Once upon a time a girl from a concrete town in the North of England discovered inspiration in a book, planned a trip and found home. A place to breathe, to marvel and to dream. Now living closer to that dream, our family's heart travels the last few miles almost every day as we talk about our Last Best Place and tell each other "Love you more than Montana".
I bought this book in September 2000 from The Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, Montana. Or rather, that is where I bought my first copy. I have read many, many books inspired by Montana, a love of the West, landscape, sky and family; to this day this remains my favorite book. Perhaps because on first reading, I was falling in love with the story and the land; but this book left me with an indelible mark. The writing is inspired. I find it amazing that in his preface Doig explains that when his manuscript returned from the first edit, only the smallest changes were recommended. When you read this book, when you share his life, you get that; it is written from the heart in such a pure and true way. This book moves you; to tears, to joy, to longing, to love, to appreciation, to treasure, to remember, to honor.
I decided last week, to re-read this book again. I wondered if the second read would live up to my first impressions; it is better, sweeter. Now, I read with a different perspective, not that first love for the land and the people, but with a deeper understanding of the landscape, the towns, the culture. I had the privilege of hearing Doig speak during a book tour; it was quite wonderful to listen first hand to his stories.
My second through fifth copies of this book were purchased on return from my inaugural trip to Montana and shared with my family. I wanted them to understand how I felt about the place, but also to understand how I felt about them.
I would be delighted to gift this book to someone, so you can discover this treasure for yourself. Leave me a comment/tweet/follow/heart, etc. and I’ll pick one person at random.
This giveaway will end on February 28th, 2012 at which point one of my children will randomly select one winner. To enter, please retweet/like/reblog or comment before that deadline.
Labellum | A contemporary flower boutique in Gallatin Valley, Bozeman
Remy Greco-Brault has worked as a floral and event designer in LA and NY; on many high profile events. Recently, she and her husband, Frederic, moved to Bozeman, Montana to open a contemporary flower boutique - Labellum Flowers - in the Gallatin Valley.
The Gallatin Valley is a magical place, it has been deep in my heart since I first visited 12 years ago; but I believe it might just have become even prettier.
Boulder | Yellowstone National Park, West Entrance
In the early hours of this morning, an SUV sized boulder fell onto Yellowstone National Park’s West Entrance Road. It broke free several hundred feet above the road early this morning. The road is now closed.
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported this story earlier today. Very thankful no-one was around when this rock fall happened and praying for safety for those investigating the slippage and potential future hazards. Yellowstone we love you, but you are a crazy place.
My husband, an outdoor gear aficionado recently bought this cap as a gift for a friend.
Founded by Jason McCarthy, a former Green Beret, GORUCK is based in Bozeman, Montana. Their bomb-proof rucks have a cult following as do their endurance events known as The GORUCK Challenge. Matt Browner Hamlin of The Huffington Post has recently started a series writing about his experience of both.
GORUCK’s blog highlights how their original ruck - the GR1 - takes 3.5 hours of Bozeman, Montana labor to build.
This market is huge, be sure to get here early in order to have plenty of time to browse the stalls. Also, make sure you have plenty of cash, the first time we visited we arrived with very little time and not much cash and became very frustrated at seeing enough to know what we had missed! Great jewelry stalls, handmade crafts, homemade jams and llamas ! One Summer Saturday morning, I bought all my Christmas gifts here; there really is something for everybody.
One of my favorite memories from last year, was swimming with the kids in the outdoor pool at Bogert City Park, followed by an evening stroll around the Farmers’ Market and then dinner in Bozeman. PERFECT!! Although, my kids strongest memory is the night someone was selling labrador puppies, they still haven’t forgiven us for not taking one home :-)
Follow the path of locals straight to the stall with homemade raspberry pies, get there early or they will all be gone. Amazing made-to-order lemonade and beautiful cards from Borrowed Acre Farm.
Check out Visit Montana for their full listing of farmers markets across the State. It is a great way to discover the wonderful creative talents of the Montana people and meet the locals; through the years we have forged great friendships.
We loved hiking the Montana trails last Summer with the girls. Drinking Horse Mountain, also part of the Gallatin Valley Network, was wonderful. Although, I have to confess, we got 3/4 of the way up and then my husband ran the rest of the way and took the photograph from the summit.
The Kevin Mundy Memorial Bridge provides access to the trail across Bridger Creek and is a work of art. The bridge is dedicated to the memory of Kevin Mundy, a Bozeman native, Bridger Bowl ski patrolman, and Montana State University student who passed away at the age of 26. Designed by Intrinsik Architecture, the lines of the bridge are beautiful and put Intrinsik on my short-list of Montana architects to consult if I ever get to build that dream home.
An icon of the American West, grain elevators do not simply punctuate sweeping landscape photographs encapsulating the vastness of the west; they are also a testimony to the legacy of back-breaking work that has been poured into the land.
During a trip to Montana in 2009, I attempted to pay homage to these structures by photographing a grain elevator in Wilsall, Montana. I especially appreciate the wonderful worn type and colors on this particular building.
While grain elevators represent the history of The American West, architects like Clark Stevens who designed The Silo House, (located in a special place - East River Road, Paradise Valley) are inspired to use these functional forms as a springboard for modern architecture.
Byoung Cho, Professor of Architecture at Montana State University, states “agricultural buildings aren’t really designed, someone just made them. I try to design like that—so it looks like it’s not designed at all, it’s just there.”