Monday, July 19, 2010

Meet the Many Glacier Hotel


It's located at the east end of Glacier National Park, and you can read more of the practical points here, but in a nutshell, if you get a chance to go, go. Obviously it's beautiful, but there's also a timelessness to it that tugs you by the scruff of the neck and forces you to slow down. There's no TV. There's no wifi. There's no cell service of any kind. What it offers in return are panoramic views, wrap-around decks, sunlight on water, white-tipped granite peaks, and as many canoe rentals you want.

Here's a glimpse of the view from said wrap-around deck:


And Toby in a rare moment of stillness (this place is magic, I'm telling you):


The hotel was built in 1915 to accommodate the early wave of national park visitors arriving by train in their traveling cloaks and toting parasols. You can tell that not much has changed: the wooden floors still creak as you walk them, Swiss flags still hang from the original timber beams in the dining hall, and the entire lodge seems to shutter in a stiff breeze.

There's no A/C, and you'll be hard pressed to find more than two outlets in each room. But the hotel's sturdy wooden tables and worn couches are the perfect location for games of Monopoly, bears gather on the slopes of the mountains in the berry season, and if you see the reeds by the lake swaying, that's a moose, not the wind. (We only caught a glimpse of their brown muzzles and silky heads.) In summer, it doesn't get dark until after 10 pm, and at sunset, it's elbow-room only on the outdoor decks. If you get cold waiting for the huge orb of the sun to finally sink behind the granite, no worries: there's a roaring fire in the cavernous lobby.

Calvin summed it up best when he stepped into Many Glacier upon arrival and said, "Oh! So this is what the Wilderness Lodge [DisneyWorld] was trying to look like!"

And trust me, it doesn't even come close. (Sorry, Disney.)
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