Tag Archives: Flathead Valley

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

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

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

Visiting Montana’s Flathead Valley

*Hey you Montana lovers! Are you ready for part three of our road trip through Glacier Country? If I know you like I think I do, y’all are totally ready. Read on…

After our first two stops in Missoula and the Seeley-Swan Valley, our group of six continued our journey north to our next destination: Montana’s Flathead Valley. The Flathead is one of the state’s largest valleys and is home to a ton of recreational opportunities (like sailing on Flathead Lake, zip lining at Whitefish Mountain Resort or hiking in Jewel Basin), as well as cutesy small towns.

As we only had one day and two nights in the Flathead Valley, we knew we needed to maximize our time and soak up the personality of this corner of Montana.

Our time in the valley included…

A morning hike on The Whitefish TrailLocated a short drive from downtown Whitefish, The Whitefish Trail currently has 26+ miles of trails (as well as seven trailheads) that are prime launching points for hiking or biking the trail. We opted for one of the newest sections of the trail: the Woods Lake Loop. Not only was the hike gorgeous, but it also provided us with a view of Whitefish Lake. IMG_9209IMG_9205IMG_9208

Basking in the gorgeousness of The Lodge at Whitefish LakeWith its stunning location on the shore of Whitefish Lake, the lodge is one of the top places to stay in Whitefish. Plus, during the summer months you can dine on their deck, quench your thirst at the tiki bar or rent your water toy of choice (mine is a jet ski) for playing on Whitefish Lake. IMG_9193IMG_9217

Eating, eating and eating. While you may not think that Montana is a place to find tasty food, think again my friends. We filled (as in FILLED) our tummies on delectable meals at Tupelo Grille (hands down, my favorite place for dinner in Whitefish), Base Camp Cafe in Columbia Falls (LOVE their breakfast), Loula’s Cafe in Whitefish, Three Forks Grille in Columbia Falls and Sweet Peaks Ice Cream in Whitefish. *Side note: Judging from the photos below, I only eat sweets.IMG_9196IMG_9223IMG_9231IMG_9220

Catching our beauty rest (and stunning sunsets) at Meadow Lake Resort. Located in Columbia Falls and a stone’s throw from Glacier National Park, Meadow Lake is my idea of Montana perfection. It’s set back off the main highway, but is still so easy to get to. (Literally two minutes north of Highway 2). Plus, the rooms, grounds and views are pretty much perfect.  IMG_9230 IMG_9225

Your turn: What’s on your “must do” list in the Flathead Valley?

xo,
TT

PS: For photos from our road trip through Western Montana, check out hashtag #mt6pack on twitter and instagram.

Fall: A Tale of Montana Truth

Truth: My blog post is late.

Truth: I have a very good reason it’s late. (No seriously, I do).

Truth: My blog is late because I’ve been out soaking up the autumn colors in Western Montana. (You can’t blame a girl for that).

Truth: This fall is gorgeous.

Truth: I have the pictures to prove it.

Mount Sentinel from Missoula.

Missoula from Mount Sentinel.

Autumn perfection.

Country roads, take me home.

Hay, barns and a late afternoon sky.

Happy, happy autumn!

xo,
TT