Part one in Kristin Lenz’s series on her stay at the historic Flathead Lake Lodge in Big Fork, Montana. The third generation family run resort began in 1945 and continues the tradition of grand hospitality, amid rustic charm, along the shore of Flathead Lake and the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.
Brian and I have been frequent visitors to the Flathead Valley of Montana for the past 20 years. My parents live in the charming ski town of Whitefish where we love spending the Christmas holidays and our kids’ Spring Breaks skiing each season. Summer visits are also amazing and full of adventure!
Just south of Whitefish are the communities that surround Flathead Lake, like Bigfork, Somers and Lakeside. Other than driving past the awe inspiring lake, the times we’ve driven from Wisconsin to Montana, we’ve never taken the time to explore the area and have always wanted to do so. Flathead Lake is 30 miles long, 16 miles wide and has a maximum depth of 370 ft!
My parents are involved with The Glacier Park Concervancy, having served on the board and annually helping with their fundraiser, The Backpacker Ball. The decor and tablescapes are designed and curated by my mom for the event. Brian and I have been lucky enough to attend a few times, and this year we were in town to go.
It’s amazing to see all the auction items, silent and live, that have been donated to help Glacier National Park. One of the live auction items this year was a stay at Flathead Lake Lodge in Bigfork. And we won the generous package!
Our stay was for one of the adult only retreats in September. During the Summer months the Lodge is full of families.
I thought it would be fun to share our stay at the resort in a week long series giving you an inside view of the beautiful buildings and grounds, the amazing activities and adventures and the exquisite food! In this first post I will give you a tour of the outside of the resort.
From the moment we drove in, I instantly fell in love with the setting, log cabins, gorgeous gardens and lakeside ambiance.
Flathead Lake Lodge started in 1945 when Les Averill bought a boys camp that had been vacant for years when he returned from World War II.
His son Doug and grandson Chase now run the resort as the second and third generations carry on the tradition of western hospitality and share the history and traditions of The Lodge. Doug is a great storyteller and shared about how his father opened the resort and had no visitors in the first year. Then all of the sudden, a car came down the driveway. It was Bugsy Siegel and Virginia Hill! They were the first guests. Since that time The Lodge has hosted Presidents, World dignitaries, movie stars and everyday families!
Beautiful flowers and vines grow over the Main Lodge with hanging baskets hooked halfway down the side of the building on metal hangers.
There were amazing flower gardens and arrangements everywhere! Flowers love Montana! Look at this arrangement in a pair of boots sitting outside the gift shop.
Flower beds full of color were all around the property, like this area outside a grouping of guest cabins.
The gift shop and laundry is just one of the many cabins under the towering pines of The Lodge’s 2000 acres.
Guests can stay in hotel style rooms in the lodges or in individual cabins. We had this quaint little cabin near the main lodge.
I’ll share inside photos of our cabin in a post later in the series.
Here’s another style of guest cabin. All had seating areas on private porches.
Down by the waterfront a lookout tower gives a great view (and a great spot to jump from! See how brave I am later in the series!)
These bench swings were such a comfortable place to sit and read or watch the activity on the lake.
Looking back from the pier gives a view of the pool and one of the lodges.
I loved the red striped cushions on the log chaises lining one side of the pool.
Along the other side of the pool, log chairs and barrels of flowers line up waiting for guests.
The red trim is such a beautiful accent to the log walls and stone chimney.
Vines grow up around a building original to the grounds from 1935.
A short walk takes you up by the stables and corrals. There is an Elk Preserve on the property. Sheds and mounts adorn fence posts, gates and entrances.
This beautiful fire pit has rock seating.
A game room above one of the barns has ping pong, pool, shuffleboard and more. Down below carriages and wagons are stored.
Sunsets are beautiful over Flathead Lake each evening.
Be sure to follow along for the rest of the series. I’ll be sharing interior tours in my next post.
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