Turns out, this year’s vacation in Yaak, Montana included a couple of unexpected but altogether charming places. On our first full day we saw the Yaak River Falls and the Kootenai River Falls, places one could easily call A Little Slice of Heaven. If you’d like, you can see photos of the Falls, this year and from 1968, here.
Why, you might ask, did we go to Yaak, Montana–in the middle of no where–for vacation? I’m getting there. Remember that charm I mentioned?
Take a peek inside the dining hall of the Yaak River Lodge.
If that’s not enough to help you digest breakfast, how about this:
I honestly hadn’t noticed the cats because (I was tired, and) the big black beast held me captive. I had to get a close up of those eyes (and those teeth).
Breakfast was served and we were not disappointed. The coffee, ready at 6 a.m., did not disappoint, either. Owners John and Dallas were most gracious hosts.
As I sat enjoying this wonderful meal–we didn’t have much of a dinner the night before so I was feeling quite satisfied–when I happened to look up, straight across the table.
There was another; I’d missed most of the smaller animals in the room aside from those most obvious. Something told me I’d better start paying closer attention. I was in Montana, after all.
Our room, the last one at the end of the hall, was so quiet one began to think everyone had left the planet. We live in the country, and we are used to quiet, but this? This was eerily quiet. And, just the ticket.
The lodge is on the right and does not include the buildings on the left.
Above are the grounds behind the lodge.
It was lovely and peaceful and quiet and refreshing–possibly a little scary in the dining hall–but well worth the time we spent here. About that dining experience: as explained by the owner, breakfast is served in the lodge during the week. On the weekends, they serve breakfast at the saloon (in Yaak, two miles down the road) also owned by John and Dallas. That meant that on Saturday–the day of the event that brought us to Montana–we had to eat breakfast at the saloon. The Dirty Shame Saloon.
I can’t say I’ve ever had breakfast in a saloon. I can’t recall the last time I was IN a saloon. Back home we call them bars; the last one I’d been to was when I was in college. We weren’t sure what to expect. Turns out, The Dirty Shame was a delightful breakfast experience.
We were the only customers. I really liked that. We had our own personal chef. Floyd is his name and he knows how to cook a pancake:
No ordinary pancakes, these were huckleberry pancakes, and they were fabulous. I never order pancakes in a restaurant, but Bruce nearly always does. I tried a couple bites. I ordered a ham and cheese omelet our first morning there–yes, we ate here twice–and scrambled eggs the second. Neither day did I leave hungry or disappointed. Floyd, you made two fabulous breakfasts. Thank you!
You may have noticed that they think big around here. Below is my second breakfast here, but note the butter. It is served by the slab for the pancakes.
I was asked whether I’d like hazelnut or vanilla flavoring in my coffee. I declined and said, “No, just plain, thanks.” I meant black, but he thought I meant cream without flavor, and promptly brought out a half gallon carton of half and half and set it near my plate. They don’t mess around here; they aim to please. I thanked him and smiled.
As I looked at the table and remembered where I was, I felt a little giggle inside that threatened to break the silence. As time and place are everything, I could only smile once again:
My orange juice was served in a plastic Coors cup.
The choices are few for food in Yaak; there is nothing else on the main road either way unless one is willing or able to drive to Troy or Libby, some distance. In Yaak proper, below, one must dine at The Dirty Shame, buy food at the Yaak Mercantile, or eat at the other saloon next to the mercantile. That’s it.
As we finished our meal in the company of a darned good cook and a delightful host, I thought, what a (dirty) shame that more people don’t know about this place. I don’t know if we’ll ever be back, but if we return, I know where to get a fabulous huckleberry pancake.
Next post: Day #3 and the reason for this trip.
Until then, Cheers!