Archive for April, 2013

Spring Cycling the Going to the Sun Road

April 29th, 2013 by kimtaylor

A welcome sign of Spring cyclists in Montana.

A welcome sign of Spring cyclists in Montana.

High-tech cycling gear not needed.

High-tech cycling gear not needed.

 

Beautiful vistas await intrepid Spring bicyclists.

Beautiful vistas await intrepid Spring bicyclists.

 

When the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park is fully open from West to East, cyclists play second fiddle to cars and the Park’s famous red busses, called Jammers.  During the peak Summer months, this famous scenic road is closed to bicyclists between 11 am and 4 pm. That means you have to set you’re alarm clock pretty darn early to make it up to Logan Pass and back down before 11 am.  Others prefer to hit the “night shift” and start up in the evening after 4pm, others wait for a full moon and cycle up by moonlight.

But, as the locals know, in the Spring time Cyclists have the road to themselves, save for a mountain goat that may wander in front of you (if you’re lucky) or a mama bear and her cubs scurrying up the hillside.

Yesterday we cycled the Going-to-the Sun Road in Glacier National Park, and experienced just about every type of weather you can think of, rain, sleet, a bit of hail, wind and at times sunshine.  We passed about 3 dozen other cyclists on our way from Lake McDonald to the Loop and about 3 miles beyond.

Tips for Spring cycling:

  • Be prepared for any type of weather.  It may look nice and sunny when you leave, but the weather can change quickly.  A windbreaker type jacket is a must, even on a sunny day, as the high speeds you’ll hit on the way down will cool you down quickly.
  • Bring a basic bicycle repair kit.  If you get a flat tire and you’ve got no way to fix it, you’re out of luck.  You’ll be hoofing back to your car. We ran into a stretch of unpaved road from Avalanche campground for a couple of miles, so you never know. A puncture could really ruin your day if you’re not prepared.  That being said, make sure you check that your bike is in good working order, especially your brakes!  You’ll be glad you did as you speed down the road on your way back.
  • Bring water and snacks.  During the Spring don’t count on Park concessions being open, so if you want to not give into your growling stomach and turn around early, throw in a granola bar or two into your bag.
  • Don’t forget your camera and have fun!

    Author: Sarah Stewart

Craven’s Coffee Stars at Breakfast Time

April 22nd, 2013 by kimtaylor

Kari delivers caffeinated bliss to the Hidden Moose Lodge each week.

Kari delivers caffeinated bliss to the Hidden Moose Lodge each week.

A couple of blog posts ago we introduced you to Whitefish Pottery who make our coffee mugs here at the Moose, now we’d like to tell you about the coffee that we pour in those mugs.

For the past few years our guests are greeted to the smell of Craven’s Coffee brewing in our kitchen. Craven’s Coffee is a Spokane, WA based company, dedicated to roasting great coffee that comes from coffee farmers they actually meet and shake hands with. They know the farmers they buy their coffee beans from. Roasted to perfection (at least we think so!) it makes some of the best coffee you’ll want to wake up to.

Launched 20 yrs ago, by Simon Craven Thompson and his wife, Rebecca Templin, Cravens remains a mom-and-pop operation by national standards. “I think Folgers spills as much coffee in a day as we roast in a year,” Thompson joked to the Spokesman Review newspaper. When they started in 1993 there were about 3 local roasters in Spokane, now there are about 20. So, in order to survive, you know the coffee has to be good.

In addition to their wide variety of roasts they offer (68 blends in total), Craven’s has a line of Community Blends where a portion of their sales gets donated to worthy causes in the Northwest. Nice.

The face of Craven’s Coffee here in the Flathead Valley is our sales rep, Kari Donovan, who delivers caffeinated bliss to restaurants, grocery stores, cafes and, of course, to the Hidden Moose Lodge on a weekly basis. Kari has worked for Craven’s for over 9 years and loves her job.

And, we love Craven’s Coffee and so do our guests. You can visit their website at: www.cravenscoffee.com or taste their coffee yourself when you book a room at the Hidden Moose!

Author: Sarah Stewart

Spring Things-to-Do in the “Off-Season”

April 15th, 2013 by kimtaylor

Cyclists can go where cars can't in the Spring on the Going-to-the Sun Hwy.

Cyclists can go where cars can’t in the Spring on the Going-to-the Sun Hwy.

When the lifts stop running on the Big Mountain for the ski season and before they roar back to life to take visitors zip-lining through the trees in the Summer it is known as the “off-season” here in Whitefish.  Things quiet down, life moves a little slower, traffic is a little lighter and the weather is a tad more unpredictable.  That being said, it can be a great time to visit our area – but you have to make your own fun with some of the more off-the-beaten path activities, take things easy and be prepared for just about any kind of weather.

So if you find yourself wanting to get away from the heat of the South, the noise of city life, or the traffic jams on your daily commute, visit us in the Spring and you can see what the life of a Whitefish “local” is really like, when the skiing stops and the hiking trails in Glacier Park are still covered in snow.

Here are some ideas for fun and sometimes overlooked activities that still go on when the tourists go home:

Visit a distillery, winery, or brewery: Great Northern Brewing Co. has a tasting room less than 2 miles from the Hidden Moose and samples of their many offerings are “on the house”.  Glacier Distilling Co. in Coram and the Glacier Sun Winery in Kalispell also offer tastings of their unique libations.

Visit a museum: You might think museums are just in big cities, but some of the funkier museums are located in small towns across the country and the Flathead Valley is no exception.  Right here in Whitefish is the Stumptown Historical Society Museum located in the Train Depot. Just 15 miles away in Kalispell there’s the Hockaday Museum of Art, Central School Museum and Conrad Mansion (Open May 15-Oct 13)  –  a hidden jewel of a beautifully preserved pre-1900 mansion of the founder of Kalispell, Charles Conrad, complete with over 90% of the original family furnishings.

Get pampered: Perhaps in your day-to-day life you don’t have time for massages & spa treatments – but now you do – you’re on vacation after all!   Take a day out for a mani/pedi, massage or facial at one of the many day spas & salons here in the Valley.  We’re happy to recommend our favorites or visit: www.whitefishchamber.org for a list of options.

Go thrifting: Yea, it’s a thing now – shopping at thrift stores and consignment shops – what used to be the necessity of a broke college student is now “cool” and a great way to find one-of-a-kind unique items and fashion finds. Whitefish has 2 thrift stores and several consignment shops including the Chic Boutique and Copperleaf Consignment.  More thrift stores and consignment shops are to be had in Kalispell.

Hike local trails:  The Whitefish Trail is a great place to get some exercise and the snow will be gone long before the trails of Glacier Park are cleared of the white stuff.  Pick up a trail map and get moving.

Bike: There are many local mountain bike trails less than 10 miles from the Moose, including Spencer Mountain.  You can rent a bike at Glacier Cyclery and hit the road.  Here’s a local’s tip – Bike the Going to the Sun Road before it opens to car traffic.  In mid-May to early June (perhaps earlier depending on the weather) the park service has the Going-to-the-Sun Road closed at Avalanche Creek to car traffic but beyond that point bikes are allowed and the road can be cleared to the Loop and beyond before you run into plow crews trying to clear the road.  The road offers spectacular views and you won’t have to worry about cars.  For road status call: (406) 888-7800 or see it at: http://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm

See how things are made: Montana Coffee Traders gives tours of their roasting facility and as mentioned in a previous blog post Whitefish Pottery gives tours of their facility to curious visitors who want to pull back the curtain to see how artists get their hands dirty to make beautiful pottery.

Those are just a few of the things you can do in the “off-season” here in the Flathead Valley and I didn’t even get to mention: Seeing live music and theatre, antiquing, gambling, fishing or just bellying up to the bar at a local joint to get recommendations on things to do and see from a friendly barkeep who lives here year-round.

Spring is also a great time to get great rates at the Hidden Moose Lodge since it’s our “off season” too.  See our Specials & Packages page for more info.  Then give us a call at: 1 (888) 733-6667.

Author: Sarah Stewart

Whitefish Pottery “mugs” it up for the Hidden Moose Lodge

April 8th, 2013 by kimtaylor

Whitefish Pottery makes our custom Hidden Moose coffee mugs.

Whitefish Pottery makes our custom Hidden Moose coffee mugs.

Have you ever given any thought to where your coffee mug comes from?  Go ahead, turn over your mug and look, [but make sure it’s empty first – Doh!]  When we were deciding on where to get our coffee mugs for the Hidden Moose Lodge, (important in our line of business),  we decided to “go local”. For many years we’ve been serving our morning coffee to sleepy guests in locally made mugs from Whitefish Pottery.  Tom Gilfillan, [aka. “Tom the Potter”], owner of Whitefish Pottery, is one of the biggest Bruce Springsteen fans we know, [if not THE biggest], and a talented potter as well.   He and his wheel spinning crew hand throw each Hidden Moose logo’d mug and glaze them in a variety of beautiful colors.

Besides Hidden Moose coffee mugs, Whitefish Pottery, make a variety of handcrafted items from cookie jars to wine crocks to serving bowls that are sold in their downtown retail store, Stillwater Gallery.  In addition to their pottery, they also feature wonderful local artwork, crafts and other handmade pottery at their store.

Other “fun facts” about Tom’s business:

  • Whitefish Pottery was commissioned to make the “official” coffee mug for the Glacier National Park Centennial celebration.  How cool is that?
  • You can take a free tour of their pottery studio (about 5 miles from downtown Whitefish), to see how they actually make, fire & glaze their creations.
  • Stillwater Gallery is one of 13 galleries that participate in “Gallery Nights” – Held from May-October each year on the first Thursday of the month in Whitefish.  Local galleries & shops stay open late, lay out free refreshments and feature a variety of special artist exhibitions.
  • Each year Whitefish Pottery holds an anniversary party for the whole community out at the studio location.   This year’s 18th anniversary bash will be on Friday May 10th – with live music, food and libations – it’s always a blast.

Our guests often purchase a Hidden Moose Lodge mug handmade by Whitefish Pottery as a memento of their stay with us.  It’ll not only looks cool on their desk at work, but they swear their coffee tastes better!

For more on Whitefish Pottery visit their website at: www.whitefishpottery.com or find them on Facebook.

Author: Sarah Stewart

Unique Ironwork gives the Hidden Moose Lodge a rustic flair.

April 2nd, 2013 by kimtaylor

An ice axe and climbing rope decorating the Glacier suite mirror,  were custom made by the Iron Thistle Forge of Whitefish Montana.

An ice axe and climbing rope decorating the Glacier suite mirror, were custom made by the Iron Thistle Forge of Whitefish Montana.

One of the things that makes the Hidden Moose Lodge unique is that each of our rooms & suites are decorated with a different theme.  Nothing about the Moose is cookie-cutter. Part of that unique décor is the ironwork that is featured throughout the lodge.  Best of all it is made right here in Whitefish by a talented blacksmith who hails from the “other side of the pond”, but had chosen to live in our beautiful corner of the world.  Tony Stewart owns the Iron Thistle Forge, a blacksmithing shop just 8 miles from Whitefish and he’s worked closely with Kent & Kim over the years.

Tony takes the theme of each room and runs with it… creating mirrors, iron head boards, light fixtures and towel bars – Our “Glacier” suite mirror features and ice axe and climbing rope, all hand forged in metal.  A forest of iron pine trees dons the bathroom light fixture for our “Treetops” room.  All custom made by Tony just for the Hidden Moose Lodge – believe me you won’t find these in any catalog.

You may have even caught a glimpse of Tony’s work on the Bachelor episode that took place in Whitefish.  Part of that episode was filmed at the Hidden Moose and had the outdoor chandeliers created by the Iron Thistle Forge in the scene. [When one of the girls was sent packing and Sean walked her out to the waiting limo that whisks the teary bachelorette away to the airport.]

Using raw metal stock, Tony heats, hammers, twists and bends the metal into beautiful shapes until it becomes a bear, moose, mountain goat or a jumping trout like those featured in our “Riverbed” room.

You can visit his website and see more of his beautiful ironwork at: www.ironthistleforge.com – or see his works of art in person when you stay at the Hidden Moose Lodge.

Author: Sarah Stewart