Again, all photos are clickable to larger size.
This was our first visit to Montana and we loved it (or at least the part of Montana that we visited). While Canada and US are somewhat similar countries, you could easy see the difference. After spending a week in Canadian Rockies Montana looked like a center of civilization. We spent some time walking through very nice shopping area of town of Whitefish (population a bit over 6000) that looked super-classy comparing to much larger Cranbrook in BC.
Then we drove along large Flathead Lake that was slightly larger than Lake Tahoe but much shallower. Lastly, we drove through National Bison Range. It was established as a sanctuary for American bison in 1908 and has huge territory and a herd of bison between 350 and 500 animals. Again, we were time limited and could not drive through their entire area and unfortunately saw only 3 bison and not too close. This was another place in Montana that we need to visit again.
In Missoula where we stayed this night we ate in great restaurant called Pearl Cafe. Lucky us - second excellent restaurant in a row. Suffering from overeating last night we decided to take it easy and limited ourselves to two soups and three appetizers to share. Well, jumping ahead of myself, we still came out of a restaurant pretty full. Their food was so good and their service was very friendly and classy.
We ordered two onion soups that were very rich in flavor and had a lot of caramelized onion. Our first appetizer was escargot in mushroom cups (half a dozen escargot stuffed in mushroom cups and baked in sizzling garlic and herb butter) – heavenly! Our second appetizer was house smoked trout (Idaho trout served with spring greens in lemon vinaigrette, horseradish crème fraiche and beet puree) – excellent. The last appetizer was the most interesting and the most substantial – charcuterie plate (bison and pork country style pate with pickled cherries, rabbit rilettes, creamy chicken pate and prosciutto de Parma with pappadew peppers, pickled radishes, tomato-current chutney, cold smoke mustard, cornichons and toasts. Our total bill with two beers before tips was $62 (unbelievable for high quality French restaurant).
Then we checked into our hotel (BW) and were pleasantly surprised. We got huge suite-like room with separate sitting area with sofa and three windows. Our room was tactfully decorated and very clean. Their breakfast next day was also excellent. Very good place to stay.
To be continued...