Heidi in South Carolina writes:
How wonderful to see that the Evergreen Motel is still thriving!
My friend Dona and I just agreed on the phone last night that 16 years is too
long a time to have been away from Montana and are starting to plan a trip for
next summer. Looking up old haunts has been fun.
I think she and I stayed at the Evergreen twice, one time for a whole week. I do remember the week cost us $165! So that gives you an idea of how long ago it was! In fact, I do know we stayed there twice because the first time we had a cabin and the second time we had a room. Both met our needs perfectly.
Well, as we get our plans going for the coming year we may well be in touch for reservations. I'm delighted to see you're thriving -- unlike our favorite little motel on Nags Head that went in a hurricane. Sigh.
Keep warm. I'd sent you some of our heat if I could!
--Heidi in South Carolina (whose last year in Montana was that year with the incredibly bad "Alberta Clipper" that stayed around for 10 days back in the late 80s -- shivver!)
Greetings and good travels!
I don't feel quite right calling this a "blog," because that implies a more regular sort of update, and I don't get out to the hotel often enough to keep track of all the day to day workings. So we'll call it "news" instead, because in the spirit of redesigning the website, it seems like we should update you as well on some of the goings-on around the motel.
I first designed the Evergreen Motel's website nearly a decade ago, when I was a bored young computer geek and the internet was new and shiny. Angelfire was a good place to host a site in 1997; everything was free and it hadn't yet nearly collapsed under its own weight and been forced to surrender to crippling amounts of banner and pop-up advertising. Now in 2006, we all felt that you deserved something better--and so did the motel. After all, it has now been in the family for more than ten years. My cousins' kids have grown up with it, had their first jobs cleaning the rooms or taking reservations. The area has grown up around it; people and businesses have come and gone, moved in and moved on. The rooms have been redecorated, there have been some new additions (to the family and the motel!), but it is still here, and you're still visiting.
Ray and Shelly Williams (my aunt and uncle) still own it, but the daily management has passed to their youngest son Mike and his wife Cosetta, which means two very small children may be getting underfoot and making it harder to reach the phone to take reservations. They've redone a few of the rooms, made the cabins more self-contained, and done some redecorating. The cafe across the street is also under new management; it's been re-named the Glacier Grill and the quality of food and service has really improved since I was last there two years ago. It's not expensive, very good, and best of all right across the street; you can walk there in under a minute and sit as long as you like. I especially recommend the Mediterranean Wrap and sweet tea, but Mike and my sister Karin also speak of their nachos in glowing terms.
When my family visits, we usually try to squeeze in something exciting like river-rafting (especially since you have to do something, when visiting relatives, to counteract the tendency to do nothing but talk and eat!). This is one of those activities that I love, but hardly ever get to do, because daily life just doesn't allow for it. Glacier is a great place for it, especially mid or late summer when there's more runoff and the river is higher. We've been on both Wild River and Glacier Raft Company and enjoyed both, but Karin and I are partial to Glacier Raft because it involves less riding on the bus--you show up in West Glacier at the depot, get on the bus to the dropoff point, and head down the river; you come out a very short walk from the depot again, where you are all set to get some ice cream and head home. Pretty much all the guides I've run into have really enjoyed their work (being a rafting guide is the kind of thing you pretty much have to do because you love it, it's not for the fame and fortune, that's for sure) and it shows; just make sure to do what they say! Rafting's relatively easy, but it gets harder if you're the only one in the boat who's paddling. (I feel I should say, too: don't be the lead paddler if you're there to shoot the breeze. That's the one spot in the boat where you have to pay attention and keep working, and it's a whole lot of fun, but not for everybody, you know? The guy we were in the boat with kept talking and forgetting to paddle, and it made the ten-year-old girl behind me have to work a bit harder than she was probably ready to, to keep up. Anyway.) Next time, it might be fun to do a "Saddle and Paddle," though between Karin and me, the jury's still out--trail horses can be incredibly dull to experienced riders and, even if that isn't a problem, either one can be pretty tiring by itself! It won't be until next summer in any case, but whatever we try, I'll let you know what we thought of it.
If you've got kids with you especially, check out the Maze just down the street. It's walking distance if you're in decent shape, and a few minutes' drive if you're not. It will get a bit old after the first twelve times, but especially for the younger set it's a lot of fun to try to find your way through the wooden walls. They also have go-carts, which you have to be a certain height to drive, and bumper boats, which are a lot of fun no matter how old you are, especially when it's ninety-some degrees. The last time we tried it, a pair of twelve-year-old or so boys came after Karin and me yelling, "Boys against girls!" Let's just say it had been a while since that had happened...but everyone got very wet and had a good time.
The scenery, of course, is always a good reason to visit Montana. There's another reason: HUCKLEBERRIES. Not too far from the motel is the Huckleberry Patch, which has the most amazing coffee, syrup, jams and other huckleberry-derived things you could ever hope for. Breakfast is cheap, and they have huckleberry waffles (what a surprise)...grab that, and some coffee, and some huckleberry sodas for later! Then you'll be set for whatever else you do for the day.
If you have a good story about your visit you'd like to share, send it to me, and I'll put it up!
(Posted March 2007)