Tag Archives: Autumn

Top Picks for Fall in Montana

I can feel it in the air. The slight chill of the early morning hours, the gradual changing colors of the leaves, the crispness that seems to be prevalent after the sun goes down. It’s time to face the facts, people. Fall is nearly here. And while I’m not giving into autumn quite yet (hey, I’ve got some summer-like activities left to accomplish), it is indeed time to start thinking about it.

So, since we’re in thinking about fall in Montana mode, I’ve pulled together my top picks and happenings in Western Montana’s Glacier Country this fall. Without further ado, here are the autumn activities that are topping my list…

See fall colors. I know what you’re thinking…”Duh, Tia.” But allow me to elaborate. While I know it doesn’t seem like it, this pretty little place I call home has some stunning fall foliage. Like in a knock-your-socks-off kind of way. Where can you see this type of beauty? Start with the Daly Mansion in Hamilton. The long driveway that leads to the mansion is lined with trees that are literally stunning in autumn.

The driveway leading to the Daly Mansion is filled with colorful foliage. Photo: Donnie Sexton

Hello fall foliage. Photo: Donnie Sexton

Another prime fall color viewing destination is the Seeley-Swan Valley. Keep keep an eye out for the tamarack trees. Their needles turn a lovely color of gold before falling to the ground.

Visit Glacier National Park. Secret time: Glacier National Park is stunning in September and October. And hardly anyone goes to the park during the fall, making it one of the quiet and most peaceful times to take in the Crown of the Continent. First things first, drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This year, the last day to drive the road in its entirety is September 21. But, you’ll still be able to access Logan Pass from the west side all the way through October 19.
A bit of advice: Pack layers. Temperatures can change quickly and it’s always a good idea to pack a jacket, fleece, etc. when you’re visiting. 

Fall in Glacier National Park. Photo: Corrie Holloway

Fall in Glacier National Park. Photo: Corrie Holloway

Watch dragon boats race on Flathead Lake. This September 13 – 14, teams of dragon boat paddlers will gather at Flathead Lake Lodge in Bigfork and race on Flathead Lake in 46-foot-long dragon boats. And while it’s a fun event to participate in, it’s just as fun to go and watch the teams compete. Plus, the festival has local food and drink, as well as Made in Montana vendors.

An aerial view of the races. Photo: Gravity Shots

An aerial view of the races. Photo: Gravity Shots

Sample 100+ Montana beers at the Montana Brewers Festival in Missoula. Every year, the Montana Brewers Association hosts a fall beer festival and this year, it’s taking place at Caras Park in Missoula on Saturday, October 11. To sum it up: If you love beer, you should make plans to be at this festival.

Three cheers for Montana beer. Photo: Donnie Sexton

Three cheers for Montana beer. Photo: Donnie Sexton

What’s on your list for this fall?

xo,
TT

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

Soaking up Fall in Montana

This fall has been one for the record books. The past few weeks have brought crisp days, a bright blue sky, moody and mysterious storm clouds and the stunning colors of autumn. But instead of me telling you all about it, I’d rather you see it for yourself.

Here’s a look at fall in Western Montana’s Glacier Country

Highway 2 heading toward Glacier National Park.

Highway 2 heading toward Glacier National Park.

Oh, Missoula.

Oh, Missoula.

Taking in the colors near East Glacier Park.

Taking in the colors near East Glacier Park.

An evening stroll along Elk Creek.

An evening stroll along Elk Creek.

Country roads, take me home.

Country roads, take me home.

The changing colors of the western larch or tamarack.

The changing colors of the western larch (tamarack).

Looking out over Missoula from Mount Sentinel.

Looking out over Missoula from Mount Sentinel.

Cruising Montana Highway 200.

Cruising Montana Highway 200.

Exploring a Montana backroad.

Exploring a Montana backroad.

Happy, happy fall.
TT

Montana: We’re Open

Due to the Federal Government shutdown, Glacier National Park is closed. And to put it simply, it’s a bummer.

But you know what’s not a bummer? There are so many things to see and do in Western Montana outside of the park. After all, our region is home to charming small towns, plentiful hiking and biking trails, local Montana breweries and scenic backroads that lead to adventure and an opportunity to find your own Montana moment.

Sampling locally made beer at Kettlehouse in Missoula.

Sampling locally made beer at Kettlehouse in Missoula.

Because I’m a bit bossy (it’s okay, I’ve come to embrace it), I’ve rounded up some activities and things to do if you plan on playing in Western Montana this fall. After all, while our national parks may be closed for the time being, Montana is indeed open.

Take a (Scenic) Drive
It seems like no matter which way you go in Montana, chances are you’ll find one of our scenic drives. Some of my personal favorites include cruising up to the Northfork to Polebridge, venturing off on a backcountry road near Eureka and taking in the sights and colors along the West Fork Road south of Darby.

Cruising the Seeley-Swan Valley.

Cruising the Seeley-Swan Valley.

Go Fish
As a Montana girl, it probably comes as no surprise that fly-fishing is one of my loves. (You may recall my love of fly-fishing from this post). While I don’t claim to be an avid or expert fisherman, I can tell you with conviction that nothing soothes my soul quite like fly-fishing. If you’re looking to cast a line in Western Montana, I’d suggest taking to the waters of the Bitterroot River and the Blackfoot River.

Putting in on the Bitterroot River just south of Darby.

Putting in on the Bitterroot River just south of Darby.

View Fall Foliage
While Montana may not be the first place you think of for viewing fall foliage, the state certainly delivers, especially if you’re smitten with yellows and golds. Top fall foliage viewing routes include the Seeley-Swan Valley on Highway 83, the Missoula Valley (best viewed by walking the trail along the Clark Fork River or hiking the M for a complete view of the valley) and the Bitterroot Valley on Highway 93. If you’re looking to get off-the-beaten path in the Bitterroot, venture off on the East Side Highway.

A look at fall in the Mission Valley, courtesy of Donnie Sexton.

A look at fall in the Mission Valley, courtesy of Donnie Sexton.

 Fall Events
This autumn is packed with fun upcoming events throughout Western Montana. Of note: Great Northwest Oktoberfest in Whitefish October 3 – 5; Scarecrow Festival in Stevensville October 5; Tamarack Time and Brewfest in Seeley Lake October 11 – 13; and Tamarack Time! in Bigfork October 19. An added bonus: Great Northwest Oktoberfest was just named one of the top Oktoberfest events in that nation by SheKnows.com

And if you have questions? Call us at 800.338.5072. Our travel counselors can help you make plans to experience the best of fall in our neck of the woods.

xo,
TT

September in Montana: Cool Autumn Events

Well, it’s here. Filled with gorgeous colors and delicious smells, the beautiful, glorious first month of fall is upon us. Along with its pleasant arrival, September in Montana also brings noteworthy area events.

Check ’em out…

Montana Dragon Boat Festival in Bigfork
Happening THIS WEEKEND (Saturday and Sunday) at Flathead Lake Lodge, Montana Dragon Boat Festival brings teams of ferocious (or in the case of the Glacier Country team–fun and silly) paddlers to navigate the waters of Flathead Lake as they race against other dragon boat teams. The event is open to spectators and features live music, food and drinks. Spectators are welcome to come watch and cheer on the teams of paddlers as they compete on the largest natural freshwater lake in the West.

A team makes their way onto the course on Flathead Lake.

A team paddles onto the course on Flathead Lake.

Germanfest in Missoula
Taking place Sunday, September 8 at Caras Park in downtown Missoula, Germanfest includes singing and dancing, German food and beer and plenty of kid’s activities.

Nordicfest in Libby
Coming up September 13 – 15, Nordicfest celebrates the area’s Scandinavian heritage of Montana’s northwest corner with style and flair. A cool event, it includes a Fjord horse show, live music, a Viking encampment, parade, children’s events and a craft show.

Founders Day Celebration in Stevensville
Marking 172 years of the St. Mary Mission, this year’s Founders Day Celebration will be held September 22. The celebration includes ringing of the St. Mary Mission bell, a Salish presentation and tours of the historic mission and its grounds.

The historic St. Mary's Mission.

The historic St. Mary’s Mission.

Great Northwest Oktoberfest in Whitefish
Held over TWO weekends (September 26 – 28 and October 3 – 5), Whitefish’s Great Northwest Oktoberfest is a kick-up-your-heels event that includes authentic Bavarian food, log-sawing competitions, stein-holding contests, traditional music and keg-hurling championships.

Free Entry to Glacier National Park
While it’s not really an event, the National Park Service is offering fee free entry to Glacier National Park on September 28 in honor of National Public Lands Day. Entry for the entire day is free and autumn is one of the best times to see the park.

The west entrance to Glacier National Park.

The west entrance to Glacier National Park.

Montana Brewer’s Fall Festival in Missoula
If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that Montana has good beer. Putting their goods on display on September 28 at Missoula’s Caras Park, breweries from across Montana will showcase their locally made brews. Round out the day of tasting Montana with live music and local food.

This year's festival features beer from more than 20 Montana breweries.

This year’s festival features beer from more than 20 Montana breweries.

September, this girl salutes you.
TT

Fall in Glacier National Park: Enter to Win a Two-Night Stay

This girl has big news for you: We’re throwing a going away party for summer and a welcome party for fall! After all, summer is awesome and fall is jaw-droppingly beautiful and when two seasons as lovely as these have such a cordial hand-off, it only seems appropriate to give them proper accolades.

A picture perfect meeting of summer and fall. A picture perfect meeting of summer and fall.

What exactly is happening at this party? Truth be told, it’s only made up of one thing…A GIVEAWAY!

What can you win?
A) A chance to experience fall foliage in Montana.
B) A two-night stay in West Glacier, Montana.

During your two nights of soaking up fall in Western Montana, you’ll bunk at Great Northern Resort on the edge of Glacier National Park.

The cozy chalets at Great Northern Resort. The cozy chalets at Great Northern Resort.

This could be your cozy abode. This is your room.

The view from the deck at one of Great Northern Resort's chalets. The view from the deck at one of Great Northern Resort’s chalets.

Enter to win by leaving a comment on this post, telling me what you love most about fall in Montana. And if you haven’t been here yet? No worries. Tell me what you think you’ll love the most.

Comments will close on Monday, September 9 at 10 p.m., MST and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, September 10.

So go on…Tell me what YOU love most about autumn in Montana.

xo,
TT

UPDATE: Kim Smith was the winner of a two-night stay in Glacier National Park. Congrats, Kim! Enjoy Glacier National Park!

Fall in Montana

This morning, I headed out the door bound for work. And while Montana is still in the trenches of summer, I felt something completely different. A new feeling that could only mean one thing—fall.

And while I’m not trying to rush summer out the door (I literally want her to stay as long as possible), I couldn’t help but let my mind water to fall in Western Montana.

My mind wandered to this scene of the Flathead River, taken last fall.

An early morning on the Flathead River, taken last fall.

It’s just that fall is so lovely. It’s filled with mild temperatures, changing colors, perfect fly-fishing conditions and a delicious breeze that manages to combine fresh, crisp mountain air with the warm smell of sun-drenched grass, pumpkins and cider.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is how I can share the awesomeness of fall in Montana with you. Because let’s get serious…you and I both know that my beloved Montana is not one of the first places you think of when you think of awesome fall destinations.

But, it should be. Here’s why…

Fall Colors
I’m calling it: Montana is an up-and-coming fall foliage viewing destination. While we may not have the gorgeous colors of Michigan or the spectacular array of reds found on the east coast, Montana gets its shine on in the form of brilliant shades of yellows and golds, with splashes of reds and oranges in the underbrush.

Autumn colors in Glacier National Park.

Autumn colors in Glacier National Park. Photo: Donnie Sexton.

Glacier National Park
While the height of visitation to my most favorite place happens during July and August, as far as I’m concerned September and October are totally the belle of the ball in terms of times to visit Glacier National Park. Why? a) The crowds are gone. b) The hiking trails are open and you and your hiking buddy may be the only one on them. c) The fall colors combined with the peaks are a site to see. d) Time restrictions on cyclists biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road are lifted after Labor Day.

A shoulder season trip with Glacier Park Boat Company in Two Medicine.

A shoulder season trip with Glacier Park Boat Company in Two Medicine.

Fishing
To be honest, there’s no time of year I’d rather fly-fish in Western Montana than autumn. I think it’s the quietness of the river, the crisp edge in the air and the relaxation that comes along with it.

Fishing on the Bitterroot River. Photo courtesy of Mike Brodwater

Fishing on the Bitterroot River. Photo: Mike Brodwater

Golf
Even though I may not be known for my stellar golf game, I can still appreciate a beautiful course that plays nicely. You know what else I appreciate? A golf season that reaches into the shoulder season so people like me can hit the links and not be afraid of hitting other golfers.

Epic Events
Montana has some sweet fall events. Topping my personal list are Montana Dragon Boat Festival on Flathead Lake, Montana Brewers Festival in Missoula, Great Northwest Oktoberfest in Whitefish and Scarecrow Festival in Stevensville.

Paddles up!

Paddles up!

Wishing you a fun-filled and delicious smelling fall,
TT

An Autumn Wedding in Montana

There are a lot of things that happen because two people fall in love. One of the main results? A wedding. And this, my friends is what this story is about.

A few weeks ago, many family and friends from near and far traveled to Bigfork, Montana to help celebrate the marriage of a Montana girl and a North Dakota boy. (Quite the combo, eh? ;))

Held at BruMar Estate just outside of Bigfork, the wedding combined some of the best things in the world: family, friends, babies, grandmas, love, dancing, delicious cake, laughter, autumn and Montana. And it was lovely.

Here are a few of my favorite moments from that day.

The sweet flower girl passing the time as the big girls got ready.

Loveliness. Photo by B2 Photography in Whitefish, Montana.

The photographer (B2 Photography in Whitefish, Montana) captured the moment perfectly.

One bride and her five maids.

Here’s to love.

xo,
TT

Soaking Up Montana Moments

Ready for some sappiness from your (hopefully) favorite messy-haired blond friend? If not, you better buckle up because it’s coming straight at you.

Here’s the thing. There are moments in life that stop me in my tracks. Little experiences, sites and interactions that snap me back to attention. And while words don’t seem to be coming easily to me today, I will say this: Montana is magic. It feeds my soul.

Lake McDonald on a crisp fall day.

The Rocky Mountain Front. I'm sure there is no fresher air in the world than the wind that sweeps off these mountains.

On a recent trip north, I was stopped for construction. Looking up, this was my view. (I see you Flathead Lake).

Glacier National Park during a late fall storm.

Driving down a country road and not knowing what's around the bend.

Perfection. Mainly because it reminds me of my grandpa.

A perfect morning.

My street.

Love.

Here’s to many more perfect moments.

xo,
TT

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