This August, my family and I were treated to a wonderful week in Bigfork, Montana at Averill’s Lakeside Lodge. We had visited a Dude Ranch in Whitefish the year previous and had an amazing time so we were eager to visit our second ranch for a comparison. It would be hard to beat. What we learned is that there are many different kind of ranches fit for many different vacation styles and Averill’s is a place for foodies, so you can probably guess I had a terrible time (insert sarcasm).
While I loved the small intimate atmosphere and the “glamping” tent at the Bar W last year, Averill’s offered up a larger resort feel with addition water activities and a full gourmet menu from breakfast to dessert.
[Read more about the fun activities at Averill’s on Examiner.com]
The process of feeding up to 100 guests a day three full meals has been well thought out and designed to please everyone, even the pickiest of eaters. Kids are always invited to eat first. Parents can opt to join in at that time, or wait a bit and have some “grown up” time.
Breakfast will offer up a cereal, bread, fruit and yogurt bar for easy breakfasts for all. If you prefer, you can select the hot breakfast option which is different daily. During our stay, we had great meals from breakfast casseroles, waffles, all the way to omelets.
When lunch rolls around, it’s buffet time. Serving up a few different hot options including vegetarian dishes along with a salad bar, this is often a kid favorite. I think the “food on a stick” theme was their favorite day.
Now MY favorite part of the day was dinner of course. Why? This is where they really go gourmet. The kids again get a dinner buffet served up half an hour earlier that the adult dinner. They can all eat and run off to their next activity while the adults gather for a hot plated three-course gourmet meal.
During our visit, we enjoyed duck, halibut, and even bison wellington. Not the traditional “ranch food” you might expect. Each dinner was complex, flavorful and beautifully plated for us to enjoy. It was all so delicious, but I especially loved the halibut dinner and the cheesecake dessert. Amazing!
The highlight of the week, however, is the ranch cookout. Everyone is loaded up into the on-site firetrucks and driven to a camp out location, where there is a giant BBQ pit waiting for some good grilled steaks. It’s family style with beans and potato salad served with cold local microbrews. By this time, everyone is finding new friends and it’s truly a great time for all. We even were treated to an appearance by a whole herd of Elk grazing over the hillside!
The great food really is just the beginning of all the wonderful experiences you will have at Averill’s Lakeside Lodge. It certainly is not any ordinary dude ranch. If you are looking for a truly unique culinary and adventure experience, then you definitely need to check out Averill’s.