In the numerous years that Elizabeth and I have been friends/roommates, we have talked about taking many trips, ranging from as extravagant as Italy to as fun as Vegas to as simple as Bozeman. We have taken none of those (yet). We have always been too busy or too practical with our money. But sitting on her couch the other night, we had had a sudden and random inspiration that an overnight trip to nearby Red Lodge would be a delightful little adventure. And somehow all our usual excuses didn’t deter us, and we found ourselves booking a room for Friday night.
We had our eyes on the Pollard hotel, as A. being pretty awesome historical and B. being situated right in the center of main street. We were sure due to those considerations it would be more expensive and we would actually find ourselves in the Comfort Inn or something, right? Wrong, it actually somehow ended up being one of the least expensive places to sleep for the night, so we got to stay there.
Red Lodge is one of the quaintest little towns. It’s a bit of a resort place, due to being so close to the ski mountain, and mountains in general. Stores ranging from rock shops to tea shops to Harley Davidson to Real Estate offices line the main road, and the restaurant selection goes from dive bar to farm-sourced fine dining. It’s an eclectic little mix that’s fun to explore.
Half the reason we wanted to stay in the Pollard is because we had already had good memories of the place. One night, at the Christmas Stroll, (I haven’t discussed the Christmas Stroll before, and it’s really deserving of it’s own post. Next year’s, perhaps. Leave it to say that it is AWESOME and has such the perfect holiday feeling to it) we were taking a break from wandering around and, free beers from some store in hand, we sat in the sitting room and chatted with a friend while we warmed ourselves from the chill outside. It was such a cozy, welcoming space, and we knew more time there would be delightful.
So on Friday I picked up Elizabeth and we made the short little road trip up there.
We were told every room is a bit different. Some don’t even have a view of outside, but instead look down upon one of the sitting rooms.
The room was a tidy, well organized space quite typical of hotels. The bed was super soft and comfortable. And the desk/dresser was a really beautiful looking antique. Everyone was very friendly. We did take a few moments to figure out how to actually unlock our hotel room door, but it worked in the end and we didn’t have any issues after that. It was just a matter then of setting our overnight bags down and finding somewhere for dinner. We were both feeling like we wanted something a little fancy (All dressed up and ready for a fun night on the town as we were), so we finally settled on Carbon County Steakhouse, a restaurant that’s got a classy, sort of gentleman’s club feel and a whole lot of good food.
We started off the night with a cheese plate and drinks (And warm, yummy, complimentary bread, as well). The cheese plate had some pickled peppers, dried fruit, crackers, olives, and (obviously) various cheeses. Elizabeth and I are neither huge fans of blue cheese, but the chunks that were on the plate we found ourselves gobbling up. It didn’t have quite the strong, sour kick at the end that I often associate with it. The other cheeses were what I would almost describe as a smoked pepper jack, and one with mustard seeds in it. All amazing and delicious. She had the Lemon Ginger Fizz cocktail, with citrus vodka, ginger beer, and rosemary. I had the Buswick martini, which had gin, pink peppercorns, ginger, sugar, basil, and lemon juice. Mine was a surprisingly savory and wonderfully fantastic drink. Hers was a little sweeter and reminiscent of mixing a Moscow Mule with a rosemary mojito (two of my favorite things!). Dinner was a wonderful beef stroganoff (Not pictured, because I was too busy lost in conversation to remember to snap pics). They also have THE BEST after dinner mints, like really fancy Andes Mints.
After dinner (About 8:30/9, by the time we got done) there wasn’t too much going on. The bars were certainly open and hoping, but we weren’t really in the mood for such things. What we really wanted, we decided, was tea. Now there was a very intriguing tea shop just across the street from the hotel, but alas, it was closed already. We decided to ask the front desk man if he could get some for us, and he found some wonderful mint tea that we took to the sitting room.
We texted an old friend, studied a book about spying which the hotel had for sale, and just generally chatted about life and work and all the changes that have been happening to our lives and how we were both trying to rise to the challenge. About this time we decided we needed another cup of tea, so we hassled the poor (and cute!) front desk guy to see if he could please get us another? He could indeed! And because we were feeling so crazy and wild this evening, we moved to the second sitting room to shake things up a bit.
This second sitting room in the back of the hotel had a much different feel than the other. This one has a large fireplace reaching up several floors (unfortunately unlit, but I can only imagine the beauty of it in winter!) The room was only half lit at this time of night, which gave us a nice semidarkness to continue our conversation. It was probably about midnight by the time we finally decided we should call it a night. Up to our cozy room to realize we were VERY tired and to sleep deeply until my alarm told us we might want to actually get down to breakfast if we wanted to actually get breakfast.
Breakfast comes with the hotel room, and it was a little more than the classic Froot Loops and toast. It’s a sit down meal in the dining room. Eggs, toast, french toast, pancakes, your classic breakfast items are there for you. I personally went for the Eggs Benedict, because seriously, how often do you get the chance to eat that? Not enough, world, not enough. The hollandaise sauce was perfectly rich and tangy; the eggs wonderfully poached. And it was served with crispy Brabant potatoes (Oh so nicely seasoned with some warm spices and perfect to dip in that extra pool of hollandaise) Totally worth sneaking in there to get, even if you don’t stay overnight at the hotel.
We wandered around Red Lodge afterwords. Red Lodge is great for window shopping. Firstly, because of all the different shops. Secondly, because it is generally a very expensive town to go shopping in and I couldn’t justify most purchases there. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t fun things to be found. We did find some beautiful and high quality scarves to add to our wardrobes, and I snagged a pair of green earrings that I really loved for quite a good price. Another place to visit is the Candy Emporium, one of those places that has a thousand barrels of candy and you get charged by the ounce. Also, fantastic fudge. It holds a lot of nostalgic memory for me, as we always had to visit whenever we went to Red Lodge. Also, it’s just fun.
For lunch we had the idea to stop by a bakery, grab some pastries, and drive out to the creek somewhere to eat them out in the wilderness. We went to Mustang Bakery, which has a scrummy selection of homemade pastries (Scrummy, because I have been watching a lot of the Great British Bake Off recently and that is apparently a British phrase that is now a part of my vocabulary. Think scrumptious). I had a poppy seed ricotta cherry one which was as good as any pastry I’ve ever been pleasured to consume. We also grabbed some coffee at the coffee shop (A cupcake latte, for me, which was good though I don’t know if I maybe added too many shots to really taste cupcake.)
We drove out to Joliet and parked beside Rock Creek, dangling our feet over the edge of the car and munching on the absolutely divine pastries. Unfortunately our adventure had to come to an end, and homeward bound we went.
Final thoughts on our adventure:
- How the heck did it take us so long to actually enact a getaway? It will not be our last.
- Red Lodge isn’t that far. You don’t have to go far to have a get-away.
- The trip was really not that expensive, all things considered. Less than $200 for a fancy dinner with drinks and appetizers, a night in a historical hotel, spending money on books and scarves and coffee and pastries. Not something to do often, perhaps, but not something that’s impossible to do a bit of budgeting for and make happen.
- I am blessed with an utterly amazing friend. We had so much fun, and essentially didn’t stop our stream of conversation from the moment we started to the moment we stopped. That’s not something that’s easy to achieve with someone, and yet we have. It was amazing time to really focus on our friendship and have some quality time together.