The good life
Want to experience nature at its finest while living in the lap of luxury? Book your next trip to The Resort at Paws Up in the mountains of Montana where ELLECanada.com's Lara Ceroni discovers why it truly is the world's last best place.
Where: Nestled in the magnificent southwestern Montana countryside just 30 miles outside of Missoula, The Resort at Paws Up is a 37,000 acre luxurious ranch resort with over 120 miles of trails that covers 10 miles of the infamous Blackfoot River (where parts of the blockbuster film, A River Runs Through It was filmed). Surrounded by unscathed wilderness you will be in awe of its breathtaking scenery. Nature at its best!
Where you stay: “Roughing it” is often a slang used to describe outdoor vacations, but the accommodations at Paws Up are anything but. Two-story pine cabins such as their Big Timber Homes or their Blackfoot River Lodge are scattered throughout the grounds and offer the most refined form of relaxation. The exceptional and friendly staff at the Resort leave no detail overlooked. With a hot cup of apple cider in hand, you enter a cozy log cabin in which each is equipped with a roaring stone fireplace, cowhide rugs and incredible four-poster beds complete with 300-thread-count linens. Also of note is their fully equipped kitchens, rain showers (with as many Aveda products you can get your hands on), heated granite floors, and – a must-have any time of the year – outdoor hot tubs. The cabins sleep anywhere from 6-8 people so it’s perfect for a family – or a winter soiree with your friends.
Come summertime, it is an absolute must to book your accommodations in “Tent City.” It is like nothing you will have ever experienced. Opened in 2006, Tent City (from June 1 – Sept 15) is an alternative to their private cabins whereby you “camp out” in lavish tents situated by the Blackfoot River. But, if you’re worried this will be reminiscent of those camping trips as a kid, think again. The four-poster beds, artwork and, believe it or not, electricity are all there coupled with a camping butler to handle any of your requests. After and adventure-filled day fishing for Rainbow trout or horseback riding through the Rocky Mountains head into their Spa Tent for a relaxing massage all while the Paws Up chef prepares you a sumptuous meal (like their kale soup with smoked trout wonton or grilled Elk loin) that would rival any major Five-star resort in the country.
For more information on The Resort at Paws Up, please visit: http://www.pawsup.com, or call: 1-800-473-0601.What to do: The question is more what not to do! The Resort offers a plethora of activities suited for anyone’s taste. Most obvious is the legendary fly-fishing where you can dip your fishing rod in some of Montana’s most notable rivers like Blackfoot, Bitterroot, Rock Creek and Tomahawk. Or, the adventure enthusiast will want to book a trip with the Paws Up Outfitters for big game hunting and trekking through the wilds. Art lovers are not ignored; there are photography excursions, too.
(Insider tip: Ask for guide, John Way. He knows the backcountry better than anyone!)
The winter experience is nothing short of spectacular. If there’s only one activity you book, then you have to go dog sledding. Imagine the excitement of being pulled by 12 gorgeous Siberian huskies at the foot of the Garnet mountains all while wrapped in a wool blanket taking in the views. While the dogs break halfway through your journey, warm up by the fire with hot cocoa and cookies all supplied by the Resort.
For the sporty, the Biathlon range is exactly up your alley. Fashioned after the Olympic event, participants vie for their best possible time by tackling the open fields on cross-country skis, shooting a high power rifle and aiming to get their place on the Paws Up record board. But, don’t fear: This isn’t a competition per se; it’s all about going out and having some fun in the snow.
The Garnet Mountain range is the idyllic scene for a snowmobiling tour which will take you into the mysterious Garnet Ghost Town, named for the semi-precious ruby-coloured stone found in the area. Accessible in the winter only by snowmobile, investigate the remains of Kelly’s Saloon constructed before 1898 or the J.K Wells Hotel where intriguing stories of its past residents resound.
Where to eat: The Resort has two main dining areas on the grounds: The Tank & Trough and The Pomp.
Fresh air works up one serious appetite so good thing breakfast and lunch at the Tank & Trough is worthy of your hunger. Feast on their Pioneer Entrées such as the vanilla grilled huckleberry coffee cake or dig into the apple cider oats with maple sugar and vanilla crème.
Lunch is even better. From the saddlebag, you can choose between their Natural Montana Bison-Angus burger with melted leeks and buttermilk blue cheese (delish!) or the classic pleaser: macaroni and cheese with braised ham hock.
Eating at The Pomp is the crème-de-la-crème of dining. Beyond the elegant surroundings, the service – and food – is impeccable. While you sip on a robust Malbec, peruse a menu full of home-harvested cuisine. For starters, opt for the Lamb salad with black chickpea hummus and roasted garlic or ricotta gratin with piquillo peppers. Mains are resplendent choices of king crab cannelloni and parsnip puree, grilled New York club and roasted cipollini. A personal favourite? The pan seared almond crusted snapper complimented by saffron broth and a trio of roasted beets.
Or, try the “Table of Adventure” which is a delightful six-course meal with wine pairings prepared exclusively by their talented chefs. Expect mouth-watering seafood, fresh meats and organic vegetable dishes to come your way.
For more information on The Resort at Paws Up, please visit: http://www.pawsup.com, or call: 1-800-473-0601.
ELLECanada.com would like to graciously thank all the staff at The Resort At Paws Up as well as Laura Davidson Public Relations.