Month: July 2013

Awesome August Activities in Missoula

August in Missoula- a calendar of events!lilly pond

What’s happening here in “The Garden City”  in August?  There are lots of events to look forward to from fun in the sun to sipping something cool in the shade!  While the days are still hot, they are getting shorter which means the nights are cooling off.  August is a wonderful time for short evening excursions or play time in the park.  It’s also one of the nicest times to enjoy the wild birds and a beverage on one of our many decks here at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast.  The views overlooking the valley on the one side and the water fall on the other are beautiful.  There are water lilies blooming in the koi pond and day lilies above on the garden wall.  August in Missoula is a feast for the eyes as well as the pallet.  There are so many outdoor activities and fine dining experiences to enjoy.  You certainly won’t run out of options, so sip some of it in and enjoy!

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FAMILY FOCUS…  Missoula offers activities for young and old, but some of the best family fun ideas are listed by Destination Missoula so check out this link as well as the information listed below.

FESTIVALS & AREA EVENTS…

*Fairs and Festivals:

-Missoula’s Bone Ball is a fun, four legged fundraiser for the Humane Society of Western Montana.  This year’s event (on August 23, 2013), is a 50th anniversary celebration- thus the theme Birthday Party Animal!  It’s a fun event for a good cause and 100% of the proceeds go toward this local non-profit.  So dress in your best costume and enjoy the 11th year of this annual festival with your best friend (man, woman or beast).  The event is being catered by Johnny Carino’s and starts at 5:30 p.m. in the Caras Park Pavilion.

-Downtown ToNight happens in Caras Park every Thursday evening from 5:30-8:30 (June, July, August).  Enjoy live music, food vendors and a weekly family event that is provided by a local organization.  Kids might enjoy an obstacle course one week and learn a craft the next.  A couple of August highlights will include Mismo Gymnastics and the Great Grizzly Encounter!                                                  

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-The 57th annual Gun and Antique Show starts August 2nd and goes through August 4th.  The quality as well as the number of items for sale always amazes me when I go.  There will be 800 tables set up “floor to ceiling” in the U of M’s Adam’s Center.  If you long for a piece of the old west, then this show is something you won’t want to miss.  I’ve seen everything from beautifully hand carved knives to antique sewing machines- something for everyone who comes.

-The Ol’ Wild West Fest starts at 10:00 a.m. at Fort Missoula- August 3rd and 4th This two day celebration is a really fun way to step back in history to the 1800’s.  From a chuck wagon cook off, a quilt DSCF4068show and cowboy poetry to a cavalry encampment and gold panning, this festival spells FUN!  There will be plenty of food vendors and to top it all off a grand ball!  Admission is free for children 12 and younger.  Just $5.00 per day for adults (or the ball) or a weekend package that includes the ball for $13.00.  It’s great that this event has moved from Helena to Missoula this year!

-Out To Lunch at Caras Park offers over twenty food vendors and a different live band every Wednesday from 11:00-2:00 p.m.  This is the 28th season and it’s going stronger than ever.  Bring the kids because there are a variety of free activities just for them.

-Taste of The Big Sky is a first time event in Missoula and admission is free.  It will be held at Ogren Park at Allegiance Field.  Enjoy Montana grown foods, brews, wines and great music on Saturday, August 10th from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.  Thanks, Badlander Catering, Destination Missoula and Missoula Osprey for hosting this first, annual event.

-The River City Roots Festival is a big hit in Missoula.  It’s free and offers art, entertainment, food and fun to all who attend.  In fact… in 2009, it was recognized as the tourism event of the year!  The festival is put on by the Missoula Downtown Association.  This year’s 2013 festival will take place August 23-25th.  You can read all about the fun in last year’s 2012 Blue Mountain B&B blog!

-The Western Montana Fair (August 6-11) draws a lot of people to Missoula.  From food vendors to the fairway to farm animals, it offers something for everyone.  I like the fact that it still has that local, country feel about it.  I have a lot of great childhood memories of exhibiting 4-H entries and playing in the band for the horse racing and rodeo events.  This year, Brady has been asked to do a cooking presentation in the Culinary Arts building.  So if you’d like to learn how to make delicious Danish Aebelskivers, come join in the fun (Friday, August 9th at 11:00 a.m.).  If you want a sneak preview of this Danish Viking delight, just click on this Aebelskiver link and enjoy.  We hope to see you at the fair where you will enjoy learning some new ways to dress-up this fun dish that is a cross between a pancake and a doughnut.

 

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-Guest lecturer, Kae Cheatham, will be at Beavertail State Park giving a presentation entitled Before the Horse (American Indian horse culture).  It is part of the Campfire Program/Summer Speaker Series which happens every Friday evening at beautiful Beavertail State Park.  This particular lecture is scheduled for August 9th at 8:00 p.m.  The drive will take approximately 30 minutes and you can call for further information (29895 Bonita Station Road Clinton, MT 59825  Phone: 406-240-0155).       If you are interested in similar programs provided by Montana State Parks, click on this link.

Missoula’s Historic Downtown Walking Tour is a perfect pairing with a night on the town, a visit to the Farmer’s Market or some great shopping.  There are many interesting stories to uncover about Missoula’s past from its early architecture to its secret underground!  You can also enjoy the Public Art Tour of Downtown Missoula in the same historic district!  Be sure not to miss the marble statue of John Mullan, St. Francis Xavier Church, as well as the beautiful Paxon murals in the Missoula County Court House.

-The Ninemile Remount Depot and The Smokejumper Visitor Center are fascinating places to visit if you’d like to learn some history or current technology used  in fighting forest fires.  August is a time when smoke can get in your eyes here in Missoula, it’s the price we pay for being surrounded by beautiful, mountainous terrain.  Missoula was not only the first smoke jumper training base in the nation, but currently is the largest as well!  When I was a kid, I remember watching  the parachute training practices which often took place very close to the Blue Mountain area.  If you have a particular interest in slurry bombers or other historic planes you will also find the Museum of Mountain Flying to be of interest.

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-Check our Blue Mountain B&B AREA LINKS page for other great history-related trips in Missoula and Western Montana.                                   

*Music, Theater and Culture:

-The Missoula City Band Concert (Bonner Park, 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, August 7th & 14th) and The Missoula Symphony in the Park (Caras Park, 7:00 p.m. August 11th ) offer audiences an opportunity to be surrounded by music in beautiful outdoor settings.  Bring your lawn chair or a blanket and enjoy a casual repertoire that is music for both the eyes and the ears.  There is no admission fee to any of these events.

-Montana Shakespeare in the Parks is one of the most enjoyable evenings you will experience in Missoula (or elsewhere in Montana).  To make it truly delightful, bring some wine and cheese and a picnic blanket!  Be sure to come a bit early so you get good seating.  The schedule for Missoula is as follows: The Recruiting Officer on August 26th and Henry V on August 27th.  Outdoor seating is at the U of M Oval at 6:00.  In case of a downpour, the production will take place in the University Center Theater.  If you are unable to attend either of the Missoula evenings, you can enjoy The Recruiting Officer in Hamilton at The Daily Mansion on the 28th.  Henry V will be presented at the Old Montana Prison in Deer Lodge on the 31st of August.  Same times, just different places!

-Huey Lewis, Eden Atwood and Friends present Soulsville-  a benefit for the Interface Project at the MCT theater on Friday, August 2nd  at 6:00 p.m.  Atwood is a jazz singer, voice coach and local celebrity.  To learn more about tickets or the Interface Project, go to www.interfaceproject.org or call 406-480-6228.  You can also click on the following Missoulian Newspaper link to read a fascinating and educational article about this upcoming concert.

-Travelers’ Rest State Park will host its 3rd annual summer concert and BBQ (August 1st, 5:00-9:00 p.m.).  The proceeds support their K-12 educational programs which are based around both history and nature.  This year’s featured artists include Shane Clouse and Kevin Van Dort.  Travelers’ Rest is just down the road from Blue Mountain B&B so we enjoy attending events and hosting their winter time guest speakers.  It’s one of our favorite non-profits to support and thus last year’s concert event is written up in the following Blue Mountain B&B blog link.

-The Wilma Theater always has something going on so it’s best to click on this link to find out more.IMG_2781 small

 

 

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*Outdoor Markets:

-The Missoula Farmers’ Market has been an on-going Missoula event for four decades at Circle Square and goes from May through October (Saturdays 8:30-noon).  To get there, go to the north end of Higgins Avenue (the location of the Northern Pacific Rail Road Depot and the sculptures of John Mullan and the red X’s).  An extension of the Farmer’s Market fun occurs just down the way on Pine Street at The People’s  Market which showcases arts and crafts.  Walk even further south and you will hit the Clark Fork River Market which is under the Higgins Street Bridge (8:00-1:00 p.m.)  Yes indeed, Missoula loves its open air markets!  When you’re all done make sure you continue with the fun with a visit and ride on the Carousel.  If you can’t hit one of the Saturday Markets, then you can enjoy a version of The Farmer’s Market each Tuesday (July-September 5:30-7:00 p.m).

*Sports:

-Missoula loves its Grizzly Football Team, evidence of which can be seen throughout the entire town.  Griz fans from far and near will flock to the stadium for our opening game against Appalachain State- one of the top teams in the FCS.  So even though August 31st  seems like the “last” day of summer, it’s the first day to usher in the 2013 Grizzly Football season!  This year, The Griz will play 12 games for the first time in five years.  It should be another exciting season of football with six home games to look forward to.  Go Griz!      Bitterroot valley pics 10-21-05 012

-Missoula Osprey Baseball in Ogren Park Allegiance Field is a real hit with everyone.  It sports beautiful views of the mountains at sunset and is situated alongside the Clark Fork River.  To say the least, catching an Osprey game is a super fun way to spend an evening in Missoula.  (Home games are Aug. 1-3, 4-6, 13-19, 31)  Click on the provided Osprey link for game times and ticket information.

If getting out in nature is more of your game, then Missoula offers some great river guide and horse back riding adventures.  Here is a list of some of our favorites, so check them out!  Blackfoot River Outfitters, Lewis and Clark Trail Adventures and Dunrovin Ranch.  If you want to try your hand at rock climbing or other outdoor sports, then The Trail Head is the place to get your gear and some good advise!

 

FOOD AND SPIRITS…

IMG_2788 (2) small*Dining:                                             

-Dining Outdoors: Many Missoula restaurants offer lovely outdoor dining experiences with large patio gardens or views.  Some Missoula favorites include Caffe Dolce, The Depot, Finn and Porter, The Iron Horse, Jakers, The Keep, Rattlesnake Gardens and Scotty’s Table.  A few of our casual favorites offer simple street-side bisto tables or cool indoor retreats, including Biga Pizza, Ciao Mambo and Iza.  Many of these restaurants offer gluten-free menus which is nice.

-Indoor Elegance: If you are truly looking for a unique and outstanding culinary treat, we recommend both The Pearl and The Silk Road!  Both offer lovely indoor seating and a few tables on the street outside.  The ambiance at the Pearl is one of the nicest in Missoula and it’s a favorite among our many guests here at Blue Mountain B&B.  If you would like to go on a truly amazing tasting tour of the world, then join the Risho family for a gourmet topis experience that you will find no where else.  Among other fabulous dishes, their beef tenderloin togarashi is supurb!  They have a full gluten-free menu as well.

  One of our other real favorites is the Red Bird (indoor seating only).  Their gourmet dishes are a work of art and as beautiful as they are palette pleasing!  Every dish is a masterpiece, prepared with special talent and thought.  Unlike some gourmet experiences, Missoula’s top restaurants always leave you feeling truly satiated.  For a town of our size, we have some really outstanding dining choices.

-Sack Lunching It: If you’d like to eat on the go but not pack lunch yourself, Missoula offers a couple of really great options.  Why not enjoy a day on the river or in the woods with a nutritious and mouth watering “sack lunch?”  The Buttercup Market and Cafe is a wonderful, locally owned hide away in the University District.  They offer breakfast and lunch and have a wide selection of delicious gluten-free pastries.  All of their ingredients are grown or made either locally or regionally!  You can also stop by The Good Food Store and pick up something from their salad bar.  They also have great sandwiches as well as hot dishes available and you are welcome to eat in or take it with you.

*Wine, Brew and Tasting Events:

Enjoy wine tasting at La Grotta Bella every Thursday night from 5:00-8:00 p.m.  You can purchase tickets upstairs at The Old Post Pub for $10.00 and then take the almost hidden staircase down into the “catacombs of Italy.”  The stone walls and lovely architecture will indeed give you the feel of spending an evening somewhere in Europe!  (103 W. Spruce St., Missoula  721-7399)

-Don’t forget Taste of The Big Sky which is listed above, under festivals!  If you enjoy tasting locally made wine and beer this is an event for you.

-Other Area Wineries and Breweries:  Bayern Brewery, Big Sky Brewery, Draft Works BreweryFlathead Lake Brewing Company, The KettlehouseLolo Peak Winery,  Missoula Winery and Event Center and Ten Spoon Vineyard and Winery.  For a list of general Montana wineries, click on this Made In Montana link.

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Many locals as well as out of town guest enjoy a get-away at Blue Mountain Bed & Breakfast.  It’s a perfect way to take a little vacation… surrounded by the beauty of the forest and yet only minutes from downtown Missoula!


 

 

 

Hiking Bass Creek in the Bitterroot Valley!

CLIMB EVERY MOUNTAIN: Hiking Bass Creek in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley!

One of the many falls on Bass Creek

One of the many falls on Bass Creek

In Montana, sometimes the weather changes overnight.  The last week of June offered temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s.  This week things have heated up into the 90’s and in some places past 100!  When summer starts to sizzle, it’s time to play in the shade!  After fixing breakfast for guests and watering the hanging plants, we decided it was a good day to hit the road in search of shady pastures and clear mountain creeks.  With bed and breakfast guests arriving around 4:00, we opted for a small hike up an area that is a favorite with us.  Bass Creek is only a short drive from Blue Mountain Bed Breakfast and offers wonderful afternoon shade and easy access to the stream.  It’s a win, win on any hot summer day and a place our dogs and Godson love to go to beat the heat!  On this particular adventure, the wildflowers were such a treat.  Everything from wild roses to thimbleberries and syringa were in full bloom.  That, matched with the sparkling mica on the rocks, the rushing stream and green foliage made for the perfect day.  Several beautiful, shallow pool areas offered ample opportunities to dip our paws in the soothing water.  (We did check to make sure nobody was fishing the creek nearby.)  I really don’t know if the four leggeds or the two leggeds had more fun?  It was a great way to welcome in the first day of July after being so accustomed to this year’s cool June.

 

Elaine and Charlie

Elaine and Charlie

*Time of Year to Visit:  Bass Creek is a beautiful hike any time of year, but is particularly wonderful in the heat of summer because it offers so much shade.  Even smack dab in the middle of the day, the hike is truly enjoyable!  During the summer, Bass Creek is almost always our first choice because it is so scenic and cool and such a short distance to drive.  Of course, it’s a beautiful place to hike no matter what time of year and when the leaves start to turn in the fall the hike is stunning!

Note: If you plan on camping during a holiday, the area can fill up fairly quickly.

 

Fishing fun!

Fishing fun!

*Driving Directions from Missoula: Drive 20 miles south on Highway 93, passing through Lolo and Florence.  If you are staying at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast,

it is about 15 miles and will take about twenty five minutes.  Be looking for the Bass Creek and Larry Creek signs which are off on the right hand side of the highway.

 

Cliffs along the creek

Cliffs along the creek

There is plenty of parking space at the trail head which is 2.5 miles in from the highway.  The road is paved part of the way and passes through lush pasture land with views of the mountain peaks.The last part of the short drive takes you through the shade of trees and across a bridge.  You will want to stay on the main dirt road which goes toward the left.  The Forest Service is currently thinning part of the area on the right hand side of the road to prevent the spread of pine beetles.  The camp area and trail head are not effected by the logging work being done, however.  If you are coming from Hamilton, drive 23 miles north on Highway 93 and turn left at Bass Creek.

 

Fall fishing

Fall fishing

 

 

 

 

 

*Area Opportunities:  Besides hiking, Bass Creek offers some really good fishing part of the year.   It is also popular with horse back riders and is great if you have a pooch or two.  The campground is large and very close to the trail head which makes it convenient.  The creek is within just a few hundred feet of the campground and the initial trail follows the creek very closely which is nice.  There are fresh water spigots, a well-maintained outhouse, picnic tables and fire pits.  There is an unloading area for horses and many places for tie up.

Like most areas in Missoula, Bass Creek is designated as a NO TRAP area which means it is truly dog friendly.  In other areas around the state, dogs have occasionally been caught in traps.  It’s a subject that involves many heated and on-going arguments.

 

*The Hike:  The larger Bass Creek area is surrounded by beauty from birds and butterflies to magnificent rock cliffs and clear, refreshing water.

The Larry Creek Campground side offers an actual fire ecolIMG_1609 smallogy trail with many interpretive signs along the way.  Anywhere within the area you will find an abundance of flora and fauna and varying types of ecosystems.  The trail we like to take in the heat of summer is near the Bass Creek campsite.  To get onto the trail, you walk a short distance on an old vehicle-restricted road.  About one hundred yards up the road, the trail forks to the left.  The creek is on the left hand side and the trail follows it closely for the first mile, winding through shady trees.  On the right hand side, a person walks under magnificent cliffs and through areas with large boulders.  The stream alternates between areas of swift moving water and shallow pools that are perfect for a hot summer’s day dip.  The trail eventually begins to climb high above the creek itself.  Eventually a person comes to a log dam where the trail again nears the creek.  The area near the end of the hike offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains!  The hike is a 3 mile round trip (you hike out the same trail you came in on.)  It takes a little over an hour without stops and there is a gain of only 500 feet in elevation (not much for a hike in the mountains of Montana).  It usually takes us several hours to cover the first mile simply because we enjoy stopping to wade or fish and take in the beautiful scenery.  The hike is so gradual that it can be enjoyed by almost anyone and makes the perfect family outing.

If you would like additional information regarding recreational areas in the Missoula and Bitterroot areas, click here on the U.S. National Forest Campground Guide.  Another great resource is the guide book Day Hikes Around Missoula Montana by Robert Stone.  We always send guests with a copy when they take off for a day’s outing.

 

Wild rose

Wild rose

Trail Wise Tips- keeping one another safe:  The sun and heat can catch up to a person quickly and even in the winter, water and sunscreen are important items to take along on a hike.  Another thing to keep in mind is that bears and other wildlife are sometimes in the area and so packing things in and out and keeping food a safe distance from camp at night is important.  Feeding ground squirrels may seem fun, but if they consistently are fed a poor diet, they can actually starve during the winter.  And you know what they say about bears… “A fed bear is a dead bear.”

At Bass Creek, dogs need only be leashed in the campground area, but even on the trail it’s important to bring a leash along.  On an early spring outing, Brady came upon an accident that occurred when a couple of mules were spooked by dogs.  Remember that in the early part of the year, horses are pretty “green” no matter what their age.  It’s a particularly important time to have  your dogs under control because one darting out from a bush is all it can take for someone to be seriously injured.  When you do encounter horses on the trail, step off on the lower side as far as possible.  Being familiar with trail etiquette is important whether you are a dog walker, horse back rider, hiker or mountain biker.  Having the opportunity to enjoy open space is truly a gift and something we all have a duty to help protect! 

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*Staying at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast:  You can always opt to just sit and relax near the bed and breakfast waterfall, but if you like to explore we have lots of recommendations.  There are plenty of hiking and naturalist books to go around and we will help you find the best places to enjoy the out of doors.  If you would like to plan your trip before you get to our bed and breakfast, just give us a call (1-406-251-4457) or an email: stay@bluemountainbb.com and we will help you out.  Our AREA webpage offers many fun local excursion ideas as well.  Whether you stay with us or are a local just wanting a few tips, we are happy to help!

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