Friday, September 12, 2014

Red Lodge retreat: glorious haven and the Pollard's the place


The venerable Pollard, with the year's first snow, welcomes visitors from around the world.
 Below, a sampling of its atmosphere, where diners sip cocktails, and await the feast.


RED LODGE – Since the Pollard Hotel began a serious spiffing up more than a decade ago,  its inviting atmosphere continues to lure vacationers, locals and regulars for fine food and a stay.
The delightful restaurant has continued to improve and innovate, often acting as the drawing card for an overnight  stay.
The stately  Pollard Hotel was the first brick building  constructed in the mining town of Red Lodge, Montana, Its doors opened with fanfare in 1893.  Through the years, the menu has evolved from soups, sandwiches and steaks to an upscale medley of bistro offerings. The hotel has undergone major restoration and welcomes with the same old fashioned hospitality that charmed guests more than a century ago.

Nick and Nora enjoy the ambiance of the Pollard.
Some dog friendly rooms are available, booked in advance.
      VINTAGE ONE Bistro in the historic venue presents a thoughtfully selected menu of appetizers, soups, salads and entrees – artfully arranged on the plate.   We've enjoyed tasty tasty bison tenderloin, mouth-watering prime rib stroganoff and a satisfying meatloaf made of elk. The nod to wild game is a thoughtful addition. 
 A pleasing  maple salmon entrĂ©e features roasted veggies and bacon and corn fritters. Both gluten free and all-vegetarian entrees -- maybe pesto with pine nuts -- are offered. Desserts are delectable, and change daily.
          BREAKFAST  is a treat --  savory salmon and brie eggs benedict, a filling breakfast burrioto with chorizo and homemade salsa, and the steak and eggs perfectly cooked.
   The much loved gathering place has a guest roster to behold: politicians, actors and other personalities including William Jennings Bryan, famed silver-tongued orator; General Miles, the Indian fighter; copper kings William and Marcus Daly, scout Liver Eatin' Johnston and the raucous Calamity Jane.
Management has changed several times, but the promise to deliver “continuous improvement” remains constant.
Like the Bistro, with its big-city appeal, the Pollard aims for its rooms to attract diners with the same flair and excellence. The boutique hotel ambiance includes comfy beds, beautiful lighting, a book trade shelf and other nice touches. 
The taco special is delightful, and all Pollard's plates are served with flair.
           THE POLLARD is relaxing and decorated with attractive paintings, plants and comfortable chairs to encourage lingering at either end of the day. There’s plenty to catch the eye. The hotel also proudly shows off Charles Ringer mobiles and sculpture, paintings drawn from the nearby natural world and historic photos. Fine woodwork and first-class appointments encourage conversation with a cup of coffee or cocktail in the “History Room” study or around the fireplace in the rear gallery.  Some of the rooms look out from balconies on the rear gallery and these rooms are our favorites.
Hiking near Red Lodge, fall is in the air, and the first reds, golds and purples are awaiting.
Next up, the song that says autumn, and other artful nods to the season.
       IF AFTER a long day of exploring Red Lodge and the nearby forest, you don't want a fancy dinner, you needn't leave the hotel.  The Pollard’s Pub offers top regional jazz acts and a fun bar-fare menu with satisfying gems such as hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage and deep fried!  It goes well with regional beers or a glass of wine.
Friend Brad Smith was up at dawn to watch
this black bear climb into the open garage
and eat his fill of Natural Balance dog food!
  The Pollard remains true to its vision of excellence and service, dating back  more than a century ago when it hosted faithful locals along with Indian scouts and copper kings, touring actors and politicians.  The bistro is a delightful get-away setting for a special dinner or breakfast.  And the Pub is the ticket for a spontaneous night on the town.
COMING UP: The bear facts.  Guess who's coming to dinner at High Chaparral? We'll share some recent bear and deer photos with our ode to the wild. Then autumn leaves, so poignantly described in "September Song," prompt Cookie's ode to the beauty of the changing colors and the "temporary melancholia," as her grandmother called it. Fall -- that beautiful season.  We aim for a fresh look at nature, travel and adventure, posting Wednesdays and weekends at www. whereiscookie. com 

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