• Hotel Montaña de Fuego Resort & Spa in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. Courtesy photo

    How to stay in ‘Montana’ when you’re outside the Big Sky State

    We don’t usually like to make suggestions about places to go that send you away from Montana.

    But if you must, here’s a fun story about the options you’ve got if you want to stay in Montana while out of state (or the country). Missoulian reporter Vince Devlin found more than a few places that have borrowed the Montana state name:

    Homes away from home: You can see a lot of the world and stay in a ‘Montana’ hotel

    By Vince Devlin

    If you’re a world traveler who likes to feel at home, here’s good news: On five continents, in 45 nations, in more than 100 cities and villages around the globe, you can spend the night in Montana.

    It may be the Hotel Montana, the Montana Hotel, the Montana Hostel, the Montana Motel, the Montana Vista Hotel, the Montana Guest House, the Villa Montana Beach Resort, the Montana Lodge or – if you’re in Indonesia – the “Montana Boutique Resort and WaterBoom.”

    Only a couple of them are co-opting our state’s name, of course. Most are likely doing what we did – latching onto the Spanish word for “mountain.”

    Still, you can be strolling down the Rue la Fayette in Paris, driving down Cyanika Road in Rwanda, taking in a concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London, visiting the Beshtak Palace in Cairo, birdwatching in northern Argentina, sailing past the northwest tip of Puerto Rico, hiking the Lycian Way in Turkey or skiing in the Austrian, Swiss, Italian or French Alps and find, nearby, lodging with “Montana” in the name.

    If you’re in the United States, however, near as we can tell, you’ll have to be in Montana to spend the night in a motel named the same as the state – and those choices will be few and far between.

    ***

    Hotel Montana in Fiss, Austria. Courtesy photo

    Hotel Montana in Fiss, Austria. Courtesy photo

    If you’re wondering which of these 100-plus hotels would be most interesting to visit, we can probably save you some time.

    The remote Montana Magica Lodge in the South American nation of Chile looks like it would fit the bill.

    The lodge is, after all, inside a man-made volcano that erupts (with water, not lava) and turns the rocky outside of the cone-shaped lodge, which is covered with moss and vines native to the rainforest, into a circular waterfall.

    Montana Magica Lodge is located in the Huilo-Huilo Biological Reserve, a private, for-profit nature preserve dedicated to ecotourism.

    Google the lodge, take a look at the images, and we think you’ll agree: If you could only visit one “Montana” hotel, this would likely be it, because you’re not likely to find anything – by any name – like it anywhere else in the world.

    ***

    If you can visit two, there’s a myriad of possibilities for a runner-up choice. Among them:

    • The Montana Pine Resort Hotel and Spa in Oludeniz, Turkey. On the Aegean Sea, Oludeniz is renowned for its beaches, although the resort itself is located 400 meters above sea level in “a sea of Mediterranean pine trees,” and in the shadow of Mount Babadag. Mount Babadag is famed for its paragliding opportunities, and the resort owns its own yacht and offers guests the “Montana Boat Cruise” on Fethiye Bay.

    • A-Montana Resort in the Sarangani Province of the Philippines. The rooms are on stilts, built above water, and it was originally a private getaway for friends and family of a businessman from the city of General Santos.

    • The Montana Art Deco Hotel in Lucerne, Switzerland. Overlooking Lake Lucerne, this four-star “palace hotel” opened in 1910 – just in time for a little downturn in the tourism industry known as World War I – but has persevered. For 18 years, from the 1970s to the 1990s, it closed each winter so that it could be returned to its art deco roots.

    • The Montana Hut in Koh Kood, Thailand. The five river-view bungalows and wooden house with three sea-view rooms on Khlong Hin Beach is remote – its island home is reachable only by boat – and the little resort’s website cautions that “a small dirt road connects Montana Hut to the main road. At night this road is only for experienced drivers, though, it’s dark and can be bumpy.”

    • The Luma Casa de Montana in Villa La Angostura, Argentina. In the foothills of the Patagonian Andes, on Nahuel Huapi Lake and in Nahuel Huapi National Park – twice the size of Glacier National Park – this hotel looks like a quiet, scenic place to spoil yourself. Leave the kids at home, though. No one under 16 is allowed.

    Read the rest of the story here

  • Ivan O'Neill is one of the founding members of the Over the Hill Gang. Photo by Beck Lomax

    Meet the founders of Glacier’s longest-running hiking group

    Planning a hike in Glacier National Park anytime soon? Here’s a story you’ll want to read.

    Imagine hiking in park once a week for the past 39 years.

    Photo by Becky Lomax

    Photo by Becky Lomax

    Introducing the Over the Hill Gang:

    Story and photos by Becky Lomax

    On a gray drippy day, a group of 16 Flathead Valley hikers, ages 60 to mid-80, eyeball the pouring rain.

    Inside their restaurant meeting place on the west side of Glacier National Park, no one looks at a menu to order breakfast.

    The waitress, greeting the regulars by name, asks, “You want the usual?”

    One member quips, “With the rain, maybe we should stick around for lunch.”

    But weather does not deter these weekly hikers. Not rain, snow or single-digit temperatures.

    Every Thursday, nearly year round, the Over the Hill Gang meets at the Glacier Grill in Coram.

    After breakfast, they depart to multiple trailheads – some to lung-busting, seldom-visited peaks, and others to worn paths where every red mudstone and gnarled sub-alpine fir is a familiar friend.

    It was 1976 when five men in their 60s launched the Over the Hill Gang.

    Read the rest of the story here

    Jenna

     

     

  • Fishermen "need more access, not less," says Bud Lilly. Photo by Walter Hinick

    Montana fish tales: This guy’s got ’em

    Never a bad time to hear a good fish tale. Right?

    Well, Bud Lilly has got you covered in this great story from Montana Standard editor David McCumber:

    THREE FORKS – If there’s one thing just about everybody in Montana who cares about trout fishing has agreed on for the past six or seven decades, it’s that Bud Lilly is a really nice guy.

    Well, yes, most of the time. But it must be told: Bud Lilly has a sadistic streak.

    I am driving down a back road near the confluence of the Gallatin, Jefferson and Madison rivers on a beautiful sunny July morning, and Bud is riding shotgun.

    Bud, who will turn 90 on Aug. 13, has macular degeneration, and his vision is no longer perfect, though I suspect it’s a lot better than he lets on. Anyway, as a consequence, he’s wearing wraparound shades under his flat-brimmed Stetson, giving him sort of a sinister, Harry Dean Stanton look. Perfect for what transpires next.

    Lilly's study is crammed with awards and remembrances of his decades in fishing and conservation. Photo by Walter Hinick

    Lilly’s study is crammed with awards and remembrances of his decades in fishing and conservation. Photo by Walter Hinick

    Abruptly he says, “You have your fly-fishing outfit with you?”

    “Yes.”

    “Then turn here,” he says. “Park right there at the end of the bridge.”

    We get out of the truck and walk onto the bridge.

    “Any rising?” he demands. He knows darned well what I’m looking at. The water of the lower Gallatin is low and clear. From the bridge downstream for 20 yards, fish are rising all over the river like popcorn on a hot skillet.

    “Put on a dry with a nymph dropper,” Bud says. “Just some sort of little bead-head.”

    I soon realize to my horror that I’m missing two fly boxes out of my vest, and the smallest bead-head nymphs I’ve got are No. 14s.

    “Too big,” he grunts. “Try anyway.”

    Bud stays on the bridge, watching, and I head down to do battle.

    I tie on the smallest caddis fly I have and from the hook drop the aforementioned bead-head hare’s ear on about a foot of tippet.

    I flip the dry-dropper rig out into the middle of a full-on boil of feeding trout and whitefish.

    Nothing.

    I slug it through there maybe a dozen times, trying different lanes, dead-drifting then stripping it back. I’m certainly not putting the fish down – they are still chowing everywhere I look. Continue Reading

  • MT-Mag_JA15-Coverwev

    Our cover shot story: Windmill in the Montana sunset

    Our cover images are the capstone of each issue, the photo introduction that grabs readers and pulls them in.

    It’s a intricate process to pick just the right picture each issue. But once the right one comes across our screens, it’s an easy decision.

    We’re honored to have Kurt Wilson’s image of a water pumping windmill for the July/Aug. 2015 issue. It’s an idyllic symbol of Montana’s homesteading era, is silhouetted against a summer sunset in Broadus.

    But how did Wilson set himself up to get the shot? In a sentence, it’s about taking the time to experience Montana. 

    • See all the stories from the July/Aug. 2015 issue here

    Wilson’s work has taken him down every paved road in Montana and across thousands of miles of dirt, gravel and gumbo.

    roadside wanderings

    He shot our cover image in the summer of 2014 while on a photographic project that took him to every corner of the state.

    In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Montana becoming a territory, Missoulian photography editor Kurt Wilson followed the trail of Montana’s roadside historical markers throughout the state. Here is the complete collection of photographs he made during one-week trips through six regions of the state beginning in April and ending in October.

    • See the entire Roadside Wanderings project here 
    The May/June 2015 cover by Chris McGowan

    The May/June 2015 cover by Chris McGowan

    Here’s where you can view and read more about our 2015 cover selections.

    Jenna

  • Snow fell today on Lone Peak in Big Sky. Photo courtesy of the Big Sky Resort Tram cam

    Montana mountains see snow in July

    We’ve had a bit of a cold snap in Montana to start the week. That means temps in the low 60s (versus the low 90s) in most places.

    But not at Big Sky Resort. The ski hill’s web cam showed a pretty healthy dose of snow falling on Lone Peak, as captured by the interactive Tram cam.

    We shouldn’t be too surprised, right? You never know what the weather might bring in Big Sky Country. 

     Photo courtesy of the Big Sky Resort Tram cam

    Photo courtesy of the Big Sky Resort Tram cam

    But not to worry: Forecasts in most areas of the state say we’ll be back to regular temperatures by the end of the week.

    Send us your weather pictures from across Montana. Send images to editor@montanamagazine.com.

    Here’s a link to some our recent top reader photos

    Enjoy!

    Jenna

  • Mary Gunstone at a Helena Brewers game. Photo courtesy of Marlene Hughes

    Helena loses its most passionate baseball fan

    We were very saddened to hear of the passing of Mary Gunstone last week. Mary was featured in our May/June 2015 issue in a feature that introduced us to her passion for the Helena Brewers baseball team.

    In the three decades since, Gunstone has only missed two games: the first for her father’s funeral and the second for her 50th class reunion.

    Her commitment, especially at this low level of minor league baseball, has not gone unnoticed.

    “It seems like every ballpark has some fan or special story about a fan who frequents those games,” said Paul Fetz, Brewers general manager. “But I’ve never in my 25 years in the game encountered a fan who does what she does, the effort she puts forward for these players.”

    Mary Gunstone has attended all but two Helena Brewers games in the past three decades. Photo courtesy of the Helena Independent Record

    Mary Gunstone has attended all but two Helena Brewers games in the past three decades. Photo courtesy of the Helena Independent Record

    We’ve posted the full story about Mary this weekend. Take a look at what made her the best baseball fan in Montana.

    You can read Mary’s obituary here.

    Jenna

  • Smoky sunset in the Flathead. Photo by Whispering Peaks Photography

    Top reader photos: Night skies of Montana

    We’ve got a pretty great edition of our Top Reader Photos for you this week, as we celebrating the sights of Montana skies.

    Take a look at these gorgeous nighttime shots from our readers. Talk about the Big Sky State, right?

    Milk Way from the Fromberg Sky. Photo by Regina Rigby

    Milk Way from the Fromberg Sky. Photo by Regina Rigby

     

    Moon over Montana. Photo by Robin K, Ha'o

    Moon over Montana. Photo by Robin K, Ha’o

     

    Barrel racing at the East Helena Rodeo. Photo by Mark Edward LaRowe

    Barrel racing at the East Helena Rodeo. Photo by Mark Edward LaRowe

     

    Sun River Canyon Sunset. Photo by Mark Curtis

    Sun River Canyon Sunset. Photo by Mark Curtis

    Lightning lights up the sky near Shepherd. Photo by Jullie Powell

    Lightning lights up the sky near Shepherd. Photo by Jullie Powell

    Do you have Montana photos to share? Send them to editor@montanamagazine.com.

    Jenna

     

  • Sheldon Serrano checks the mail during the trail-riding competition at the Musselshell-Golden Valley 4-H and Youth Fair in Roundup Wednesday. Photo by Bob Zellar

    4-H kids: ‘They want to step in and lead’

    Gotta love 4-H!

    Here’s a sweet story about some Eastern Montana kids who are showing off their 4-H projects at the Mussellshell County Fair:

    By Mike Ferguson

    ROUNDUP — Sheldon Serrano, who lives outside Roundup, is a big fan of the Palomino pony named Sandy who was readying herself to take the 9-year-old Signe Cougars 4-H member around a trail course Wednesday as part of the Musselshell-Golden Valley 4-H and Youth Fair.

    The weeklong fair concludes Saturday at the Musselshell County Fairgrounds.

    Sheldon Serrano checks the mail during the trail-riding competition at the Musselshell-Golden Valley 4-H and Youth Fair in Roundup Wednesday. Photo by Bob Zellar

    Sheldon Serrano checks the mail during the trail-riding competition at the Musselshell-Golden Valley 4-H and Youth Fair in Roundup Wednesday. Photo by Bob Zellar

    “She’s not too fast and not too slow,” Sheldon said while waiting for his turn at an event that includes the rider opening and shutting a gate, taking the horse through a pair of cones, over a wooden bridge, across to check the contents of a mailbox, through some logs and, finally, over to a waiting judge.

    “She’s a seasoned professional,” laughed Sheldon’s mother, Brenda, who was also there to cheer on her daughter, Mackenzie, aboard a horse named Carl, a horse shared by mother and daughter.

    “I love 4-H, because I get to spend a week with my friends,” said Mackenzie, 11. “Plus it’s fun to work with animals and share what I’ve learned.”

    That’s part of the fun at the fair, which opened Monday and runs through Saturday afternoon. More than 160 4-H youth and other children have the opportunity to learn, share their knowledge — and have fun, said Robert Goffena, a Musselshell County commissioner and 4-H leader.

    “This helps us raise a whole generation of kids who know where their food comes from,” he said.

    Mandie Reed, Extension agent in Wheatland County, came over to judge chickens and pocket pets, among others. This week wasn’t the first time.

    “It is great to see these kids year after year,” she said. “I love these small fairs because they jump right into it. They just keep getting better and better.”

    Abby Pascall, of Roundup, who’s 16 and belongs to the Golden Creek 4-H Club, brought four of her 10 Australorp chickens to show. All 10 are named Ellen. Australorps, she noted, are prodigious egg-layers, and hers are no different; she collects an average of eight eggs each day from her 10 Ellens, all of them free-range chickens.

    The most difficult part in the lead-up to the fair, said her mother, Rachel Myrstol, might be record-keeping. Youth have to list everything from what they fed their animals to the activities youth undertook in the lead-up to the fair.

    “4-H has helped bring her out of her shell,” Myrstol said with a smile. “Being able to speak to someone with everyone watching you — it’s made a big difference.”

    Read the full story here.

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