How do you find lodging in off-the-beaten-path destinations like Montana’s Bitterroot Valley? Alan and I rely on Vacation Rentals by Owner. Last spring, when we sat down to plan an active boomer adventure in the southwestern corner of the Big Sky State, we used our tried and true tips for choosing a vacation rental.
On the drive up Sweathouse Creek Road to SweetSage Guest House in Victor, Montana, we knew that good old VRBO (and our strategies) had not let us down. What did we find? A three bedroom log house located on a certified organic farm in the foothills of the Bitterroot Mountains.
Sheep grazed on the lawn while cows bellowed in the pasture across the road. And Amy, the owner, warned us to keep a sharp eye on the orchard next door for possible black bear sightings.
A covered front porch became our favorite location for enjoying a morning cup of coffee, accompanied by wildlife viewing, before heading out on the day’s adventure. The quiet country roads made for peaceful walks. And the trailhead to Sweathouse Falls was an easy jaunt up Sweathouse Creek Road.
With three bedrooms (two with king-sized beds), SweetSage Guest House provides a comfortable headquarters for that multi-generational trip for boomer bonding with the grandkids. We found shelves stocked with games and books about Montana as well as a number of fiction titles. And playing the piano that sat against the wall in the great room, reminded me that I’d been spending a little too much time on the computer in my everyday life and not enough attention to my music.
A well-equipped kitchen contained every gadget imaginable, including a KitchenAid mixer, just in case baking cookies was part of our vacation plans. Two grills – one gas, the other charcoal – were on the covered back porch. And in the laundry room, we found laundry supplies next to the washer and dryer.
SweetSage Guest House also comes equipped with satellite tv and wireless internet, if you can tear yourself away from that front porch view. Although it wasn’t cold enough to light a fire in the great room’s rock fireplace, it was very tempting.
Active baby boomers will find plenty of adventure in the Bitterroot Valley. Hike the mountain trails (we like Kootenai Creek Trail) of the Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountains, fly fish in the Bitterroot River or visit historical sites commemorating the Lewis and Clark expedition.
Summer festivals in the valley’s towns – Darby, Hamilton, Victor, Corvallis, Stevensville, Florence and Lolo – offer boomers a chance to experience small town living. And don’t forget to pick up fresh vegetables at Hamilton’s Saturday market for dinner back at SweetSage Guest House.
Of course I don’t believe baby boomers should spend their entire vacation cooking. For a night out, Alan and I recommend Wild Mare (Corvallis) or The Catered Table (Stevensville). Breakfast lovers will want to try Moon Dance Cafe (Victor) or Frontier (Stevensville).
We enjoyed our summer stay at SweetSage Guest House so much that we returned for another visit in September. For baby boomers, it’s the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation.