Tag Archives: Farmers Markets

Top Activities: May in Montana

Oh, hello spring. It’s good to see you. So good in fact that I think you deserve a hoop, holler and maybe even a curtsy. After all, you and I both know that this winter was a bit of a long one. Not that I’m complaining…because I’m totally not. After all, our snowpack levels are off the charts and that alone practically guarantees a fun summer!

Spring was being mysterious in Glacier National Park's Two Medicine Valley in early May.

Spring was being mysterious in Glacier National Park’s Two Medicine Valley in early May.

Anyway, earlier this week I was chatting with a pal of mine and he was lamenting that he wasn’t sure what to do on spring weekends in Western Montana. His quandary? He wanted to be able to take to the outdoors but wasn’t sure where to start and which areas were open. I could feel his pain (this girl certainly doesn’t want to drive somewhere only to find out a trail system isn’t open yet) so I did some investigative research and rounded up the top activities for May in Western Montana.

Kerr Dam near Polson
If you’re a nerd like me and you’ve been keeping up with snowpack levels in Western Montana, you probably already know that our snowpack is sitting between 100 percent to 160 percent in various mountain ranges. This means that once the spring thaw kicks into high gear, Flathead Lake will take in massive amounts of water. To prep for the incoming water, Kerr Dam (located on the southwest corner of the lake) has many of its gates open to release some of its current holdings. Be sure to walk down to the boardwalk for a view of the dam and canyon.

The gates at Kerr Dam.  Photo: Alicia Pierce

The gates at Kerr Dam.
Photo: Alicia Pierce

National Bison Range, Moiese
In my many road trips up and down Highway 93 this month, there has been at least one bison standing in plain view from its perch on the rolling terrain of the National Bison Range. In addition to being stunning animals, many of the mama bison have had their calves which makes May the perfect time to head to the range. Personally, I recommend taking Red Sleep Drive (a 19-mile one-way road that travels through the range) for wildlife watching combined with stunning views of the Mission Valley and nearby Mission Mountains.

The view looking west from Red Sleep Drive.

The view looking west from Red Sleep Drive.

The Whitefish Trail, Whitefish
If you’re into hiking or biking, The Whitefish Trail (located just west of town) is the place for you.

The Whitefish Trail earlier this week. Photo: Jess Downing

The Whitefish Trail earlier this week. Photo: Jess Downing

Be sure to check out Woods Lake, the newest section of the trail, for views of Whitefish Lake, Woods Lake and the Whitefish Mountain Range.

Glacier National Park
I know I’ve said it before but I’m totally saying it again: May is the perfect time to bike the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. The road is currently closed to vehicular traffic at Avalanche on the west side which means bikers have free reign of the road from Avalanche up to the Loop. Or if you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, you can hike the road as well.

Biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.

Biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.

Or you can take to some of the trails in the area, including Apgar Lookout, Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Lake. Keep in mind that some portions of the trails may be muddy and you may encounter a bit of snow, especially in shaded areas.

Side note: Wildlife, including bears, are active in Glacier National Park. Be sure you make noise on the trail and hike with bear spray.

Farmers Markets
With the arrival of May, farmers markets are starting throughout the region. Be sure to check out markets in Kalispell, Missoula, Polson and Ronan for local goods.

The People's Market in Missoula.

The People’s Market in Missoula.

Missoula Hiking Trails
For a quick hike in town, consider the hike to the M on Mount Sentinel. Hikers can make it up and down in around an hour and you’ll see a bird’s eye view of the Garden City.

Missoula from Mount Sentinel.  Photo: Chris Mickey

Missoula from Mount Sentinel.
Photo: Chris Mickey

Located a short drive from Missoula, Pattee Canyon is home to abundant hiking and biking trails. An added bonus? Spend some time hiking here and you’ll see plenty of wildflowers, including wild clematis, trilliums and glacier lillies. The 27 miles of trails have been cleared for the season, so if you’re looking for friendly and easily navigable trails, this area has you covered.

Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana, Charlo
For a heaping serving of Montana history, check out Ninepipes Museum. Located at the base of the Mission Mountains, the museum has an extensive collection from the area’s early settlers, as well as American Indian beadwork and clothing. After perusing the museum, head over to Allentown Restaurant at Ninepipes Lodge for lunch or dinner and take in the view from their dining room.

The view from Allentown Restaurant.

The view from Allentown Restaurant.

Your turn…what are some of your favorite adventures in May?


Memorial Day Weekend in Montana

Happy Memorial Day weekend! Around these parts, Memorial Day weekend is the official kick-off to the summer season, filled to the brim with kick-in-the-pants Montana events and activities designed to welcome summer with open arms.

Sidenote: In case you haven’t noticed, Montana (especially in the spring) can be a bit temperamental. Heck, we’ve even been known to call her a drama queen. But drama or not, we still love the gorgeous girl. ‘Just be sure to roll with the punches and pack appropriate attire to be ensure you stay cozy all weekend long.

To help make this weekend one for the record books, your messy-haired Montana-lovin’ blond friend created a “Top 10 Things to do in Western Montana this Memorial Day” list. (That’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it?)

Biking in Glacier National Park
May 25 – 27
There are no time restrictions in place for bicyclists on the Going-to-the-Sun Road this weekend, which means cyclists can ride to their heart’s delight on open portions of the road. An added bonus: biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road is one of the most memorable ways to experience the park.

Biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Bigfork Whitewater Festival
May 25 & 26
While this year marks the 38th year for the Bigfork Whitewater Festival, it’s also the year that the festival is mixing it up and adding new events and races to the roster. New this year: raft races, a Stand-Up Paddle Board Race, triathlon and kid’s activities. Rounding out the weekend is the Whitewater Weekend Jam, with live music on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Zip lines at Whitefish Mountain Resort
May 25 – 27, Call 877.SKI.FISH
While the mountain officially opens for the summer season on June 15, zip lines are rocking and rolling this weekend! Tours go rain or shine (luckily for us!), so be sure to wear a rain jacket and closed-toed shoes.

Flying high above Big Mountain at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Flying high above Big Mountain at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Loon & Fish Festival, Seeley Lake
May 24 – 26
This free community event celebrates local art and wildlife, with art demonstrations, wildlife programs, films and children’s activities.

St. Regis Annual Flea Market
May 25 – 27
As Montana’s flea largest market, this is a not-to-be-missed event. Scoop up local bargains, fill your bellies on Montana treats and bask in the treasures found at more than 200 vendor booths in St. Regis.

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Bigfork
May 24 & 25
Okay, so it’s not a real spelling bee, but the Bigfork Summer Theater’s performance of the “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” is sure to be a crowd-pleaser with enough laughs to make your weekend a happy one.

Farmers Markets
May 25
The communities of Bigfork, Hamilton, Kalispell, Missoula and Stevensville are hosting farmers markets on Saturday, where you can pick up a plethora of local goodness.

Soak up the sun at the Missoula Farmers Market. ('Just be sure to bring a jacket!)

Soak up the sun at the Missoula Farmers Market. (‘Just be sure to bring a jacket!)

Live Tunes at The Raven, Woods Bay
May 24 – 26
Situated on the shore of Flathead Lake, The Raven is hosting live music all weekend long! The Lil’ Smokies will be busting their tunes Friday night, followed by DJs spinning sweet beats on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Kids’ Day at the Carousel, Missoula
May 25
Happy 18th birthday to A Carousel for Missoula! In honor of their birthday, the Carousel is giving away free rides ALL day on Saturday. Happy birthday to you, you lovely little treasure!

Celebrate the Carousel's birthday with a ride on one of the hand-carved horses.

Celebrate the Carousel’s birthday with a ride on one of the hand-carved horses.

Tunes at Symes Hot Springs, Hot Springs
May 24 – 26
Kick back and soak in the natural hot springs at Symes Hot Springs Hotel. In honor of Memorial Day, the hotel is hosting live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. PS: Be sure to swing over to Camas Organic Market for weekend treats.

Wishing you all a safe, happy, fun-filled and relaxing Memorial Day weekend!


May in Montana: Farmers Markets

The arrival of May means one thing in Montana. The season of farmers markets is upon us. And this girl is a firm believer in the fact that strolling through a local farmers market is one of the best ways to experience a community’s culture and some of the best of what they have to offer.

Sidetrack time: Last summer I was able to visit a friend in Mexico City. We hit all of the highlights of the city and I loved each and every moment that was spent there. But I’ll never forget the morning we spent at a local market. The smells and the energy, combined with an insightful look at the city’s culture, introduced me to a side of the city that I hope I never forget.

Dancers in Mexico City.

Dancers in Mexico City.


While I may be overly sentimental, I’m holding firm to the belief that local markets are a fantastic way to immerse yourself into a destination’s culture. And the farmers markets that are found throughout Western Montana’s Glacier Country are no exception. Leisurely strolling through a market on a sunny Montana day will give you a pleasant and fresh look at what makes each community so special.

Bigfork Farmers Market
Wednesdays (3 p.m. – 6 p.m.) and Saturdays (9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.) – June to October
Embracing all things local, this market provides products grown or made in Montana, including produce, plants, flowers, baked goodies, jams, jellies and hand-crafted arts and crafts.

Columbia Falls Farmers Market
Thursdays (5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.) – mid-June to mid-September at Pinewood Park
This small town market combines live music with a family friendly atmosphere, as well as local arts and crafts, tasty food and produce.

Darby Farmers Market
Tuesdays (12 p.m. – 6 p.m.) – May to October at S. Main Street Park
Soak up small town charm and snag fresh produce, jams, soaps and crafts.

Eureka Farmers Market
Wednesdays (4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.) – May to September at Riverside Park
A hotbed of local talent and goodies, this market features produce, bedding, baked goods and arts and crafts from local Tobacco Valley artists.

It's farmers market time in Eureka, Montana.

It’s farmers market time in Eureka, Montana.

Hamilton Farmers Market
Saturdays (9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) – May  to October at Bedford, Second and Third streets
With more than 150 vendors all from Ravalli County, this lively market includes fresh organic produce, locally raised beef, alpaca wool, jewelry and locally harvested wood furniture.

Hand-woven baskets. Photo: Donnie Sexton

Hand-woven baskets. Photo: Donnie Sexton

Kalispell Farmers Market
Saturdays (9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.) – May to October at Flathead Valley Community College
One of the oldest markets in the state, the Kalispell Farmers Market boasts a variety of goodies, including arts and crafts, meat and eggs, native plants, iron works, woven rugs, woodwork, handspun yarns, photograph and fresh produce.

Libby Farmers Market
Thursdays (12 p.m. – 5 p.m.) – May to September at Libby Chamber of Commerce
This market features live music entertainment, as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, crafts and baked goods.

Missoula Markets
Tuesdays (5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.) – July & August; Saturdays (8 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – May to October at North Higgins and under the Higgins Street Bridge
An integral part of summer in Missoula, farmers markets feature fresh local produce, baked goods, organic dairy products, locally brewed coffee, flowers and crafts. An added bonus: The People’s Market is just up the street and is held every Saturday through the summer.

Live music in Missoula.

Live music in Missoula.

Polson Farmers Market
Fridays (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – mid-May to October
Located at the southern end of Flathead Lake, this market offers fresh farm produce, flowers, wood crafts, jewelry, photography and soap products.

Stevensville Farmers Market
Saturdays (May to October)
Located in the heart of downtown, the Stevensville market features local goods.

Seeley Lake Farmers Market
Sundays (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) – June to September
This outdoor market features locally grown produce, as well as artists and local food vendors.

Thompson Falls Farmers Market
Saturdays (9 a.m. – 12 p.m.) – June to September at Rose Garden Park
This community market is known for its locally grown produce, craft items and baked goods, as well as handicrafts created by local area artists that include paintings, leatherwork, pottery and quilts.

West Glacier Farmers Market
Fridays (3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.) – June to Labor Day 
This quaint afternoon market showcases local products from farmers and artisans. Bonus: It’s steps away from the west entrance of Glacier National Park.

Whitefish Farmers Market
Tuesdays (5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.) – May to September at Central Avenue & Depot Park
One of the liveliest markets in the region, the Whitefish Farmers Market features live music, fresh herbs and spices, food vendors, produce and locally made arts and crafts.

The Whitefish market features a different musician each week.

The Whitefish market features a different musician each week.


A Missoula Good Time

Last week, I met up with five lovely ladies for a trip centered around the garden city of Missoula. We only had a few days together and decided to pack in as much action, character and food as we could.

And pack it in we did.

For the first night of our trip, we headed up to Ten Spoon Winery in the Rattlesnake Valley. While the wine (all organic mind you) got rave reviews, the thing that stood out to me the most was the setting. Located just minutes from downtown Missoula, it gave me the feeling that we were miles away from the hustle and bustle of modern life.

The vineyard at Ten Spoon Winery.

And because we needed to work off our food and wine, the next morning we hiked the “M” on Mount Sentinel. While we got our legs burning and our sweat on under Montana’s big blue sky and beaming sun, we were rewarded with a beautiful view of the city at the top.

A few of my traveling companions after making it to the M.

We also toured the Smokejumper Visitor Center and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Visitor Center, hit up Downtown Tonight, took fly-fishing lessons from Grizzly Hackle, enjoyed the local Saturday markets and rafted the iconic Blackfoot River with 10,000 Waves. I also had the smoothest trail ride of my life with Dunrovin Ranch on their Tennessee Walking Horses.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Learning to cast with Bryce and Ben.

Ready to raft!

Not to be left out, we gave much of our attention to Missoula’s incredible restaurants, with stops at Red Bird Wine Bar for their champagne fondue (one of my all time faves), The Catalyst (nothing says summer like their Caesar salad–for reals), Scotty’s Table (their lemon cheesecake is smooth, creamy and light), Hob Nob, The Shack, Finn & Porter (where I had the best yogurt/granola/fresh berry combination to date) and Lolo Creek Steakhouse where the highlight–besides the steak–was the coconut macaroon sundae. So delicious.

The grill at Lolo Creek Steak House.

It was one Missoula good time.

Until next week,

Farmers Markets – Don’t Mind If I Do

Each summer, I anxiously anticipate Saturday morning. And it’s not just because it’s the weekend! It’s because I know at the end of my street in Missoula, the Farmers Market is waiting for me. Vibrant fresh flowers, pulled from the garden vegetables and warm baked bread are waiting for me just a few steps away. Maybe it’s because I’m a farmers market lover, but the flowers always tend to smell a little better, the sun shines a little brighter and the carrots and peas are just a tad crunchier. Ahhhh, I love summer!
Farmers Markets in Glacier Country
Missoula Farmers Market
Tuesday, 5:45 PM – 7:15 PM, July & August
Saturday, 9 AM – Noon, Mid-May to Mid-October

Missoula Saturday Arts & Crafts
Saturday, 9 AM – 1 PM
Clark Fork River Market:
Saturday, 8 AM – 1 PM

Whitefish Downtown Farmers Market
Tuesday, 5 PM – 7:30 PM, May – September

West Glacier Farmers Market
Thursday, 4:30 PM – 7:30 PM, Mid-June – Labor Day