Lauren Bolden, Pie Bar
Totally Dreamy. This is on the border of Idaho and Montana, a couple of hours from Whitefish.
Do you remember going to your Grandparent’s house around the holidays and every surface in their home was decorated for Christmas? Garland on the banister, a Christmas tree covered in handmade ornaments, and more Christmas trinkets than you ever thought existed. Nutcrackers, those weird stuffed mice characters dressed in Victorian clothing, and snow globes. Oh, the snow globes. You would wait until all the adults left the room, tip toe over to the mantel, reach up, and grasp a cold, glass snow globe. Peering inside, you would see a tiny mountain town, blanked in tiny snowflakes. The moment you turned it over and back up right again, a winter wonderland would form before your eyes. A mini-blizzard all your own. A feeling of warmth would blossom in your chest and you were suddenly awash with happiness. That is Whitefish. A tiny mountain town in Montana, in your own personal snow globe.
We spent three days skiing down mountains, traipsing through the snow, and eating lots of local pie. Whitefish was cooollldddd. Negative temperatures were not uncommon, and being from Georgia, we had our concerns. But yall, IT WAS NOT THAT BAD. Honest. Maybe it was the fact that I had on more layers than an onion or the fact that we made sure to “keep moving,” but really, I didn’t hate it. The views were beautiful and the snow was soft and plush, nothing like the crunchy stuff we have at home. And thank goodness it was so plush, because when Cody accidently skied off a teeny-tiny little cliff and fell a few feet down, it was a decently soft landing. Other than that one traumatizing event, we only embarrassed ourselves slightly when I was busted digging through the lost-and-found for gloves...because apparently, you need those while skiing. So, good news, guy on the slopes who told me I was “in the way”.. we will see you next season, sir!
Some of us don't need fleece face masks....
Following our ski-venture, we were in definite need of nourishment, and only one thing would cure it -- PIE. It had been all of one day since I had eaten a sweet filling encased in a buttery crust, and I needed it in a bad way. Whenever we asked the folks of Whitefish where best to grab a slice of pie, they all unanimously directed us towards a local café called Loula’s. Located in a historic Masonic Temple in Downtown Whitefish, it has the charm that any good local place has: casual atmosphere, good coffee, and pie. We had three slices, because one slice per person just wouldn’t cut it. Cody opted for the Sour Cream Lemon, I choose the Mixed Huckleberry, and for the table we chose a Bourbon Pecan. I could immediately see why the Whitefishiens loved this place for their pie. The bourbon pecan was denser than a traditional southern pecan pie (an additional egg maybe?) and I loved it! I love the variation we find trying so many different pies during pie-cation. The Sour Cream Lemon was Cody’s favorite. He loved the lemony-custard mixed with the tanginess from the sour cream. And the Mixed Huckleberry Pie was my favorite. I forgot to ask what berries were all present, but I am speculating when I say huckleberries, blackberries and maybe raspberries. It was sweet and slightly tart, the perfect fruit pie combination.
Hello little pie friends..
On our final day in Whitefish, we decided to visit Glacier National Park. I was unsuccessful in my attempt to sneak into Canada nor did I see a moose, but a wasted trip it was not! We hiked along Lake McDonald and repeatedly jumped into large piles of snow, because we are adults and it seemed like a good idea. The park was amazing and beautiful and I am officially quitting Pie Bar to become a National Park Ranger and move to Montana. Just kidding…but I did consider it.
Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park
Leaving the park there are a few small towns in between Glacier and Whitefish, all of which have the traditional roadside stands and tourist spots. Most are closed during the winter months, yet The Huckleberry Patch remains open. They are a light spot in the darkness. And thank ya Jesus, because they serve a Huckleberry Pie (do you see a theme? Montana folks love their Huckleberries) that needs to be available year around. All their pies are made on sight by a lady named Erna, and even though I didn’t have a chance to meet Mrs. Erna, I sure do love her huckleberry pie.
We packed up early yesterday morning and hit the road. Next Stop on Piecation 2017 – Portland, Oregon.
P.S. – Huckleberry vs Blueberry
Huckleberries are a similar fruit to the blueberry in appearance and flavor, but the Huckleberry has larger, crunchier seeds while the Blueberry has many soft, tiny seeds. From the outside, they appear to look almost identical, but the best way to describe the flavor difference is the Huckleberry tends to be more tart and intense than Blueberries (gardenguides.com).