Little Hidden Gems of Montana…

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Photo by Lindsey Mulcare Photography. Yellowstone Under Canvas, West Yellowstone

Ok, y’all. It’s time to get serious about tourism. Tourism season in Montana is just about to come into full bloom, and the streets and sidewalks will be lined with people here visiting for all of the same reasons we escape our home haven – to enjoy the surroundings of a new and beautiful location.

Many people can argue that there isn’t a place more beautiful than Montana. I’m one of those that whole heartedly agrees that this is the most beautiful places to live and play. I mean, why else would Bozeman be the fastest growing town in the state (if not the nation).


Which is why people flock to visit, and they also flock to get married here. Which leads to many, many people visiting for a long weekend around their loved ones’ wedding day. Just this morning, I was at a VERY local restaurant and pottery shop – The Coffee Pot – with my kids. We were sitting next to a family, all of whom had charming Southern accents (dead tourist giveaway) and they were chattering about their two free days before the wedding, and what were they going to do?

**Ok, ok, insert the fact that I was eavesdropping. But I LOVE LOVE LOVE giving tourist advice. It’s my fav

I leaned over, noticed the Auburn sweatshirt, gave them a hearty WAR EAGLE! (because, War Eagle) and asked if I could give them some suggestions or any recommendations on what to do while they were here. Because, besides loving to do that, they were talking about going to a museum that is over 4 hours away, without knowing exactly how far that was given that they had just driven up here from Salt Lake City…a mere 6 hour drive.

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The conversation ended with a warm, “Welcome to Montana! Enjoy Your time!” and well wishes for the bride and groom – who are getting married at Rockin’ TJ Ranch on Sunday – they’re not our client, but we wish the all the best.

All of this long story gave me an blog idea…so here they are, the suggestions that I gave these super friendly and lovely people from Alabama. And if you ever need more, I’d gladly write you up your own customized tourism list.

Breakfast at the Cafe at the Inn on the Gallatin. Ok, I’m breaking out a SUPER local spot right off the bat. You’re welcome. If you’ve never had breakfast at the Cafe at the Inn. Get there…like tomorrow morning. But go before 9am or you’re in for a wait. Also, don’t take a group more that 6 people, ’cause in a space build for about 10 tables of 4, that’s just greedy. And if you want a cinnamon roll – order it as your sitting down. Those babies go FAST.

Headwaters State Park. Super fun and known spot for the locals. But how cool is it to see the beginning of the second largest river in the US? To know that the water that starts in Montana, will travel all the way to the Gulf of Mexico? I don’t know, I think it’s cool. But it’s such a great spot for a family picnic, to gather some local history and be outside for a flat and not strenuous walk.

Buffalo Jump State Park. Again, a chance to get outside. The signs may be a bit outdated, but who cares? You can pair it with the Headwaters State Park. It makes for a great local history day, and a day outside where you don’t need to worry about how the elevation climb will affect you. About 45 minutes from Bozeman, this little gem is certainly off the beaten path.

Dinner at Willow Creek Cafe. Ribs. That’s all I have to say. Oh, and Russian Cremés. Ok, that’s it. But again, go early. Have an amazing dinner with the locals in the tiny, tiny town of Willow Creek. And don’t be deterred by the drive. You’re not going to die out in the wilderness.

Downtown BozemanNot off the beaten path? Well of course not – Main St. is a US Highway! But man. There are few places I love walking around more than I love walking up and down Main Street in Bozeman. I have lived here for 15 years, and I always find something new. Some store or restaurant that I still haven’t been in, and the treasures and people and store owners are my absolute favorite. I mean, Lisa over at HeyDay can attest to how much time I spend in that store.

Hike to the M. Again, not off the beaten path. BUT, there are few places to go with better views of the Gallatin Valley than hiking up to the M. Also, its a great “starter” hike for those that want some exercise but don’t want to drive a long ways. Just make sure you go to the LEFT. Do not go right at the start of the trail. You’re going to seriously regret that.

Tinsley House at the Museum of The Rockies. This was my final recommendation. The Museum of the Rockies is going to be the first thing out of every local’s or hotel front desk person’s mouth. But my favorite part? The homestead. Especially this time of year – it’s so fun to see what they have cooking literally and figuratively around the ol’ homestead. Plus wandering around the Museum is always a good time-waster. And I mean that in the best possible way.

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Photo by Notarius Photography. South Bozeman, Montana

There you have it, a really long blog post to get to the point that I just love giving out Bozeman and Montana tourist information and giving them the right information. Having an intimate knowledge of the surroundings is SO helpful and SO fun. I maybe give out too much information, but it’s better than getting bored, yes?

Have a great Memorial Day weekend, y’all.
Speaking of which, I’ll be at a camp ground near Natural Bridge State Park.

Cheers!

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Happy Birthday to us!

Wow, here we are at another business anniversary/birthday/trip around the entrepreneurship sun. Nine years!

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February of 2008, I formed Icing on the Cake Events. Version 1.0 of this event management company. At the beginning, two of us with full time jobs and very little (ok, none) investment money needed something else to do with our time. We definitely weren’t busy enough. Sorry, honey! We started out with one client, which is really how the entire business took off – Thanks to Universal Athletics for trusting us with their anniversary party.

The past nine years have been an amazing time of uncertainty, growth, small set-backs, HUGE opportunities and a lot of fun. The business has been smattered with great young folk who have given me and the company a chance in order to test out the waters of wedding and event planning and what it’s like to work 14 hour days.

Our gals and guy deserve the most recognition, because without those interns who worked their butts off, we would not have been able to grow, add more clients, test out new strategies and designs, and basically survive. I remember one particular wedding, where we watched all of the vendors leave at the end of the night, turned around and saw the battle field of a 200-guest wedding laid out before us. We rolled up our sleeves, got to work, and then the next day said, “Ok, what did we learn?”

I owe so much to Aimee, Mariah, Nick, Mickenzie, Kaley, Abbey, Katie, and Cheyenne, for the work that they put in with the business and the clients over the past nine years. Each of them made such an impact on the reputation of Icing on the Cake Events. I owe a specific and very heart felt thank you to Sara, who started the business with me and allowed me to grow on my own and take the company on it’s current path. Thank you! To each and every one of you for being a huge part of my journey with Reed & Lee.

At year 5, I was very excited to have passed the “success” threshold for owning my business. Hitting the Five Year Mark meant that we had surpassed a point that most new businesses don’t make it to! And here we are – on track to double that. We threw a lovely party with colleagues and friends. I can’t wait to see what next year brings.

Then, a year ago, I had the pleasure of rebranding. Time for Version 2.0. We are thrilled at how changing to Reed & Lee has created an event management firm that has brought a new level of professionalism, vision and design to our company.

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I am so excited at what the future holds for Reed & Lee, and for the great team that I have assembled. I couldn’t be more happy to work with them in each of their individual ways to create a business and an event firm that provides amazing service while staying true to serving our clients and colleagues as much as we can.

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So, here’s to us! And here to my amazing team: Haley, Ivy, Marion and Emily. Love you gals!! Thank YOU for being on this journey and for dreaming big for the future!

P.S. Thank you Jessie, my dear friend, for the amazing photos and to Lauryn for the cake. Smooches. I adore you both.

oxo,

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