Category Archives: Tour 200

A Montana Road Trip: Highway 200

Earlier this week, I decided it was time for another adventure. One that would lead to one of Western Montana’s quietest areas: Highway 200. (I’ve shared my love for this region before….read more about it here). For this particular trip, I grabbed one of my favorite road trip buddies and we headed out to explore as much as we could in one day.

And explore we did. We made various stops along the way, including Paradise, Plains, Thompson Falls and Trout Creek.

One of the river put-ins on the Clark Fork River between Dixon and Paradise.

One of the river put-ins on the Clark Fork River between Dixon and Paradise.

The Clark Fork River winds through the aptly named community of Paradise.

The Clark Fork River winds along the aptly named community of Paradise and flows through Plains.

One of the major items on our list: Heather’s Country Cafe. It was recently featured on an episode of Restaurant Impossible on Food Network and since the episode aired, we’ve been jonesing to check it out.

A peek inside Heather's Country Kitchen in Plains.

A peek inside Heather’s Country Kitchen in Plains.

After filling our tummies, we drove to Thompson Falls for a bit of shopping in its cute downtown. Along the way, we saw a herd of bighorn sheep grazing in the fields west of Koo-Koo-Sint Bighorn Sheep Viewing Area.

The Koo-Koo-Sint Bighorn Sheep Viewing Area is about six miles east of Thompson Falls.

The Koo-Koo-Sint Bighorn Sheep Viewing Area is about six miles east of Thompson Falls.

I couldn't resist picking up this locally made bracelet at the Sunflower Gallery in Thompson Falls. The shop has 16 local artists who display their work at the gallery.

I couldn’t resist picking up this locally made bracelet at the Sunflower Gallery in Thompson Falls. The shop has 16 local artists who display their work at the gallery.

Taking in the view in Thompson Falls.

Taking in the view in Thompson Falls.

We also ventured to the Old Jail Museum and were lucky enough to have a sneak peek. The museum officially opens for the season on Memorial Day.

We also ventured to the Old Jail Museum and were lucky enough to have a sneak peek. The museum officially opens for the season on Memorial Day.

After a walk around Thompson Falls, we headed to Trout Creek — one of my favorite small towns in the region.

A mix of spring and winter at Noxon Rapids Reservoir.

A mix of spring and winter at Noxon Rapids Reservoir.

Needless to say, it was a good day.

xo,
TT

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.

Bunking with Fairies, Hobbits and Trolls (Oh my!)

Nestled down a quiet dirt road in a beautiful river valley off of Montana’s Highway 200 is a magical place called the Hobbit House of Montana. It’s a place where imagination runs wild and free as a bubbling stream tumbles gently down the mountainside. And if you listen closely, you can hear the giggles of the fairies that call this place home. After all, this is a destination that was built around make-believe, imagination and fantasy. And I must say…I loved it.

While en route to the Hobbit House, I let myself imagine what it would be like once I arrived. Sure, I’d visited their website and knew their general location, but I wasn’t sure just how this place would transform fantasy into reality. But did it ever.

After meeting up with the keepers of the Hobbit House, a girlfriend and I embarked on a tour of the well-kept grounds (hobbits and fairies are very tidy). And along our walk, this is what we saw…

Luckily, I was there on party business.

We stumbled upon this quaint fairy home, complete with freshly hung laundry...

...so we paid them a visit.

This is where the trolls (big, ugly ones) live.

The trolliest of the trolls captured Connie...she's smiling because I had JUST finished negotiating her release.

Obviously, I made myself right at home.

My precious.

The Hobbit House, where I laid my hobbit-loving head for the evening.

And after my stay there, I can tell you this: it is a truly magical place.

All fantasy aside, one of the things that impressed me the most was the hospitality and warm welcome that instantly enveloped me upon arriving at this magical oasis in the mountains of Western Montana. The keepers of the Hobbit House, Chris and Steve, left no stone unturned. From sparkling juice in the fridge to specialty made hobbit cookies and “the ring” hanging from the rafters, their attention to detail was a large part of what made my stay there so wonderful.

And now? Well, it’s back to reality. But you better believe that I’ll be making repeat visits to the place where my imagination can run wild and I can delight in the magic of make-believe.

Happy daydreaming,
TT

Touring Montana’s Highway 200

Last week, I took a little overnight trip along Highway 200 in Western Montana. And as I traveled farther north and west away from my home in the “city,” I cruised through the area’s small communities, past fields filled with horses and cattle and some strikingly beautiful scenery.

And I started feeling something. As I continued to drive and soak up my surroundings, I realized what it was…I felt at home.

There’s something about this corner of Western Montana (located about equal distances from Kalispell and Missoula) that is innately special. And while I can’t pinpoint one single thing that makes it that way, I can say this…it delivered exactly what I was looking for at that moment in time.

Cruising Highway 200.

The color of the Flathead River at the Kookoosint Fishing Access Site was stunning.

Hello cutest welcome sign ever.

The Old Jail Museum in Thompson Falls.

When traveling through Tour 200, keep your eyes peeled for bighorn sheep.

Happiness.

I literally cannot wait to go back.
TT

PS: If you’re heading through the Tour 200 area, be sure to stop at Linda’s Montana Gifts & Gallery in Thompson Falls, Sunflower Gallery (it’s an artist co-op with locally crafted Made in Montana furniture, jewelry, photograph and artwork) in Thompson Falls and Auntie Pamela’s Antiques & More in Trout Creek.