounded up 9 must-see attractions in Montana’s Mission Valley. 

1. The Mission Mountains from Ravalli Hill. Hands down, this is one of the best views in Montana and it’s not really off the beaten path, as it’s right on Highway 93. But here’s the thing: this view is best soaked in by pulling off the highway into the scenic overlook and spending at least a few minutes looking at one of the wildest mountain ranges in the West.
Insider tip: this is also one of the best places to catch sunrise.

My favorite view in the Mission Valley.

My favorite view in the Mission Valley.

2. McDonald Lake. I found out about McDonald Lake from one of my favorite places: instagram. Several locals were posting photos from this lake, located a short drive back in the Mission Mountains, to their instagram feeds and I knew it was a place I needed to visit. It’s a gorgeous destination to take a hike, have a picnic, cast a fishing line or simply sit and relax.
One thing to note: the lake is on tribal land, so you do need to purchase a recreation permit from the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes.

McDonald Lake last spring.

McDonald Lake last spring.

3. The National Bison Range. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the National Bison Range (you can read more about my day trip to the range here), but regardless this is one of the best places to visit in the Mission Valley, especially for wildlife watching and photography.

This pile of antlers welcomes visitors to the National Bison Range.

This pile of antlers welcomes visitors to the National Bison Range.

4. Great Gray Gifts and Ninepipes Lodge. Located just off Highway 93, Great Gray Gifts is brand new to the Mission Valley (they opened in May 2016). Owned by the adorable husband-and-wife team from Ninepipes Lodge, the merchandise at Gray Gray Gifts is all hand-selected and and includes many made in Montana products. Next door, you’ll find Ninepipes Lodge and Allentown Restaurant. If you’re looking to stay and play in the Mission Valley, the lodge is a great home base.

Oh hey, Great Gray Gifts.

Oh hey, Great Gray Gifts. Photo: @greatgraygifts instagram

The view from the patio at Ninepipes Lodge.

The view from the patio at Ninepipes Lodge.

5. Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana. Located next door to Ninepipes Lodge is one of the most interesting museums in Montana—Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana. Operated by one of the valley’s most well-known families, the Cheffs, the museum has a well-curated collection of hundreds of Western Plains Indian artifacts, as well as exhibits on early settlers, the fur trade and cowboy way of life.
Insider tip: take the guided tour, if possible.

Handcrafted moccasins at the museum.

Handcrafted moccasins at the museum.

6. Mission Mountain Golf Course. If you like golf (or you’re really good at driving the golf cart like me), this course in Ronan has one of the most stunning backdrops in Western Montana.

Playing 18 holes with this backdrop? Yes please.

Playing 18 holes with this backdrop? Yes please.

7. Stella’s Deli & Bakery. Fun fact: I get really sick of eating sandwiches (except peanut butter and jelly – those never get old). But I’m 100 percent confident that I’ll never tire of the sandwiches at Stella’s Deli & Bakery in Ronan. I’m not sure if it’s the homemade buns they serve them on, but this is THE place to stop for lunch in Ronan.

I'll take seven cinnamon rolls please.

I’ll take seven cinnamon rolls and two turkey sandwiches, please.

8. Muley Bluz-Cowboy Toys. It’s no secret that I love cowboys and authentic western offerings, so believe me when I tell you that I’m obsessed with Muley Bluz. Located on Main Street in Ronan, I randomly stumbled into this shop last week and had a great 45 minutes of trying on chaps (also called chinks, depending on who you’re talking to), sitting in saddles and talking the owner’s ear off. Long story short: don’t visit the Mission Valley without stopping into Muley Bluz.

Not kidding: the saddle in the very front is the MOST comfortable saddle I've ever say my booty on.

Not kidding: the saddle in the very front is the MOST comfortable saddle I’ve ever sat my booty on.

9. The People’s Center. If you asked me what my favorite museum is in Montana, The People’s Center in Pablo would be among my top choices. The museum shares the history and culture of the Salish, Pend d’Oreille and Kootenai tribes and has artifacts and exhibits on display. But if you want to really learn about the history of Montana’s first nation, take the guided tour. The center’s tour guides will share incredible insights into the tribal histories, traditions and more and, to be totally truthful, it’s one of the best guided tours I’ve ever taken.

The People's Center at night.

The People’s Center at night.

Happy adventuring!

xo,
TT

The Top 10 Things to Do Near Glacier National Park

We all know that Montana’s Glacier National Park is amazing. It just is. I mean, does it get much better than 1 million acres of glacial-carved terrain, the epic Going-to-the-Sun Road and the feeling you get just being in Glacier National Park? Maybe not. But I’m here to tell you, it gets pretty darn close.

Hello, Glacier National Park.

Hello, Glacier National Park.

Around here, a lot of focus gets placed on Glacier National Park (which is completely deserved by the way) but the truth of the matter is that there is more to this corner of Montana than just the Crown of the Continent. And you deserve to know some of the best things to do outside of Glacier National Park, because sharing is caring.

Before I get started on this list, there were two guidelines I followed when pulling it together: 1) All of the items on this list are within 30 minutes of Glacier National Park and 2) I have personally been to them (so I feel really confident recommending them to you).

Without further ado, here is my list of the top 10 things to do near Glacier National Park. 

1. Take a guided horseback trail ride on the Blackfeet Nation. Hands down, this is one of the best activities I’ve ever done. Maybe it’s because the Blackfeet Indian Reservation has a special place in my heart or maybe it’s because Mouse Hall (who I totally adore) leads the crew at Glacier Gateway Outfitters. But to be honest, I think it’s both of those combined with the incredible experience of riding a horse in wide-open country as you climb trails, nearby mountains and learn about the Blackfeet Tribe and their history, all while taking in expansive views along the Rocky Mountain Front.
Storytime: last time I rode with Mouse, my horse’s name was 7up and he was feisty as all get out…which is probably why I loved him. He didn’t like the other horses and got bit by a wasp on our ride down from Baldy Butte and still, the ride was incredible. It was also amazing to see how Mouse handled all of the horses. Each of the horses knew he loved them and in turn, they loved, trusted and respected him. I’ve not seen anything quite like that anywhere else. 

Mouse on top of Baldy Butte.

Mouse on top of Baldy Butte.

2. Visit The Museum of the Plains Indian and Blackfeet Heritage Center in Browning. Hands down, these two places (that just happen to be next door to each other) are my top two places to stop in Browning. The Museum of the Plains Indian has an incredible history of several of the Plains tribes (be sure to watch the video before touring the museum), while the Blackfeet Heritage Center has work from hundreds of American Indian artists on display.
Insider tip: while in Browning, be sure to check out Faught’s Blackfeet Trading Post, Lodgepole Gallery & Tipi Village and Western Curios. 

The museum is home to incredible artifacts and displays.

The museum is home to incredible artifacts and displays.

3. Stroll the grounds and sit in the lobby at Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier Park. I’ve had a love affair with Glacier Park Lodge for as long as I can remember and it’s a place that I love sharing with other people. Whether you’re staying at the lodge or just passing through, it’s definitely worth a stop. You can read more about Glacier Park Lodge here.

My happy place, Glacier Park Lodge.

My happy place, Glacier Park Lodge.

4. Have dinner at the Izaak Walton Inn. Located halfway between East Glacier Park and West Glacier is Essex and the Izaak Walton Inn. Their on-site restaurant has become one of my favorite places for dinner in the region. Afterward, sit on the patio outside and watch the trains roll past.

Hello, handsome.

Hello, handsome.

5. Cool down at the Crown of the Continent Discovery Center. Situated just down the road from the west entrance of Glacier National Park is the Crown of the Continent Discovery Center. It’s a great place to stop and stretch your legs, learn about the area, cool down with local ice cream, grab a coffee, take a trail ride with Swan Mountain Outfitters (they have a horse corral out back) and peruse made in Montana items.

The horses of Swan Mountain Outfitters hanging out in the corral.

The horses of Swan Mountain Outfitters hanging out in the corral.

6. Visit Hungry Horse Reservoir, the area’s best-kept secret. While it won’t be a secret anymore (woops a daisy), Hungry Horse Reservoir is a great place to go to get away from the masses. Located a short drive from the town of Hungry Horse, the reservoir and its surrounding area offer fishing, boating, swimming, hiking and camping. Plus, it’s beautiful.

The view of Hungry Horse Reservoir from above.

The view of Hungry Horse Reservoir from above.

7. Taste Montana spirits (and take a tour) at Glacier Distilling Company. Making its home in a red barn in Coram, the Whiskey Barn at Glacier Distillery offers tours and tastings daily from Noon – 8 p.m. during the summer. Plus, they have an outdoor patio where you can kick back, rub shoulders with the locals and taste Montana.

The Whiskey Barn.

The Whiskey Barn.

8. Stroll through Columbia Falls. Truth time: Columbia Falls is one of my favorite towns and is often overlooked as a place to stop. But that, my friends, is changing. This town has some exciting stuff happening and is home to a thriving farmers market (Thursday nights May – September), a brand-new hotel named Cedar Creek Lodge, Backslope Brewing (one of the state’s newest breweries), great dining, a coffee shop and a fly shop. In six words: Columbia Falls is worth a stop.

Confession: Columbia Falls is home to my favorite cafe.

Confession: Columbia Falls is home to my favorite cafe.

9. Drive the North Fork Road to Polebridge. The best adventures are often found along gravel roads and the drive to Polebridge is no exception. The drive will take you along incredible views into Glacier National Park and some beautiful landscapes. Once in Polebridge, be sure to kick back at the Northern Lights Saloon (and grab dinner there) and peruse the Polebridge Mercantile.

I love the Merc!

I love the Merc!

10. Eat a steak at the Babb Bar Cattle Baron Supper Club. Last fall was my first encounter with the Cattle Baron Supper Club in Babb. And it was a great one. If you like steak, this may be the place you have the best steak of your life. Insider tip: order extra bread. It’s homemade and delicious.  

Before dinner in Babb, be sure to drive and take a look at Chief Mountain.

Before dinner in Babb, be sure to drive and take a look at Chief Mountain.

Happy exploring!

xo,
TT

One Day with Blackfeet Outfitters: Exploring Montana’s Blackfeet Nation

There are some places that hold a special place in my heart. One such place: Montana’s Blackfeet Nation.

Blackfeet warrior sculptures at one of the entry points on the reservation.

Blackfeet warrior sculptures at one of the entry points on the reservation.

This blond, messy-haired girl grew up about 90 minutes south of Browning in Augusta along the Rocky Mountain Front. When I was just a little miss, we spent quite a bit of time in, around and on the reservation and have lifelong family friends who live there. Earlier this year, this blond girl took her messy hair and memories and headed to the Blackfeet Nation to go on a jeep tour with Blackfeet Outfitters.

Our ride for the tour, a 1985 Army jeep.

Our ride for the tour, a 1985 Army jeep.

We set out with Alger Swingley, owner of Blackfeet Outfitters and an enrolled member of the Blackfeet Tribe, to spend some time exploring the reservation.

Here’s a peek at our day…

Alger picked our group up in St. Mary and we headed for the Many Glacier area and this view.

Alger picked our tour group up in St. Mary and we headed for the Many Glacier area and this view.

The jeep tour took us to an area on the reservation that is only accessible to guests of the tour.

The jeep tour took us to an area on the reservation that is only accessible to guests of the tour.

The jeep handled the steep terrain like it was nothing + our reward was this perspective of Glacier National Park.

The jeep handled the steep terrain like it was nothing + our reward was this perspective of Glacier National Park.

We also traveled to this pristine country near Chief Mountain, a sacred site for the Blackfeet people.

We also traveled to this pristine country near Chief Mountain, a sacred site for the Blackfeet people.

I had to snag this shot to remind myself how lucky I am to call Montana home.

I had to snag this shot to remind myself how lucky I am to call Montana home.

After a day spent venturing around the Blackfeet Nation, we returned to Alger’s headquarters in Babb for a traditional Blackfeet lunch prepared by Mary Ellen Little Moustache, a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy. While Mary Ellen’s traditional lunch was tasty and interesting, it was her spirit that really impressed me. A soft-spoken woman, Mary Ellen radiated strength, wisdom and kindness and throughout the time I spent with her, I mainly sat and listened, soaking up her presence and knowledge.

Mary Ellen Little Moustache.

Mary Ellen Little Moustache.

Our traditional Blackfeet lunch featured fry bread, bison soup and buffalo tongue.

Our traditional Blackfeet lunch featured fry bread, bison soup and buffalo tongue.

Mint tea, made from wild mint.

Mint tea, made from wild mint.

It was a good day.

xo,
TT

A Chuckwagon Dinner at Montana’s Z5 Ranch

There’s a new sheriff in town. Okay, not really, but there is a new guest ranch in Western Montana (and that’s kind of like the same thing).

Last night, the folks at Z5 Ranch in Arlee had their first ever chuckwagon dinner and because I love all things ranch, Montana and—let’s be honest—food (you can read more about that here), I jumped at the opportunity to attend. I grabbed two of my best girls and we made the short drive (about 25 minutes) to the ranch from Missoula.

Upon arrival, the chaos of the day drifted away. Here’s why…

This view greeted us upon arrival.

This view greeted us upon arrival.

Yeehaw.

Yee-haw.

Z5 is located on the Flathead Indian Reservation. An added bonus: guests can stay in the tipis at the ranch.

Z5 is located on the Flathead Indian Reservation. An added bonus: guests can stay in the tipis at the ranch.

The view from the bed in the tipi.

The view from the bed in the tipi.

As part of their chuckwagon dinner event, the folks at Z5 also let you pet/visit the animals that call the ranch home. Last night’s furry guests include horses, baby chicks, rabbits, a cow that literally wandered around (she was cute) and adorable goats.

The goats and I quickly became BFFs.

The goats and I quickly became BFFs.

I may have fallen in love with this rabbit.  She reminded me of my own rabbits that I tricked my parents into getting me when I was little. Sidenote: my rabbit's names were Sally and Hot Stuff. I hope no one ever lets me name kids.

I may have fallen in love with this (super soft) rabbit. She reminded me of my own rabbits that I tricked my parents into getting me when I was little. Sidenote: my rabbit’s names were Sally and Hot Stuff. I hope no one ever lets me name kids.

Hey baby.

Hey baby.

Summer perfection.

Summer perfection.

I took advantage of the shade and tranquility by the pond.

I took advantage of the shade and tranquility by the pond.

Soon, the dinner bell rang (which I loved) and we all gathered in the barn for a dinner that was comprised of locally sourced bison steak, seasonal potatoes and a tasty peach and huckleberry crisp. After dinner we headed outside for the evening’s entertainment. And you guys, I have to tell you one thing about last night’s entertainment: it was kind of perfect.

Kyle and Zach Felsman kicked off the night with drumming and singing.

Kyle and Zach Felsman kicked off the night with drumming and singing.

This cowboy poet was, hands down, the best I've ever heard.

This cowboy poet was, hands down, the best I’ve ever heard.

Local musicians Matt and Dan (who are also in the popular Montana band Shodown) serenaded us.

Local musicians Matt and Dan (who are also in the popular Montana band Shodown) serenaded us.

The night's entertainment ended with Salish dancers.

The night’s entertainment ended with Salish dancers.

At the end of the night, I knew that I’d been part of something special. I’ve been a Montana girl my whole life, but there was something different and completely authentic in the way the stories of the evening (from the family history and being welcomed in Salish to the cowboy poetry and the American Indian dancing) came together to tell a beautiful, well-rounded story.

xo,
TT

PS: Z5 Ranch hosts chuckwagon dinners throughout the summer. For the most current schedule, be sure to visit their website.

A Montana Girl’s Love Letter to 2013

Well, another year has come and gone. And to be honest, I can hardly believe it! It’s like the older I get, the faster time seems to go. (Side note: I’m beginning to sound like my mama!)

While time continues to sprint away from me, I can say with much satisfaction that 2013 was a wonderful year…one I’ll remember fondly. From start to finish, it was full of adventures, celebrations and spectacular Montana moments.

Here’s a look back at some of my favorite moments of 2013…

January, February & March

Winter beauty in the barrow pit.

Winter beauty in the barrow pit.

Exploring one of my new favorite places--Kerr Dam in Polson.

Visiting one of my new favorite places–Kerr Dam in Polson.

Exploring the Swan Mountains.

Exploring the Swan Mountains.

Dog sledding (my first time!) on Swan Lake.

Dog sledding (my first time!) on Swan Lake.

April, May & June

Marveling at the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

Marveling at the beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

Visiting my hometown. Go Elks!

Visiting my hometown. Go Elks!

Celebrating the 80s with these lovely ladies.

Celebrating the 80s with these lovely ladies.

Soaking up the beauty of Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge.

Soaking up the beauty of Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge.

Meeting this sweet nephew.

Meeting this sweet nephew.

My favorite view...in May.

Having my breath taken away by the Mission Mountains in St. Ignatius.

Hiking to Avalanche Lake in the rain.

Hiking to Avalanche Lake in the rain.

Striking our best "Bridesmaids" pose at a perfect summer wedding.

Striking our best “Bridesmaids” pose at a perfect summer wedding.

Taking in a small town rodeo.

Taking in a small town rodeo.

July, August & September

Catching the sunset at Placid Lake.

Catching the sunset at Placid Lake.

Eating as many Flathead and Rainier cherries as possible.

Eating as many Flathead and Rainier cherries as possible.

Visiting Waterton Lakes National Park with my baby brother.

Visiting Waterton Lakes National Park with my baby brother.

Celebrating a Missoula wedding.

Celebrating a Missoula wedding.

Soaking up the grandeur of Glacier National Park.

Soaking up the grandeur of Glacier National Park.

October, November & December

Exploring a Montana backroad.

Exploring a Montana backroad.

Spending time on the Blackfeet Nation.

Spending time on the Blackfeet Nation.

Kissing my newest nephew as much as possible.

Kissing my newest nephew as much as possible.

Taking in a bird's eye view of Western Montana.

Taking in a bird’s eye view of Western Montana.

Welcoming winter.

Welcoming winter.

My first rod.

My first fly rod.

Ending the year in St. John, with my 406 hat.

Ending the year in St. John, complete with my Montana-lovin’ 406 hat.

As for 2014? I can’t wait to see what this year brings.

Wishing you all love, joy and happiness as you journey through 2014.

xo,
TT

Western Montana: Choosing a Travel Guide Cover

Every year, we are tasked with selecting a cover for our annual travel guide. And every year, we have stunning selections to choose from. (But then again, it helps that we live and play in one of the most beautiful places of the world). However this year, we decided to do something different. We decided to let you, the public, vote on which photo would grace the front of our travel guide.

If you like us on facebook, chanced are that over the last few days you’ve seen people weighing in with their opinions on which photo they liked best.

Blackfeet dancers in Glacier National Park.

OPTION A: Blackfeet dancers in Glacier National Park.

A red bus tour in Many Glacier, Glacier National Park.

OPTION B: A red bus tour in Many Glacier, Glacier National Park.

Why?

Well, there’s a few reasons…

  1. We are in love with both images.
  2. It was too hard to choose! Picking a favorite cover was like asking my mom to pick a favorite child out of her vastly different five children. 
  3. Social media plays an active role in our promotion of Western Montana. Because of it, I’m able to interact with people who are coming to Montana and to answer various questions like “Where’s the best burger in Missoula?” (By the way, the answer to that is The Mo Club). In a nutshell, it allows me to interact with people in way that was out of reach before. Each week on the blog, I’m able to share with you my own Montana adventures and experiences, all while showing you my silly, dorky side. (PS: I love you guys for allowing me to do that).  

And so, it seemed that this year it was time. Time for you to vote. We genuinely wanted to know which photo you connected with and which photo made you feel like you were seeing something truly special. After all, that’s what Montana is. It’s a special place that is best described as magical, majestic and awe-inspiring. So with that, your messy-haired blond friend thanks you for sharing your two cents. After all, this is YOUR cover.

cover winner

xo,
TT

Montana: Sometimes There Are No Words

Every once in a while, there are moments when this girl wonders if the last few days have been real. Once such moment happened last week.

I’d been on the road for work for several days and had seen some pretty amazing Montana moments along the way. As I was searching for the words to describe what I’d seen and felt, I realized that sometimes no words are needed.

This my friends, is one of those times.

Taking in the view at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Taking in the view at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

 

Watching the sunrise at Tally Lake.

Watching the sunrise at Tally Lake.

 

The view from a Montana backroad.

The view from a Montana backroad.

Watching the next generation marvel at the majesty of Trail of the Cedars in Glacier National Park.

Seeing the next generation marvel at the majesty of Trail of the Cedars in Glacier National Park.

American Indian dancers in Glacier National Park.

American Indian dancers in Glacier National Park.

The early morning mystery at Many Glacier in Glacier National Park.

The early morning mystery at Many Glacier in Glacier National Park.

Greeting the day with a red bus tour in Glacier National Park.

Greeting the day with a red bus tour in Glacier National Park.

The view toward Logan Pass from the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

The view toward Logan Pass from the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

xo,
TT

Exploring the Blackfeet Nation

Last week, I headed over to the east side of the Continental Divide to spend a bit of time on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. Bordering the east side of Glacier National Park, the Blackfeet Nation is a beautiful place where the wind-swept plains meet the rolling foothills before being engulfed by the impressive rise of the peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

Looking down into Glacier National Park's Two Medicine Valley.

There’s something about the Blackfeet Nation that feels almost magical to me. Perhaps it’s the hours my family spent here when I was just a little blond-haired missy. Or maybe it’s the wild beauty of it that nearly takes my breath away. Perhaps it’s the rich history, culture, heritage and strength of the Blackfeet people. But to pick just one thing that makes this land so special is nearly impossible. So I won’t. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Blackfeet warrior sculptures greet visitors at the Blackfeet Nation's four entrances.

The tribe's bison herd relaxes in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains.

Happy trails,
TT

PS: To learn more about the Blackfeet Nation, visit www.glaciermt.com.

Summer In Montana: Bring Your Party Pants

Montana is epic in the summer.

In my mind, it really doesn’t get better than this…there’s something about summer that makes me come alive. (In the interest of full disclosure, winter, spring and fall are all beautiful times of year to play in Big Sky Country).

Maybe it’s the 14+ hours of daylight, the smell of fresh cut grass, flowers blooming everywhere, kids riding their bikes down quiet streets, people cooling off after a hot day with a soak in the river, the freedom of eating ice cream every day (just because) or the simple beauty of it all.

Hello old friend.

Whatever it is, I’m hooked.

While we have great events year-round (I’m talking about you Whitefish Winter Carnival, Travelers’ Rest Winter Storytelling Series and Seeley Lake Winterfest), in the summertime each community rolls out the red carpet and celebrates traditions, events, activities and festivals that make their town so special. And this summer is no different, with the main events heartily underway.

And as I like to think of myself as your host, it’s my responsibility to tell you about some of the stellar upcoming events that will be rocking under Montana’s big blue sky in the coming weeks.

North American Indian Days, 7/12 – 7/15
Happening now on the Blackfeet Nation, this is one of the largest gatherings of United States and Canadian Indian Tribes. It also features a parade, Pow Wow, rodeo, traditional games and food.

A Blackfeet dancer.

Montana Baroque Music Festival, 7/17 – 7/19
Located in the aptly named community of Paradise, the festival features some of the finest baroque music by world-class musicians.

Rods & Classics Show & Shine, 7/21
Held each year in Thompson Falls, this car show features a beautiful collection of classic cars on a grassy field near the Clark Fork River.

A summer scene in downtown Thompson Falls.

Daly Days, 7/27 – 7/28
This event celebrates Marcus Daly and the heritage of Hamilton, located in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley. The celebration includes reenactments at The Daly Mansion, mansion tours, a parade and street dance.

Hamilton’s Daly Mansion.

Lewis & Clark Festival, 7/27 – 7/28
Held each year in Cut Bank, this festival honors the journey of Lewis & Clark as they made their way through the rugged land of Montana on their way to the Pacific Coast. It includes free concerts, a parade, site tours and a horseshoe competition.

Western Montana Fair and Rodeo, 8/7 – 8/12
A true celebration of summer, the fair features a rodeo, games, rides and exhibits for the whole family.

For more events, visit glaciermt.com.

Happy summer,
TT

PS: Travel deals are available throughout the region for the summer months. Check out the latest deals and coupons.

Montana: This is Winter Country

Winter arrived late to Western Montana. My guess? She wanted to make an entrance. And that’s fine with me…I’m not going to point fingers, cuss her out or give her the silent treatment. Why? Because she’s here now and let’s face it, she really looks quite lovely.

In the last week, fresh powder has fallen on our ski areas, snowmobile trails and mountain meadows, making everyone around here giddy with excitement, anticipation and a hankering that can only be relieved from playing in the snow.

And play we will.

As part of the Montana experience of winter, several communities host events and activities that showcase this season, and her slightly rambunctious attitude, at its finest. And with so many things to choose from, I’ve compiled some of my suggestions to help ensure that winter treats you like a lady. (Or a gentleman).

Some of my suggestions:

Seeley Lake Winterfest, Seeley Lake
While Seeley Lake is a bootie-kickin’ year-round destination, they do it up right in the winter. Winterfest, held January 20 – 22, features a snow sculpture contest, torchlight parade, bonfire, desserfest (yes, please) and live entertainment. The Seeley Lake Biathlon (featuring skiing and shooting) is also held in conjunction with Winterfest.

A snow sculpture at Seeley Lake’s Winterfest.

Chinese New Year, Hot Springs
Celebrate the Chinese New Year in the cute community of Hot Springs on Saturday, January 21, with festivities including a dragon dance parade, drumming and bio-luminesce fire dancers. The bonus? Catching the fireworks from the outdoor hot springs pool at Symes Hot Springs Hotel.

Whitefish Winter Carnival, Whitefish
Held February 3 – 5, Winter Carnival is really winter at its best. The carnival includes a grand parade, fireworks display, torchlight parade and Black Star Beer Barter. And if you’re up in that neck of the woods in January, attend Whitefish Skijorning, January 27 – 29.

Whitefish Skijoring. Photo by Larry Turner.

Winter Storytelling Series, Lolo
Each year Travelers’ Rest State Park hosts a winter series that celebrates the age-old Salish tradition of sharing history through stories. This winter’s series features talks (held every Saturday) by Kootenai Tribal Members, Salish Tribal Elders, historians and authors.

A cozy cabin in the woods. Photo by Donnie Sexton.

Happy winter,
TT

PS: For sweet travel deals, check out the DEALS page on www.glaciermt.com.