Friday, October 17, 2014

Far away Fairfield offers fun, frolic, feasting and a fine inn

The Fairfield Park Inn, Fairfield, Montana, offers pet-friendly digs near the lovely bird watching area of Freezeout Lake.


Nick and Nora make themselves comfy at Fairfield Park Inn.

WE WERE on the trail of a reasonably priced get-away that would bring us close to Glacier National Park without taxing ourselves from Billings.
My brother wanted to visit Freeze Out Lake -- I'd never heard of it.
He enticed me with a little Blackfoot: "Sai yai ksi q tsi tau toh pi" or basically, "come see the geese."
We weren't at the right season to spot the huge flocks that fly through in March -- upwards of 100,000. But we saw beautiful bird life, including many pelicans and blue heron.
Huge grain silos are an imposing
sight on Fairfield's main street.
I found a delightful place in the Fairfield Park Inn, and what a grand time we had on my first Fairfield foray.  We needed a dog-friendly place for Yorkies Nick and Nora, and had the bonus of a savvy guide who knows and loves Fairfield. We were greeted at the inn by a boisterous Jack Russell terrier (is there any other kind of Jack Russell terrier?)  He wanted to play with Nick and Nora, and barked his greeting each time we left or returned.
Our guys barked back -- and all was well.
THEN ON TO exploring Fairfield, Montana, called the "malting
We observed this blue heron for a good half hour at Freezeout Lake. 
barley capital of the world."  Budweiser built huge grain silos which cast an imposing shadow on the tidy main street.
We were excited to be out of the car after nearly seven hours in the car, and the innkeepers John and Laurie welcomed us with a suite upstairs in the nicely restored old train depot that is now this charming bed and breakfast.
 A beautiful memorial in Fairfield honors vets.
The couple's affection for red, white and blue is carried out in the curtains, wall hangings, bed linens and mementos.
John's storytelling prowess compliments Laurie's decorating skills.  He has spent decades in this rural farm community, situated on the picturesque eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountain Front between Choteau and Great Falls.  He knows Teton County and Freezeout Lake and told fine stories, including one of tundra swans who gather with the snow geese -- and can be aggressive if onlookers come close.
John gives travel tips to inn guest, Rick Cosgriffe.
DJ's Pizza was a happy restaurant find with excellent food.

He steered us to a wonderful restaurant, DJ's Pizza (which served fabulous steaks and burgers, too), and he explained that Fairfield is smack in the middle of the "Golden Triangle" because of the beautiful sheen of the grain.
Not only is Fairfield proud of its malting enterprise, but its farming reputation is time honored. Fairfield farms date back to 1862 when homesteading first opened, and became more abundant in 1909 when Congress enticed settlers with 320 acres of free land.  The Bureau of
The "Antique Room" is filled with
treasures from the family.
Reclamation's Sun River Canyon and water for irrigation attracted more settlers with the welcome delivery of water.  Gibson was the main storage dam, constructed in the Depression days of 1926-29. Today's Fairfield receives water for 83,000 acres surrounding the community.
Besides beautiful bird life -- close-up pelican and blue heron sightings --  we played a bit in the casinos.  There are three, and we contributed to Fairfield's economy.
Bear and bird spotters come to Fairfield and nearby Glacier to photograph
wildlife.  Visitors are from all over the U.S., and many foreign countries.  
BESIDES the bounty of birders who sell out the Fairfield Park Inn in March, Feezeout Lake attracts winter ice boaters, summer boaters and fall hunters. Soon, visitors to nearby Sun River Canyon will be watching bighorn sheep battle for leadership of one of the largest herds in the country.  For six or seven months of the year, Fairfield shows off its nine hole golf course with dramatic vistas of the Rocky Mountain Front. The inn is as much a draw as the scenery. Together, they're a pair to draw to! You'll enjoy large comfy rooms on two floors of a one-time train depot. We booked a two-bedroom suite, filled with family heirlooms, indulging in furnished breakfast before a short trip to Glacier!
Actors Bruce Turk and Michael Santo are perfectly cast
and artfully directed in "Freud's Last Session," about a
meeting between Freud (Santo) and writer C.S. Lewis (Turk).

COMING SOON:  Dancing Bears Inn in East Glacier is a wonderful base for exploring Glacier and photographing bears in the wild. And at North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach, Calif., a brilliant play makes its San Diego debut. The storyline features Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis engaging in a lively and emotional intellectual debate during the famed psychiatrist's final days. Bravos and a critique coming for "Freud's Last Session," up through Nov. 9.  For a fresh look at travel and the arts, visit us Wednesdays and weekends at:

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