Archive for July, 2009

26
Jul
09

Buck’s T-4 re-opens and welcomes locals and visitors. (BLOG readers come to Buck’s!!!!)

Buck’s T-4 is back under ownership of Mike Scholz and everybody in town is excited to see his return. Buck’s T-4  re-opened the restaurant last night after being closed all through the week for restructuring. The same menu is offered throughout the entire dining room, pub and bar. Opening night was busy as Big Sky locals flooded our doors to try the new menu and welcome back previous owner Mike Scholz and our Food and Beverage Director, formerly our Executive chef for twenty years, Chuck Schommer.

The menu is fabulous, Buck’s offers a burger for $8.95 and you can choose from an array of cheeses, bacon and mushrooms with no extra charge. For a ½ pound burger, this is an unbeatable deal. Buck’s also offers a selection of steak cuts with the option to personalize your steak by adding béarnaise, mushrooms, foie gras-cherry butter, Bordelaise sauce or make it pepper crusted or Oscar-style.  Buck’s continues to offer fantastic specialties such as Red Deer and more.

Friday evening we all sat down and sampled each and every item on the menu. I was so stuffed by the end of the tasting I could hardly walk, but that didn’t stop me from taking a few extra bites of my favorite items. I was very impressed by the heirloom tomato dish, sliced heirloom tomatoes with shaved fennel, golden balsamic, extra-virgin olive oil, basil crisp and sea salt.

Opening night I walked up to a table and greeted a family and introduced myself.  “Erin?” the woman at the table asked me. “We are the Harrelsons!” I was so pleased to see our blog readers in the restaurant. Kristin Harrelson brought in her husband and lovely 8 year old daughter, Erin. During their stay in Big Sky, they took part in several activities including a hike in Beehive Basin. I was very impressed by Erin Harrelson who hiked over 6 miles through the mountains in a day. The Harrelsons raved about the delicious food at Buck’s and how much they absolutely loved Big Sky. “This is the only area I have ever travelled to in which I would actually consider moving to” remarked Mr. Harrelson. I was so happy to hear that they are planning on returning during the winter for skiing since they enjoyed the hiking so much.

Speaking of hiking; my favorite counter-part, Charlie and I headed to Hidden Lakes to do some fishing last week. Although I have been here for eight summers, I had yet to discover this trail previously. The trail is a relatively mild two and a half miles, ascending for the first two-thirds and then meandering through rolling hills within the forest. The trail leads to the Hidden Lakes where one can fish, sight-see or swim.  Charlie and I are not the best fisherman, as once again we left empty handed. However it was worth the trip, just to see the views.

Now that I think about it, I better get off this computer and out of the office. It is another beautiful blue sky day in Big Sky. The weather couldn’t be nicer, dry and in the high 70’s with not a cloud in sight.

I hope that I meet you too when you visit Big Sky.

I eagerly await making your acquaintance,

Erin

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13
Jul
09

Weddings and what they have to do with “Getting away from it all” in Big Sky

It feels like summer has finally arrived in Big Sky and we all know what summer means; wedding season. I went to my first wedding of the season in Big Sky. My friends Sarah and Drew were married in a beautiful outdoor ceremony in Taylor Fork, which is National Forest land off highway 191 in Big Sky. The wedding was nothing short of beautiful as was the bride. Wedding guests all stayed at Buck’s T-4 while they were in town and all mentioned how much they loved Buck’s to me at the wedding.

Big Sky is a popular spot for weddings. With more and more couples looking for “destination weddings”, places like Big Sky become more involved with the wedding business.  The “destination wedding” is a very interesting concept and in many situations works out very well for the families. Take Sarah and Drew for example. Sarah is from Washington and Drew is from California. If the bride chose to hold her wedding in Washington, then the entire groom’s family would have to travel, which seems a little unfair. So instead of creating that problem, they decided to hold their wedding in a place in which both families would have to travel, but could make a vacation out of the wedding and experience the west while they were here.  (And see where Drew and Sarah were making a life for themselves.) Big Sky offers so many activities including whitewater rafting, golf, horseback riding, lift accessible mountain biking, hiking and more. We are also only miles from Yellowstone National Park. While wedding guests were here they had the opportunity to experience Montana, and to see some of the most breathtaking sights one could imagine. Drew and Sarah had their ceremony in a field, with a view that would make even a Montana local stop and stare for a moment. Two smaller mountains covered with pine trees hugged the sides and framed a soaring high alpine rocky peak, still snowy in the distance. An artist could not have painted anything more picturesque.

Buck’s T-4 is a popular location for weddings. Buck’s makes it easy for brides to plan from out of state offering a talented Events Coordinator, exclusive yet affordable catering services, discounted lodging for guests and more.

Sunday morning I awoke as the sun raised high in the sky and lighted up the land. It was a stunning sight as I walked outside for a while trying my best to wake up. Once back at my house I called my friend Tad immediately. A day as perfect as Sunday, I didn’t want to waste an hour. We decided to go fishing up at Lava Lake. Tad collected his fishing poles, lures and some fresh fruit. I gathered water, bug spray, sun screen and a rain jacket. I know I always talk about Lava Lake, but I really do find it to be my favorite trail in the Big Sky area. The hike is enough to get some exercise, but not too long and the reward at the top is phenomenal. Once at the top one can make their way around the lake and enjoy swimming, fishing, reading on a rock near the water, floating or just appreciating the view. On weekends you will run into other people, but it is nothing like some of the trailheads I have seen in Colorado or around Salt Lake City, or in California. Montana still remains remote and undiscovered.

We started up the trail and Tad set the pace at what seemed to be a moderate jog. We passed hiker after hiker as my throat began to swell, my lungs strained and I wheezed my way up the trail. Tad turned around and looked at me curiously. “Am I going too fast?” he asked. Normally the pace would be fine, but being one of my first hikes of the season, I was a little less than in dazzling hiking shape. “Let’s keep it up and see how long I can do this.” I replied trying to be a good sport. We moved swiftly up until about the second stream crossing, which is about ½ way. At that point I had to slow down a little. However I still managed to pass everybody on the trail ahead of me, even at my “slow” pace.

Once we reached the top we strolled down to a picture perfect spot just on the left side of the lake. Big white rocks surrounded us and drift wood floated near the shore. We lathered up with sun screen and bug repellent and then got to tying on our lures. (Actually, Tad got to trying on both our lures.) I stood and watched.

We fished for a while at the first spot and then slowly made our way farther and farther to the left across two boulder fields. At each new fishing spot we tried new techniques and lures. But at every spot we didn’t get as much as a bite. We spotted a couple trout swimming on different occasions and cast our lures out beyond them and pulled them back towards us, hoping the lures would catch the fancy of the trout. Each time we were unsuccessful, but it didn’t seem to matter. We snacked on cherries, cracked jokes and dared each other to jump into the very cold water. (Neither of us ever did.) It rained a couple times very lightly on us, and we hoped the change in the weather would make the fish start biting, but it did not. Most of the day was sunny and warm. As the sun came out again, we decided to head back down the trail, go home and cook some grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner (since we were sans fish.) After some grilled cheese and tomato soup we settled down and watched from the window as a fantastic summer evening thunderstorm passed through.

I hope you too had a great weekend, and I hope to hear from you.

Here’s to the biting fish (who apparently I did not encounter),

Erin

02
Jul
09

Big Sky Summer is a Unique Western Experience

Big Sky is alive and full of life now that summer has hit in full speed. The majesty of the electric green fields, clear mountain backdrop and endless sky is truly enchanting.  There is not a day that passes in which I do not feel very lucky to live in such a beautiful place.

Big Sky is quiet in the summer. It is a wonderful break from the crowds that swarm the entrance towns to Yellowstone, or any other national park for that matter. Big Sky is no Estes Park. You will not find t-shirt shop after t-shirt shop and stores filled with junk here. Big Sky offers a truly unique western experience.  Our shops sell high quality goods, clothing, décor, jewelry and more. You can schedule a spa appointment at any number of spas in the area. I personally recommend checking out Hiking in Heels while you are in Big Sky. This small “beauty boutique” carries clothes for the fashionista in your group as well as offering spa treatments, makeup and jewelry.

Big Sky is also blessed with fabulous restaurants. I have reservations for Buck’s Main Dining Room on Friday night. I am very excited to showcase our restaurant, but also to eat there. Executive Chef Todd Christensen has done a fabulous job updating our menu while keeping classic dishes that everybody comes back for and offering a fresh spin on others. The food is the best I have tasted in town. No lie. I often patronize other restaurants and try to always pay credit to others, but as far as fine dining or steakhouses go, I truly believe that Buck’s Main Dining Room is where it is at.

If you want Thai food you must go to the Lotus Pad for dinner.

I love to drop into the Blue Moon Bakery in the mornings and grab a large latte, a freshly baked everything bagel topped with homemade jalapeno cheddar cream cheese and tomato slices. After my breakfast I usually head out on whatever day’s adventure holds.  The variety of trails in the area seems to be endless. Although I have resided here for eight years, I have barely made a dent in the list. Some of my favorite hiking trails include; Cinnamon Mountain, which is a stout 4 and half mile climb to the a fire lookout tower which offers a spectacular view of Sphinx Mountain; Storm Castle, which is only 2 and half miles but is certain to get your heart pumping as you ascend a steep grade towards the magnificent rock structure on top resembling a castle on top of the mountain; Beehive Basin, this trail just outside of the Big Sky Resort a couple miles and offers 3 miles of beauty and an ever changing landscape. It brings hikers to a small mountain lake within a basin. One can look around and the steep chutes and high alpine landscape, and as you turn around it looks like the end of the earth drops off into the oblivion. Lava Lake, this trail is probably my all-time favorite. The trail is about 3 miles long and takes you to a large mountain lake surrounded by tall peaks. You can swim in the lake, on a hot day it is wildly refreshing. The trail  stays relatively cool in the summer due to the fact that you hike mostly through a dense pine forest. About ¾ the way up you enter a patch of thimble berries. They are delicious; just make sure you keep your eyes out for hungry bears also feasting on the delicious berries.

As I sit here trying to decide on what to do for the 4th of July, it is hard to choose. Big Sky has so many fun events. (See www.bigskychamber.com ) I was also thinking of travelling to the park myself for a bike ride alongside the road. Then again, I may run off into the woods with a good buddy and we can hide from all the excitement and have a private 4th of July celebration. I think that is what is so charming and unique about Big Sky; if you want to be surrounded by people and take part in events there is always something fun to do. And if you want to have a quiet night alone or with only a few people, you have the option to escape into the mountains and you don’t have to go far to get away.

Montana may be the last best place on Earth.

Cheers,

Erin




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