Tag Archives: flathead lake

A Perfect Escape to Montana’s Flathead Lake Lodge

There are some places that you visit that feel like a total escape from daily life. One such place: Flathead Lake Lodge.

The main lodge and gathering area for guests.

The main lodge and gathering area for guests.

A tipi in the woods at Flathead Lake Lodge.

Tipis in the woods at Flathead Lake Lodge.

Located just south of Bigfork on the east shore of Flathead Lake, this family-owned and operated guest ranch has been welcoming guests since 1945 and after a recent stay there, I completely understand how they’ve been in business for more than 70 years. Upon arrival at the lodge, I felt completely comfortable. Maybe it was the lush grounds and herd of horses that greeted our group as we pulled in or the fresh air and lakeside setting that made my heart me feel totally at home. All I know is this: I loved it.
Sidenote: Flathead Lake Lodge is not just a great getaway for adults. My friend Angie visited last summer with her family. Check out her recap here.

Upon arrival, we got outfitted with custom-shaped cowboy hats by Larry Shore from WesTrends. And I will tell you this: if you ever get the opportunity to have a hat shaped to your face—and basically made specifically for you—take it. I can’t say enough good things about how fun it was to pick out a hat and have Larry shape it just for me.

Our crew in our custom-shaped cowboy hats.

Our crew in our custom-shaped cowboy hats.

I'll give you a yee-haw.

I’ll give you a yee-haw.

After becoming properly outfitted, we were ready for a great couple of days at the ranch. On the agenda: a horse roundup, water fun, cocktail making, horseback riding, a steak cookout and s’mores by the campfire. And while we had a lot of western activities to accomplish in a short period of time, we were ready to pack in as much as we possibly could.

Here’s a look at our stay at Flathead Lake Lodge…

There's nothing quite like seeing horses run into an open meadow at full speed.

There’s nothing quite like seeing horses run into an open meadow at full speed.

This little lass was spunky.

This lass was spunky.

Horses + a lush meadow + Montana's big sky = not a bad little Monday.

Horses + a lush meadow + Montana’s big sky = not a bad little Monday.

The makings for Montana-flavored cocktails.

The makings for Montana-flavored cocktails.

Yep, those are indeed huckleberries in that drink.

Yep, that is indeed a huckleberry in that drink.

After rounding up the horses and making cocktails (rumor has it there were many tasty options to choose from), it was time to head to the lake. One of the many cool things about Flathead Lake Lodge is that it sits right on the shore of the largest freshwater lake in the West and has a variety of water-based activities, including boat cruises, sailing excursions and canoeing.

One of the (many) cool things about Flathead Lake Lodge: it has waterfront access to the largest freshwater lake in the West.

Off for a cruise around the lake.

Taking in the view.

An idyllic setting for a guest ranch. 

My (stunning) friend Kate taking in our time on the water.

My (stunning) friend Kate taking in our time on the water.

After cruising along the lake, it was time for one of the best western experiences I’ve ever had…an outdoor steak fry. The thing that’s so special about the steak fry at the lodge is that it’s held up in the mountains in a beautiful forested spot and Kevin, the lodge’s longtime general manager, cooks up steaks on an open fire.
Disclaimer: if you order below a medium, he’ll tease you for it while still making you the tastiest steak you’ll ever have.  

Our ride to the steak fry was on horseback.

Our ride to the steak fry was on horseback.

Riding through the woods.

Riding through the woods.

The steak fry setting. It's kind of perfect.

The steak fry setting. It’s kind of perfect.

Oh hey, perfect BBQ dinner.

Oh hey, perfect BBQ dinner.

Cowboy singer-songwriter Gene filled the forest with his music.

Cowboy singer-songwriter Gene filled the forest with his music.

After two fun-filled days at the ranch, we spent our last night in true Montana and Old West style…around a campfire. And to be honest, it’s one of the best nights I’ve had in a really long time.

Sitting on the dock, watching the sunset.

Sitting on the dock, watching the sunset.

Oh, hey cowboy.

Hey cowboy.

One of the places to be in Montana: around a campfire.

One of the best places to be on a cool Montana night is around a campfire.

While I’m not sure when my travels will take me to Flathead Lake Lodge again, I do know this: that place is magic.

xo,
TT

An Epic Montana Road Trip (AKA My Favorite Kind of Road Trip)

So…I’m sensing a theme in what I’ve been doing lately. Apparently, I’m all about a good road trip. (You can see the proof here, here and oh ya, here.) But honestly, I can’t even blame myself at this point. Instead, I blame Montana’s wide-open spaces, colorful characters and a landscape that seems to be calling my name ALL THE TIME. With that said, it seems appropriate that this week (Friday, May 13 to be exact) I’m setting off on an epic road trip through Western Montana’s Glacier Country

Cruising Montana's roads.

Cruising Montana’s roads.

“What’s so epic about it, Tia?” you ask. Well, I’ll tell you. I’m taking the usual road trip and turning it into a (road trip) party. Because why take a road trip alone when you can take a road trip with 20+ of the most fun, adventurous people you’ve ever met?

This is how much we love Glacier National Park.

This is how much I love road trips and exploring Montana!

This week, I’m welcoming Expedia and their team of viewfinders—as well as some incredible folks from England, Australia, Korea, Mexico, Brazil and Canada—to my corner of Montana where we’ll experience some of the best that Big Sky Country has to offer. And because there’s literally so much to explore, we’re breaking the road trip into three sections, with each leg focusing on a particular offering in Western Montana: urban (Missoula), unplugged (Flathead Lake Lodge) and unexplored (Whitefish and Glacier National Park).

Urban, unplugged and undiscovered.

(Montana) urban, unplugged and undiscovered.

If you want to see what May in Montana is like, follow along to see real-time updates on snapchat (username: GlacierMT), instagram (GlacierMT) and twitter (GlacierMT). And if you want to see way better photos than any of the ones I’ll take, search hashtag #PictureMontana on instagram and twitter to see photos from the rest of our soon-to-be Montana-lovin’ crew.

In the meantime, I want to know one thing: How do YOU #PictureMontana? Comment below and let me know.

xo,
TT

A Montana Road Trip: Polson to Whitefish

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Montana is beautiful during late winter and early spring. Remember a couple of weeks ago when I took a road trip from Missoula to Polson (you can read more about that—and see photos from that stunning drive—here) on a picture-perfect day? Well, the truth of the matter is that I kept on going and the second half of that day took me from Polson to Whitefish. And it, my friends, was beautiful. Here’s a look at the views from Montana’s Flathead Valley.

Hello, Flathead Lake.

Hello, Flathead Lake.

Polson, Flathead Lake and the Mission Mountains.

Polson, Flathead Lake and the Mission Mountains.

The view from Dayton, on the west shore of Flathead Lake.

The view from Dayton, on the west shore of Flathead Lake.

The clouds that day were incredible.

The clouds that day were incredible.

When traveling through Montana, you're more than likely to encounter several barns along the way. In a way, they almost become part of the landscape while still having their own stories to tell.

When traveling through Montana, chances are you’re going to come across one of the state’s barns. My advice? Stop and take in the view. 

The final stop: the outdoor fire pit at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake.

The final stop: the outdoor fire pit at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake.

It was a good day.

xo,
TT

Meet Montana’s Christmas Village: Bigfork

There are some places that do Christmas so well. You know the places I’m talking about: they’re home to cheery people, lively downtowns and twinkling lights. Places that help you actually feel the spirit of Christmas in just one visit.

One such place is the quaint (and cute and adorable and storybook) community of Bigfork, Montana. Nestled on a peaceful bay on the northeast end of Flathead Lake, Bigfork is a charming town all year long, but I think there’s something extra special about it during the holidays. Each winter, the Bigfork Elves decorate the village with lights and garland and set the stage for one of the most wonderful times of the year.

Bigfork loves Christmas. And I think Christmas loves it back.

Bigfork loves Christmas. And I think Christmas loves it back.

This past week, I headed to Bigfork for a couple of days with a few of my lady loves for some work and play. After our work was done, being the avid supporters of the local economy that we are (aka really good at shopping), we hit the locally owned boutiques in Bigfork and snagged a few holiday goodies. Here’s a look at how we spent our time in Montana’s Christmas village…

Greeting the morning from Marina Cay Resort.

Greeting the morning from Marina Cay Resort.

On our must-do list: breakfast at Pocketstone Cafe.

On our must-do list: breakfast at Pocketstone Cafe.

One of the locally owned shops featured artwork and jewelry from Montana artists.

Perusing artwork and jewelry from Montana artists at one of the local shops.

Truth time: these girls can shop!

Truth time: these girls can shop!

S.M. Bradford has THE cutest hats and boots in the Flathead Valley.

S.M. Bradford has THE cutest hats and boots in the Flathead Valley.

The owner of Montana Bear Food makes these adorable coffee cozies.

Montana Bear Food sells these adorable coffee cozies, made by Eme Handmade. 

Some of the goods from Montana Shirt Co on display at Montana Bear Food.

Some of the goods from Montana Shirt Co on display at Montana Bear Food.

Just because every trip to Bigfork needs a selfie with a piece of art.

‘Just because every trip to Bigfork needs a selfie with a piece of art.

Christmas lights at night are magic.

Christmas lights at night are magic.

And just in case you fancy a holiday getaway to Montana’s cutest Christmas village, I’ve rounded up my top picks on where to stay, what to do and where to fill your tummy.

Where to stay: Mountain Lake Lodge (beautiful rooms with views of the lake, king rooms start at $149/night) and Bridge Street Cottages (starting at $95/night).

Where to shopMontana Bear Foods, S.M. Bradford Company, Nancy Cawdrey Studios and Eva Gates Preserves.

Where to eat and drink: The Raven (in Woods Bay), Bigfork Inn, Showthyme, Grille 459 and Moroldo’s Fine Italian Restaurant. Wash it down with a locally made libations at Flathead Lake Brewing Company or Whistling Andy’s Distillery.

What to do: Attend “A Christmas Story — the musical” at the Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts. Performances are slated for December 12, 13, 14, 19 and 20.

Happy Christmas,
TT

Playing on Flathead Lake

I’m going to admit it: I played hooky from work yesterday afternoon. And yes, I’m fully aware that it’s not the most responsible thing I’ve ever done. But I just needed to. Why?

Well, I have a few reasons…
-My bestie from college is vacationing in Montana.
-Her family rented the cutest cabin on Flathead Lake.
-It was the perfect summer day. Slight breeze, calm water, blue sky and sunshine.
Side note: How could I possibly work in those conditions?!
-Flathead Lake is bliss.

Still don’t believe that I needed to play hooky? Fair enough. I’ll let the photos do the talking.

The road to the house winds through a cherry orchard.

The road to the house winds through a cherry orchard.

Oh hi, perfect lake view.

Oh hi, perfect lake view.

Kayaking on the immense (and super clean) waters of Flathead Lake.

Kayaking on the immense (and super clean) waters of Flathead Lake.

Soaking up the sun.

Soaking up the sun.

A summer storm rolled over the lake.

A summer storm rolled over the lake.

No cars on the road home made for the perfect photo opportunity.

No cars on the road made for the perfect photo opportunity.

Watching dusk fall over the Mission Mountains on the way home.

Watching dusk fall over the Mission Mountains on the way home.

It was the perfect afternoon.

Your turn: Where did you go the last time you played hooky?

xo,
TT

Round Out July with Sweet Montana Events

I’m not sure how things are in your neck of the woods, but I can tell you one thing: Montana is hopping!

This messy-haired girl has always been a strong supporter and lover of all things Montana during the summer months, from floating the Blackfoot River to basking in the long daylight hours and soaking up the sunshine.

One thing that makes my heart pitter-patter for Western Montana during the summer months are the events that take place. This region of Montana has some kick-in-the-pants events that are fun to the very last drop. To help you better make plans for your trip to Montana this July (who are we kidding, I’m actually making this list to help me plan out the remainder of my month), I’ve compiled some of my personal recommendations for events in Montana’s Glacier Country that should be placed firmly on your not-to-be-missed list.

Logger Days, Darby 
July 19 – 20
Logging is an important Montana past time and the cute town of Darby (located in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley) hosts this annual event. On the roster: 17 traditional logging competitions, activities for little lumberjacks, a logger relay and live music.

One of the logging competitions at Darby Logger Days.

One of the logging competitions at Darby Logger Days.

Flathead Cherry Festival, Polson
July 20 – 21
Celebrating one of Montana’s sweetest gems, the Flathead Cherry Festival is held in Polson on the shore of Flathead Lake and includes Made in Montana vendors, as well as fun events like a cherry spitting contest, cherry pie eating contest and live music.

Sweet Flathead Cherries grow in orchards along Flathead Lake.

Sweet Flathead Cherries grow in orchards along Flathead Lake.

Montana Baroque Music Festival, Paradise
July 23 – 25
Held at Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort in the aptly named Montana community of Paradise, this music festival showcases baroque music in a gorgeous setting. An added bonus: you can soak in the natural mineral waters of the hot springs after grooving to the music.

The road to Paradise and Quinn's Hot Springs Resort.

The road to Paradise and Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort.

The Event at Rebecca Farm, Kalispell
July 25 – 28
Horses and competitors come to Kalispell to compete in the nation’s largest equestrian triathlon—The Event at Rebecca Farm. An added bonus: admission is free.

Lewis & Clark Festival, Cut Bank
July 26 – 27
Celebrate the history of Lewis & Clark at this fun festival, with happenings that include a parade, chili cook-off and street dance. While you’re in town, be sure to check out the two nearby historic sites from the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

For more events throughout Western Montana, check out www.glaciermt.com/events.php.

Wishing you a fun-filled and happy July,
TT

PS: Mark your calendars for these awesome August events.
Huckleberry Festival in Trout Creek, August 9 – 11
Epic Shore to Shore Race at Flathead Lake, August 10
Fill Your Own Bucket Day at Glacier County Honey in Babb, August 10
River City Roots Festival in Missoula, August 23 – 25
Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival in Bigfork, August 26 – September 3

Montana Dragon Boat Festival

September was awesome. “Why?” you may ask. Well, it’s simple. There’s nothing quite like paddling a 46-foot-long dragon boat on the incredibly beautiful waters of Flathead Lake with 20 of your friends.

Let me explain…in early September the inaugural Montana Dragon Boat Festival on Flathead Lake was held. The festival brought more than 56 teams and 1,200 paddlers together for an epic day of racing at Flathead Lake Lodge. And, since the crew around here loves to do fun things and is a TAD bit competitive, we thought it would be fun to enter our own team in the race.

Please meet the “Glacier Country Water Warriors.”

Go Water Warriors!

The day meant blue skies, fun races, plenty of learning how to work together, local food, spectators and an art fair. In other word, it was Montana perfection.

And while we didn’t win the race (for the record we tanked on the first race, but won our second heat!), you better believe we’ll be back next year as we’re officially dragon boating converts.

Our team captain!

The paddle out to the start of our second race...we finally got our groove on.

Apparently something was REALLY funny.

Warrior style, yo.

Water Warriors Forever.

xo,
TT

PS: If you didn’t have a chance to participate in this year’s race, mark your calendar for September 7, 2013 for next year’s festival. To stay connected with the latest event news, head on over and give them a like on their facebook page.