Every Friday in 2013, the Let’s Fly Away Across the USA series will feature a different state, documenting the things we love about each sate and what you should do or see when you visit.
Hi! I’m Jessica Lowry and I am a professional photographer in Montana. I blog over at blog.jessicalowry.com and also blog.coucoustudio.com. When I’m not shooting assignments for magazines or capturing people’s wedding days I’m out exploring this beautiful state. I moved here over 6 years ago with my husband (a native Montanan) from Georgia. Over the last several years we’ve had some epic outdoor adventures followed by delicious bites. Here are some of my favorites:
For me the best thing about Montana has been the endless possibility it presents. You can go totally off the grid and get lost in a National Park or you can enjoy some big city amenities like amazing sushi (yes – amazing, landlocked sushi does exist ie: http://www.wasabimt.com) or contemporary art in one of our cool towns. It’s a dream come true. For a girl who was planning to pack her bags and head across the pond to London – it’s surprised me how much I’ve fallen in love with such a wild and remote place. But in the end I can’t wait to explore more of it each day. I’m thankful my job sends me out and about taking photos across the state.
1. Polebridge Mercantile and Kintla Lake. You can’t beat the pastries at the Merc. followed by a day fishing at Kintla. Beautiful and remote this is one of my favorite spots to get away from everything.
2. Blackbird in Bozeman. The best pizza. Seriously. On par with Italy pizza. Order the Funghi and wash it down with Cannonau di Sardegna from Italy. You can’t go wrong here.
3. Glacier National Park. Sun Point – an easy-peasy hike but I just love the view. Originally the site of a historic inn within the parks borders – it’s now a flat rock with a lovely view of the surrounding lake. Windy but epic.
For bonus points
Pie for Strength. If you’re doing the Glacier thing make sure to stop by this perennial favorite on the east side: Park Café. A win-win on the breakfast followed by dessert front. Makes for a great post-hike treat. The razzleberry is my favorite.
Missoula Farmers Market. If you want to get a true Missoula experience this is the place. Held each Saturday May – October it’s a great place to grab a coffee, some veggies for the week and people watch until your heart can’t take anymore.
Jest Gallery, Whitefish. One of my favorite art galleries in the state. They always have a fine mix of contemporary Montana artists and amazing jewelry. Beautiful and unique mix of artists makes for a great cultural break and pause from all the outdoor fun.
Kayaking Whitefish Lake. I love being on the water and this is a great place to do it. Located on the north end of town below Whitefish Mountain Resort, a day spent kayaking or paddle boarding on this lake is a ticket to tranquility.
Brewery Tour. So many to pick from including Great Northern Brewing in Whitefish, Neptune’s Brewery in Livingston, Flathead Lake Brewing in Bigfork (with a tasting room in Missoula) and the soon to open Kalispell Brewing Co. Check out the tasting map here.
Yellowstone! It’s big, beautiful and while mostly in Wyoming, the drive in from Livingston and Gardiner is beautiful beyond belief. From Old Faithful to the Grand Prismatic Spring Yellowstone is stunning and other-worldly. September is my favorite time to go with lots of opportunities to see wildlife and a bit of a break from the tourists.
National Bison Range. Buffallo in their natural habitat! A drive thru this preserve north of Missoula is a visual treat. Buffallo everywhere, rolling hills with Mountains in the background. It’s a stunning, picture-perfect Montana memory.
Editor’s note: Jessica has more amazing photos of Montana on her site! Check out the stories section for more.