Posts tagged: Whitefish
(Pam Barberis and son Evan wave to the crowd from the Black Star van at the Whitefish Winter Carnival Grand Parade. Photo by Cheryl-Anne Millsap)
There’s still time to get to Whitefish, Montana this weekend for a unique Northwest winter event.
This Saturday, Feb. 4, is the culmination of the annual Whitefish Winter Carnival. You can watch the gooseflesh-and-screams fun of the Penguin Plunge as hundreds of locals cannonball off the icy shore of City Beach at Whitefish Lake. You can elbow toddlers out of the way to catch candy thrown by participants at the rowdy downtown Grand Parade. Or, best of all, If you’re the haggling sort, especially the beer-drinking haggling sort, you might just be lucky enough to score a year’s worth of Black Star Beer.
Ah. Now I have your attention.
At the annual Black Star Beer Barter, held at the Great Northern Brewing Company, contestants try to out-bid one another by offering outrageous examples of just what they would do and how far they would go to win fifty-two cases (1,248 bottles if you’re math challenged) of the distinctive double-hopped golden lager. You don’t have to participate to enjoy the fun. It’s perfectly OK to hoist a Black Star or two and just watch the show, but it’s still not too late to come up with your own outrageous trade.
If you want to prove you’re willing to party hard, here’s an idea: Catch the 1:30 am Amtrak Empire Builder in Spokane, arrive in Whitefish with the Saturday morning sunrise. Spend the day downtown, after the Beer Barter stop by the Great Northern 17th Anniversary festivities and then take in the Whitefish Mountain Resort Torchlight Parade before the train pulls out and heads back to Spokane at 9:40 pm.
Don't tell me that wouldn't impress your friends at Sunday's Super Bowl party.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance writer based in Spokane, Washington. She blogs at CAMera and Treasure Hunting. Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the country. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
In love and lodging, the little things always seem to matter the most.
I was reminded of this in early May, when I traveled to Whitefish, Montana for the centennial celebration of Glacier National Park. I was lucky enough to find a rare opening at The Garden Wall Inn.
The beautiful bed and breakfast sits on a corner in a residential area just two blocks from downtown. Once the town’s finest home, thanks to the vision of owner Rhonda Fitzgerald, the lovely two-story house is now home to five of Whitefish’s most luxurious overnight guest rooms.
Located just at the top of the quaint staircase, rose wallpaper and bedding, antique furnishings and artwork as well as lace curtains at the windows, all perfectly suited to the home’s provenance, gave my room a sweet vintage charm.
Personal touches like paper-thin antique water glasses on the dresser, freshly ironed antique linen sheets and pillow cases on the bed and well-chosen accessories such as the delicate Wedgwood dish on the dresser, wrapped me in comfort and elegance.
This, I learned, is a specialty of the house.
Fitzgerald insists that whenever possible, vintage and antique items are used to decorate and accessorize the inn. This concept is carried through from the furniture, to the artwork on the walls, to the sterling silver bud vases on tea trays and bedside tables.
The white-tiled en suite bathroom, complete with a massive vintage claw-foot bathtub, is stocked with a variety of Gilchrist and Soames soaps, lotions, bath beads and plenty of big, plush, monogrammed towels. After a long hike, I couldn’t wait to slip into a fragrant bubble bath and relax. There was plenty of stretching-out room in the big old tub. It was the perfect place to unwind and think about what I’d seen and done that day.
It became clear that at Garden Wall Inn the luxury doesn’t stop with the accommodations. That’s just the beginning.
Each afternoon a glass of sherry, or wine if you prefer, is served in the living room by the fireplace. When innkeeper Chris Schustrom discovered I like to have a cup of chamomile tea before bed, he delivered a silver tea tray complete with a vintage Blue Willow cup and saucer to my room at bedtime. Taken with the homemade truffle from Whitefish’s Copperleaf Chocolat Company left on my pillow at turndown, the combination was delicious and soothing.
In the morning, half an hour before breakfast, a morning tea or coffee tray was delivered to my room, another specialty of the house. It is a most civilized way to ease into the day.
The crowning touch is the signature Garden Wall Inn breakfast.
Owner Rhonda Fitzgerald is a trained chef. Her breakfasts are a culinary work of art.
I sat down to a work-of-art fruit salad decorated with a slice of star fruit and livened by a spritz of fresh lime. Freshly squeezed orange juice and hot coffee were waiting on the table.
The main dish was Montana smoked trout and served en croute, accompanied by slices of local artisanal bread and homemade huckleberry muffins.
Everything about Garden Wall Inn is perfectly appointed. From the delicious gourmet breakfast, to the chance to unwind over a glass of sherry in the afternoon, to the delictable chocolate left on the pillow at turndown, guests are pampered by one little luxury after another. And, as any travel lover knows, the little things make a big impression. I can’t wait to spend another night in the beautiful white house on the corner.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a freelance
columnist for The Spokesman-Review. She is the author of “Home Planet: A
Life in Four Seasons.” Her essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio
and public radio stations across the country. She can be reached at
To see more photos of The Garden Wall Inn continue reading below.
Special to Pinch
Feb. 25, 2010
By Cheryl-Anne Millsap
The lights glowed in tiny pools on the sidewalk, piercing the darkness every few yards or so, reflecting in the polished steel as I walked along the idling train.
Stepping up into the railcar, I stowed my heavy suitcase in the rack and carried my smaller bag up the narrow staircase to the upper level of the Amtrak sleeper car. I scanned the signs above the doors before coming to my compartment. The bed, as the attendant had told me when I showed him my ticket, had already been turned down.
It took me a few minutes to settle in; pulling out my computer, plugging in my phone, gathering all my tools and travel talismans around me. Finally, I was ready. I had everything I needed to work through the night.
I don’t know why I bothered.