It’s A Hard Knock Life: A SouthWest Montana Loop

Being a travel writer requires a lot of journalistic sacrifice. I will do whatever it takes to make sure that you get the very best information. If that means giving up my weekend, so be it.

This weekend, we made a loop in the middle of SouthWest Montana. On Friday, we went to Tizer Gardens. Tucked in a steep gulch along Prickly Pear Creek, Tizer Gardens is one of Montana’s only official botanical gardens and arboretum. The six acres of land have thousands of rare and unique plants and trees. I was a bit worried that we had gone too late in the year, but the owner told us, there is no wrong season to go to Tizer. There were a number of beautiful fall blooming plants, and many of the leaves were changing color. Of course, the Gardens’ hundreds of unique conifers were still bright green. Tizer Gardens is one of the most interesting places in the state that I have visited, well worth the visit any time of year. (Click on the photos for a large view)

After visiting Tizer, we headed down the road to Boulder Hot Springs. Once a luxurious resort, the hotel had fallen into complete disrepair by the 1980s. Over the last two decades, the owners have worked to restore this beautiful site. The guest rooms are fully restored and beautiful. We stayed in one of the Bed and Breakfast rooms, which meant that we got a delicious breakfast each morning. The Hot Springs is committed to providing a comfortable, sustainable experience. Much of the food we ate was grown in their geothermally heated greenhouse, and the hotel is all geothermally heated. To avoid using chemicals, they drain and clean the pools each night, which makes swimming a very relaxing non-chlorinate experience. We loved our time at Boulder Hot Springs. There are few better ways to spend a morning than sitting in a rocking chair on a veranda sipping tea and watching the sun rise.

After a restful night, we headed to Townsend for their Fall Festival. It was a great time, there was music, including a tuba band, all sorts of food, tons of vendors, and even a mini (really really mini) kids carnival. We also spent some time at the Goose Bay glass store. Watching glass blowing is one of the most mesmerizing experiences I can think of. It was amazing to watch a blob of molten glass turn into a piece of art. Unfortunately I managed to take not a single good picture, so you’ll just have to go and experience it for yourself.

Because it is bad luck to drive the same road twice, we headed south from Townsend to the Willow Creek area. Specifically we headed to the LaHood steak house in the Jefferson Canyon by Cardwell. LaHood is one of my favorite steak houses. The food is always delicious. I get hungry just thinking about their twice-baked potatoes, and I have an insufficient vocabulary to adequately describe their prime rib. Admittedly, I ate too much and had a stomach ache all the way home to Boulder, but you can hardly blame a restaurant for that.

After LaHood, it was back to Boulder Hot Springs for another comfortable night’s sleep.

See the sacrifices I make for you, dear reader?


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