Glacier Park Montana in September 2015
This was our second night in Glacier National Park, at our second lodge. We had to grin. "It's another Swiss style lodge!"
Getting there was half the fun. The drive from one lodge to the next included a spectacular drive on a scenic road, with a curious name...winding around Swiss style mountains, of course!
Swiss Cottage with a Bit of Old West
The lobby was not quite as large as the one at Many Glacier Hotel, but to me it was more impressive. It extended up to the 3rd floor with rustic railings and log support beams. The lantern style light fixtures with their colorful Native American symbols dangled from the dim ceiling like some sort of modern Calder mobile.
The rustic décor of the lodge felt homey. The fact that guests just sat down and played the old piano now and then shows how "at home" people felt. It even looked like the mounted animals were enjoying the music. If only the massive fireplace had been lit! Although maybe they were trying not to draw attention to stonework with primitive carvings. Maybe they get tired of explaining to people that the swastika symbol belonged to the Native Americans long before Hitler adopted it. This hotel was built over 100 years ago.
There was nothing loggy about our room, #313. You have to pay bigger bucks at most lodges to get the "original style rooms". But there were 2 beds for Mama and Papa Bear and Baby Bear would have loved the doors that opened to a sweet little balcony with a (slightly) pine obstructed view of Lake Mc Donald!
A View and a Bath!
The warm fall weather allowed us to open the doors and let in the beautiful view. The bathroom was pretty much what I've grown to expect from National Parks. But how can you complain when you think about what those rich Easterners endured on their travels to the lodge in 1913. And then they had to wash up in shared baths down the hall!
Sink Note: It was a little amusing trying to wash my face. The thin glass shelf above the sink prevented my water-filled hands from reaching my face... if that makes sense.
The third floor balcony gave us a good peek at the critters that John Lewis once trapped and hunted. I would never be able to kill one of these beautiful beasts of the west, but I admit I did love studying their sweet faces. You don't ever get to be up close and personal with animals like this, not even in the zoo.
The Lodge's Best Face
The back of the lodge, that faces the lake is the prettiest! Our room was on the upper right side, above the stucco... where you see the brown clapboard and carved, white trim.
From our room we could see the old wooden boat touring on the lake. The weather was ideal, so we bought tickets for the 3:00 tour.
I stayed on the boat till the passengers departed to get a shot of the old wooden bench seats. During the ride, the seats were filled. Our Ranger/Guide told amusing and interesting stories while passengers shuffled around, shifting seats and levels for new views, now and then.
Disturbing the Glassy Water
There was limited room in the outside areas and on the upper deck. It was worth waiting in line for an upstairs visit, to see the glassy water, twisting behind the boat.
Even our guide seemed impressed with the lack of wind. These boat rides can be pretty chilly on gusty days. We lucked out, once again!
Best Time of Day
The back patio, with hanging flower baskets and and massive log furniture was ideal for an evening glass of wine and beer. I snatched a rocker and was in heaven as I gazed down the hill towards the water. I did have to make a dash down the stairway at one point, for a photo! Then it was back to my rocker and time to chat with the others who were also enjoying the view. There were such interesting people, from far away places, sharing the lodge.
A Dining Adventure
How can you not have a great dinner in a room that looks like this? But I knew we'd be having some extra fun, since I was traveling with my vintage cookbook, put out by Ford Motor Company. The book usually promotes a little fun.
The dining room was busy, so I didn't want to distract our server, Breezy about the book. I just asked, "Do you have Beef Steak Stroganoff?" which was clearly not on the menu. She laughed and said she wished they did. I told her I was really surprised they didn't have it, but I would order Bison Meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes and beans. Don had a smoked trout and all was delicious!
Breezy rushed over to share the cookbook with the hostess. They studied the lodge photo and recipe and couldn't believe such a book existed. We told them we have a few of these old Ford Books and have made a game of visiting the places that haven't disappeared. Breezy posed with us in front of the old fireplace.
There was cozy mix of 3 worlds in this lodge! The Swiss chalet, the Old West Ranch and the Native American Theme, all blended perfectly for me. It was the right size and cluttered with comfy reminders of the past. One of my favorites!
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!