Tag Archives: Play

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.


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.

Win a Montana Raft Trip with Great Northern Resort

With hot temperatures, crazy thunderstorms and long daylight hours in Montana, we’re officially in the heart of summer. Which means it’s time for another giveaway!

Up for grabs this week is a half-day whitewater dinner trip for two with Great Northern Resort in West Glacier this August. And the best part? Not only do you (and a friend) get to participate in a fun whitewater trip, you get to soak in the views of Glacier National Park and its surrounding area as you float the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. Plus, after your knowledgeable and (likely) charming guide navigates your crew over the rapids, he’ll turn into a gourmet chef and whip up a delectable meal for you to enjoy riverside.

This could be you. Heck, you could even be the one playing the air guitar if you want.

To enter to win, leave a comment on this post and tell us what you love most about summertime.

We’ll announce the winner on Friday, July 27, 2012. Comments will close on Thursday, July 26 at 10 PM, Mountain Standard Time.

Happy rafting!

Update: We’re happy to announce that NANCY STONE is the winner of the half-day whitewater dinner trip! Have a wonderful time rafting, Nancy!

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,

PS: Travel deals are available throughout the region for the summer months. Check out the latest deals and coupons.

Destination: Eureka, Montana

With all of the beautiful weather Montana has had lately, the hankering to explore has been calling to me more than ever. And we all know that I’m not one to ignore a hankering…so it was time to make a move.

On a sunshine-filled day, I loaded the car and headed north. My destination?

The quaint community of Eureka, located in northwest Montana’s Tobacco Valley. Literally a six-minute drive south of the Canadian border, Eureka is the first community that greets visitors entering Big Sky Country after crossing the border at Roosville.

And I tell you what, Eureka is CUTE.

It’s home to a 100-year-old theater, antique shops, boutiques, art galleries, lodging options, golf courses and cute diners.

Main Street.

Perhaps the cutest antique store in all of Montana.

Just meeting some friends at my favorite table at Cafe Jax.

Hand-painted shot glasses at Elk Camp Art Gallery and Showroom.

It also offers easy access to Lake Koocanusa (a massive lake that stretches from Montana to Canada) and Ten Lakes Scenic Area.

Watching the sun sink over Lake Koocanusa.

As part of the adventure, I also made the seven-mile drive west of Eureka to Rexford. Rexford is tiny, but definitely a must-see if for no other reason than to fill your tummy at the Koocanusa Cafe (yummy breakfast) or to quench your afternoon thirst with a cold beverage at The Frontier Bar.

I don’t know about you, but this girl is looking forward to many more sunshine-filled adventure days.

Cheers to summer,

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,

These are a Few of my Favorite (Montana) Things

While raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens may have a song about them, I must say they don’t compare to a few of my favorite things…which are early morning sunrises, cutesy small towns, crisp mountain air and sparkling night stars.

And I’m delighted to tell you that in the last few days, this girl was able to see many of my favorite things, plus a hearty helping of some new favorites…

Trapper Peak (seen in the distance) is the highest point in the Bitterroot Mountains.

Montana's state flower: the bitterroot.

Dear Darby, thank you for the welcome. I'm tickled to be here.

Perhaps the cutest bathroom signs in Montana.

Lake Como is absolutely stunning.

I've never met a milkshake I didn't like, but this one from Memories Cafe in Corvallis was delicious.

Every good Montana girl should own a pocket knife.

Locally made huckleberry fudge at The Old West Gallery, Antiques & Candy Store in Darby.

The Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge is a great place for birding and bonding.

Happy weekend,

A Piece of Loveliness: Montana’s Bitterroot Valley

A few days ago, I packed my bags and headed south with two of the loveliest ladies in Montana. Our destination? The Bitterroot Valley. Our goal: To experience as much Montana goodness as our little hearts could handle.

And did we ever.

Here’s a peak at our journey…

The Holt Museum at Travelers' Rest in Lolo.

Birding at Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge.

Montana-style wine glasses.

The Daly Mansion.

Trying on hats at Alpaca Hill Drygoods.

Powder Thursday at Lost Trail Powder Mountain.

A display of barbed wire from the mid- to late-1800s at the Ravalli County Museum.

Root beer (is it delicious!) from Higherground Brewing Co. in Hamilton.

It’s been a great week.

Snow Day!

Happy Friday from Montana! As you may have heard, Western Montana has been being hit with EPIC snowfall. And I don’t use the word epic lightly.

I’m talking about the kind of snowfall that had Lost Trail Powder Mountain receiving 50″ in the last 48 hours, Montana Snowbowl welcoming 26″ in the last 48 hours, Lookout Pass Ski Area garnering 22″ in the last 48 hours, Blacktail Mountain Ski Area welcoming 13″ in the last 48 hours, Whitefish Mountain Resort recording 7″ in the last 48 hours and Turner Mountain Ski Area accumulating 20″ this week.

But instead of telling you, I’d rather show you.

Morning in Missoula.

Fresh powder at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Photo by Brian Schott.

The morning commute in Missoula. Photo by Taylar Robbins.

The Apgar Lookout webcam in Glacier National Park.

Mike Hardisty riding at Lookout Pass. Photo courtesy Lookout Pass.

Happy winter!

PS: If you’re ready to come play in the snow on your winter toy of choice, check out these travel deals from local Montana businesses.

Win Tickets: Film Premiere, Lift Passes & Accommodations

Well folks, it’s official. La Nina is HERE. Not only is she bringing fresh powder, but she’s also bringing the premiere of Warren Miller Entertainment’s “…Like There’s No Tomorrow” to the heart of Glacier Country.

The film will premiere in downtown Missoula on Friday, February 3, 2012 at 8 PM at the Wilma Theatre. In addition to a rowdy celebration and a chance to see some sweet skiing on the big screen, the premiere will also feature raffle prizes and visits from two Warren Miller athletes, Lynsey Dyer and Andy Mahre.

Warren Miller athlete Andy Mahre.

And because we love winter, we’re GIVING AWAY TWO tickets to the premiere, as well as TWO day lift ticket passes to Snowbowl. And, just for fun, we’re including a one night stay at Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Missoula.

To enter, leave a comment on this post and tell us your favorite ski trail in Montana.

We’ll announce a winner on Monday, January 30! Comments will close Monday, January 30 at NOON, Mountain Standard Time.

Happy skiing!

Tickets are $12 and available at The Trail Head, Backcountry Racks and Skis and Rockin Rudy’s. A portion of the proceeds from the show, including $5 from each ticket sold at The Trail Head, will benefit the West Central Montana Avalanche Foundation.

Update: Comments are closed. Congrats to the winner of our giveaway, Travis Allred (the #7 entry) for winning the tickets to the premiere, lift tickets to Snowbowl and an overnight stay in Missoula!

Random Number Generator, Winner Comment #7

Montana: This is Winter Country

Winter arrived late to Western Montana. My guess? She wanted to make an entrance. And that’s fine with me…I’m not going to point fingers, cuss her out or give her the silent treatment. Why? Because she’s here now and let’s face it, she really looks quite lovely.

In the last week, fresh powder has fallen on our ski areas, snowmobile trails and mountain meadows, making everyone around here giddy with excitement, anticipation and a hankering that can only be relieved from playing in the snow.

And play we will.

As part of the Montana experience of winter, several communities host events and activities that showcase this season, and her slightly rambunctious attitude, at its finest. And with so many things to choose from, I’ve compiled some of my suggestions to help ensure that winter treats you like a lady. (Or a gentleman).

Some of my suggestions:

Seeley Lake Winterfest, Seeley Lake
While Seeley Lake is a bootie-kickin’ year-round destination, they do it up right in the winter. Winterfest, held January 20 – 22, features a snow sculpture contest, torchlight parade, bonfire, desserfest (yes, please) and live entertainment. The Seeley Lake Biathlon (featuring skiing and shooting) is also held in conjunction with Winterfest.

A snow sculpture at Seeley Lake’s Winterfest.

Chinese New Year, Hot Springs
Celebrate the Chinese New Year in the cute community of Hot Springs on Saturday, January 21, with festivities including a dragon dance parade, drumming and bio-luminesce fire dancers. The bonus? Catching the fireworks from the outdoor hot springs pool at Symes Hot Springs Hotel.

Whitefish Winter Carnival, Whitefish
Held February 3 – 5, Winter Carnival is really winter at its best. The carnival includes a grand parade, fireworks display, torchlight parade and Black Star Beer Barter. And if you’re up in that neck of the woods in January, attend Whitefish Skijorning, January 27 – 29.

Whitefish Skijoring. Photo by Larry Turner.

Winter Storytelling Series, Lolo
Each year Travelers’ Rest State Park hosts a winter series that celebrates the age-old Salish tradition of sharing history through stories. This winter’s series features talks (held every Saturday) by Kootenai Tribal Members, Salish Tribal Elders, historians and authors.

A cozy cabin in the woods. Photo by Donnie Sexton.

Happy winter,

PS: For sweet travel deals, check out the DEALS page on glaciermt.com.