Three Forks, Montana
Last month I couldn't wait to get to this old hotel. I'd read that it sits at the heart of the Big Sky State... and I kind of love that image.
The 100+ year hotel will always have a place in my heart... which is maybe not a great image. But why do I love it? Because it has great porches. Oh how I love porches!
Why We Stayed
This image of the front of the hotel, shows the big porch that caught my eye when I saw it on a Facebook post a couple years ago.
I had never heard of the hotel, but my FB friend raved about it. CJ is one of those people who posts comments and thoughts that make me take notice. I read her post and nodded, "Yes!" The hotel went right onto my "Want to Stay There" list!
Having lived in St. Louis for many years, I'm pretty familiar with the tales of Lewis & Clark. I thought it was intriguing to just stay in an area where the young Shoeshone woman, Sacajawea helped guide the famous explorers.
I've heard enough about her hardships to imagine how much she would have appreciated sinking into a warm hotel bed. But there were no hotels when she was in this area 200 years ago.
Bad News...Leads to Good
Don and I almost had to rough it like Sacajawea when we arrived last month. Our reservations didn't show up on the computer and we panicked. It turned out to be a good thing.
They weren't booked and the young woman behind the desk offered us a package with a room upgrade plus $50.00 for dinner... for less than we had expected to pay for our smaller room!
I'll Toast to That!
Then she poured us each a complimentary glass of champagne and used some tongs to grab heated towels from a crock pot.
That's a first for me! I didn't even feel silly standing there scrubbing off a day's worth of road trip grime before moving to the porch for a little sipping and rocking.
Don tends to be less of a rocker than me, so he was pretty delighted to have a choice! What a treat with the late afternoon sun warming the porch, just enough.
It was fun wandering around trying to imagine this hotel when it was built in 1910. The inn catered to wealthy travelers who were headed to Yellowstone, so it was considered more refined than your typical western hotel.
It was also pretty trendy, moving away from the lacy clutter of the old Victorian's. The renovations in 2010 preserved the original Arts & Crafts style, keeping the dark spruce beams and light fixtures.
Our room wasn't huge, but it was a corner room, which I love.
And old doors! Why do I love them so?
Corner rooms give you more windows. The side window looked at a gas station, but the front window gave us a good view, if you ignored the roofs.
The distant mountains were a plus and the little garden with the statue of Sacajawea, was a nice touch.
This and That
There were lots of nice little extras. The towels and shower curtain and even the terry robes had paper "seals" that made them seem extra fresh.
The bathroom was a perfect mix of old and modern and it smelled lovely, with nice bath products. There were chocolates and bottles of water, earplugs (not needed) and even a little spritzer of lavender for the pillow! Yay! I love treats.
There was a great courtyard with umbrella tables and even a side yard with lots of grass and a set up for horseshoes.
I was pretty curious about the red sign that invited us downstairs to the Sacajawea Bar AND VFW Club. You know you're in a small town when the hotel caters to travelers as well as the local VFW. We did check it out and enjoyed a chat when the busy bartender wasn't hustling to serve food and drinks to lots of local families. I got an answer to my #1 question. Yes, I have been pronouncing Sacajawea the way the locals do. (Not the fancy way they say it in the National Geographic documentary)
Pompey Bar and Grill
The bar and restaurant started getting pretty lively as the evening progressed.
We chatted with quite a few guests who were from Montana and had lots of travel suggestions for us. "Fishing licenses aren't required at Glacier National Park. You should pick up a cheap rod at Walmart!" And "Pick up a hitchhiker. It really adds to your travel adventure!" We ended up following just one of those suggestions.
After some socializing, we were ready to slide into a booth and focus on food. Our shared Scotch Egg with Local Potato Sausage was pretty darn tasty. Don's Maple Farms Smoked Duck with Huckleberry Sauce was interesting.
Anaheim Chiles was perfect. But all would have gone down much better without the sounds of the John Goodman Look-a-like guy at the bar...hollering out stories over his martinis. Oh well.
The hotel felt classy, but homey at the same time. The champagne, hot towels, restaurant menu and robes made it feel like a big city hotel. But the buffalo and picnic tables on the side yard tell it all. It's just a big ole country house with shade trees and grass!
They don't make a big deal out of pointing out the fact that an old house (built in 1882) was actually used as the core of this hotel. But I'm pretty sure the homey spirit of the place comes from that. Well... that and the porches! Yay, I love porches!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!