By Gwen Ashley Walters
Montana Yields Peak Experience
Resort: Triple Creek Ranch
Recipes: Seared Venison Loin, Latte Ice Cream Tart
We all keep secrets—and I'm about to blow the lid on one of the best kept secrets in the US: Southern Montana, where natural panoramic beauty abounds in every direction. Even more secret is a luxurious guest ranch about 1-1/2 hours south of Missoula, the closest town with a commercial airport. Tucked at the base of Trapper Peak, the highest point in the Bitterroot Range, Triple Creek Ranch is open year-round, pampering couples and small business groups alike. Though technically it is a ranch, complete with horses and trails, it doesn't feel like a cowboy hideaway, unless of course, you're talking about the kind of cowboy that wears a $400 custom-made hat and a pair of hand-made ostrich boots. Yee haw!
The Wall Street Journal described a stay at Triple Creek as " . . . roughing it Robin Leach style." Situated on 375 wooded acres and surrounded by national forest on three sides, the picturesque retreat indulges the whims and wishes of guests seeking a quiet respite from city life. The handsomely appointed log cabins with private hot tubs combined with world-class cuisine and complimentary premium wines, sum up to a welcome prescription for jubilant relaxation.
Warm summer days are perfect for hiking through wildflower-soaked meadows. Explore rugged trails on horseback and climb to elevations that offer panoramic views of the land known as Big Sky country. Indulge in the art of fly-fishing and after a free casting lesson, try your skill on the stocked pond behind the lodge before wading into a crystal-clear stream to catch a 20-inch native cutthroat trout. Golfers will appreciate a nearby 18-hole course with astonishing mountain views. The area offers a number of fine and Western art galleries and you can design your own custom cowboy hat in nearby Wisdom, Montana.
Watching the snowfall and consuming the utter silence are favorite winter pastimes at the ranch. Cross-country skiing and downhill skiing are nearby, or take a sightseeing tour in a helicopter. Return to the lodge for a soothing massage or a soak in the hot tub, rejuvenating just in time for dinner.
Cuisine is taken seriously at this Relais and Chateaux property. Meals are considered favorite activities, and it's no wonder. Breakfast might include an herb and feta cheese frittata or cinnamon-dipped French toast. Guests often request a gourmet picnic basket to take on their daily jaunts. The basket might contain roasted vegetable wraps and fresh pasta salad with triple chocolate brownies thrown in to cap the lunch. Dinner is an intimate, white tablecloth affair, or if you prefer, have the staff deliver your gourmet meal to your cabin. Several appetizer and entrée choices appear each evening, with wild game and fresh fish making regular appearances. The desserts are divine and worth every calorie. The Triple Creek Ranch Chefs have shared two delicious recipes, a Seared Venison Loin with Balsamic Blueberry Sauce and a Vanilla Latte Ice Cream Tart. Enjoy!
Triple Creek Ranch
5551 West Fork Stage Route
Darby, MT 59829
Accommodations: 19 individual log and cedar cabins.
Activities: Summer: Horseback riding; hiking; fly-fishing; golfing; tennis; swimming; whitewater rafting. Winter: snowmobiling; snowshoeing; dog-sledding; winter horseback riding; cross-country and downhill skiing; flight-seeing; heli-skiing.
Rates: $510-$995 per couple per night (includes all meals, snacks, wine and cocktails, and most on-property activities).
Copyright © 2001, Gwen Ashley Walters. All rights reserved.
Gwen Ashley Walters is cookbook author, cooking teacher, food writer and Certified Culinary Professional with a degree in Culinary Arts. Gwen's travel guide/cookbooks, The Great Ranch Cookbook, (1998) and The Cool Mountain Cookbook, (2001) were published by Pen & Fork Communications.
This page created May 2001