Family, Hotel Reviews
Montana, November 2014,
This past November, I flew to Missoula (yes, it took me two flights from NYC) and then drove an hour and change through heather-covered mountains and open valleys, all to arrive at Jim Manley’s rarefied luxe lodge, The Ranch at Rock Creek. It was my first visit to a real working Ranch and my inner-cowboy was raring to go.
It was there, surrounded by horses, a babbling river and charming navajo and cowhide furnishings that I also enjoyed my first ever GLAMPING experience. Given its name is derived from glamour (glamorous + camping = Glamping) I was an instant fan. Everything from the cozy canvas tent’s furnishings and temperature controlled gas fire to the sonorous natural aqua soundtrack out my door, I was smitten at first night.
Beyond the plush accommodations, the RRC provides truly commendable service with each employee more friendly than the next with a genuine passion for their job and the property they represent. The mood was one of true contentment and it was quickly translated to the guests. It also helps that the price model is all-inclusive, thus guests are presented with a bill until the very end of their stay. Better yet, it makes choosing the day’s activities – particularly for fickle kids – absent of stress and financial burden. Want to try fly fishing but not ready to commit to four hours? Not a problem. Try it for as long as you like. Same goes for shooting, the ropes course (which seriously tested my fear of heights), mountain biking, cattle ranching and riding. The options are yours for the picking and re-picking.
Being that the ranch is the dream-come-true / brainchild of one individual, it’s not unfair to compare bits of it to Michael’s Neverland (though far less creepy in context, of course.) Take the ranch’s saloon, for instance, which is outfitted with saddle-laden bar stools, a pool table, multiple big-screen TVs, and, perhaps most impressively, a four-lane bowling alley. It’s Butch Cassidy’s man cave.
Then there’s the general store, or the MERC, as they call it. Never have I been so tempted to outfit myself in head-to-toe cowgirl wear. They wisely blend their comprehensive array of boots with a rainbow of Patagonia fleece, men’s plaid shirts, designer denim and charming children wear – even the t-shirts are extra comfy. If the outdoors hadn’t been just a tad more alluring (barely), I would have lost a few hours in that store.
And last, there’s the food. Again, the all-inclusive model wins here, allowing zero hesitation to ordering as much and as varied amount of items as you like. It also alleviates the inevitable frustration of a dish left half uneaten by your six year old. Fortunately, the leftovers will likely be snatched up by others as the food is that good. Sourced locally, as much as possible, the dishes are outstanding and feature local game, produce and delectable homemade soups and desserts. Good thing the multitude of hikes were easily accessible, ensuring the three square meals were effortlessly burned off.
Rollin’ with Nolan Tip: The Ranch offers guests a complimentary pair of cowboy boots to wear throughout their stay. Do not pass this opportunity up. I felt FAR more comfortable in my boots than ever imagined and quickly did away with any other shoe option for most of the stay.
If interested in booking a stay at the Ranch at Rock Creek, please email me for preferred pricing and specials.