Summer is almost here, and with the long sunny days bringing everyone out of their winter slumber, the picturesque village of Bigfork is coming to life for another great summer.

Bigfork Festival of the Arts


Although it is hard to leave the ranch during your vacation, (Often we have to remind guests to save some time for some R & R) the quick walk to downtown Bigfork is a great way to spend some time away from the ranch.


Aside from the great galleries, shops and restaurants, there are many exciting events happening throughout this summer that just might coincide with your stay!


Here is the schedule of some the big events! For more events visit


36th Annual Bigfork Whitewater Festival

May 26th & 27th

Watch local and regional professional and armature kayakers take on the ‘Wild Mile’ as it flows through Downtown Bigfork.


National Wildlife Federation Fundraiser w/ special guest Jack Hanna

June 29

Join special guest Jack Hannah for a entertaining and fundraising night to bring a wild her of Bison back to Montana


July 4th Celebration

July 4th

Famous and recognized nationally for it’s small town spectacle. The Bigfork celebration and parade is something to see.


Saddle Up and Paint

July 17th

Join local and regional artists as the create lasting works of art for charity.


34th Annual Festival of the Arts

Aug 4th – 5th

Downtown Bigfork hosts Artisans & Musicians Sat. & Sun. Over 160 arts and craft booths, food, entertainment and children’s activities.


Swan Lake Huckleberry Festival

Aug 10th – 12th

The Swan Lake Huckleberry Festival is an annual celebration of the elusive wild huckleberry. Visitors can enjoy music, kids’ games, raffles and a silent auction, and sample the fruits of the baking contest, locally made huckleberry pies and ice cream.



Chris Hillman, founding member of the Byrds and Herb Pedersen from The Desert Rose Band will be joining us as Artists in Residence for the 2012 workshop and festival and round out this years great line up!

Following the hugely successful sold out 2011 guitar workshop and festival, we want to let you know that Lee Ritenour, Julian Lage, Sonny Landreth, Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen, Dennis Koster and Patty Larkin will be joining us as Artists in Residence for this year’s event.


This week long event includes 6 days of workshops, master classes, playing with professional rhythm sections, jamming, and nightly concerts. Being held at the Flathead Lake Lodge workshop participants and their family members have access to all the lodges’ amenities, plus more.  Also available for family members during the week is a watercolor workshop taught by renowned western artist Nancy Cawdrey.


There will be eleven workshops offered in seven guitar genres with leading faculty from the National Guitar Workshop:  Jazz featuring Lee Ritenour and Julian Lage, Classic Rock featuring Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen, Blues featuring Sonny Landreth, Classical featuring Dennis Koster, Singer-Songwriter featuring Patty Larkin, Acoustic featuring Doug Smith, and Beginners with Susan Mazer.  A new course has been added this year for Bass players featuring Melvin Lee Davis and Jorge Roeder.


Jazz pianist and composer, Dave Grusin (recipient of one Academy Award and twelve Grammy Awards) and drummers Sonny Emory and Tupac Mantilla will be special featured artists.


In addition, Lee Ritenour’s 3rd Annual Yamaha Six String Theory International Guitar Competition will be held during the workshop week on August 29th. The six finalists will be awarded a full scholarship to attend the workshop.


This is a unique opportunity to study with the masters and share a passion for guitar with fellow participants in an intimate and personalized setting.  All surrounded by our famous western hospitality.


The 2011 workshop was a sell out and the 2012 workshop has limited availability, so early registration is advised! 
 REGISTRATION DISCOUNT! Register by April 30, 2012 and get a $250 discount on the Workshop fee.  For more information and to register go to or call (406) 837-2574.




It looks like Kid’s Rodeo is no longer going to be the biggest competitive event held at Flathead Lake Lodge! Next September the Kalispell Chamber will be hosting the 1st Annual Montana Dragon Boat Races at Flathead Lake Lodge. This is going to be an awesome event for the entire Flathead Valley, and is expected to draw around 3,000 people and 600 competitors! Teams of 20 paddlers will race traditional 46′ Hong Kong dragon boats along the shore of Flathead Lake, just in front of Flathead Lake Lodge. Want to race? Learn more? Or are thinking about attending? Find all the information at:

We hope to see you all here next September! It is going to be a blast!


For the first time in a long time, Flathead Lake Lodge was still shaking in its boots after a memorable Averill wedding celebration. Chase Averill and Kate Verhey tied the knot on the shores of Flathead Lake, surrounded by the old growth fir trees and family and friends from across the country. It was a 4 days extravaganza filled with the usual FLL favorites like steak fry, barn dance, mouse races and much more. Enjoy the photo’s below, and thanks to everyone who helped pull off this great weekend!


Family & friends filled the Lodge for the weekend. An action packed itinerary and a bottle of Saintsbury Pinot Noir (Thanks to Carly Verhey) greeted the guests at their cabins.”
A beautiful sunset on Flathead Lake started the weekend off right Wednesday Night.
Despite a rainy day, the skies cleared and everyone loaded up on the antique fire trucks for a classic steak fry cookout.
Cowboy Gene Gordner serenades Steak Fry with cowboy classics.
Family and friends chowing down at the chuck wagon cookout. As always: homemade cheesy bread, fruit salad, potato salad, Maureen’s famous cowboy beans, ‘undone’ brownies and mesquite fired steaks! Hasn’t changed in 40+ years.
Uncle Fred is the big winner at mouse races!
Family friend Jacques dances a hole in the barn floor with his Mom Cathy.
A group of friends and family take a morning fitness walk down the Swan River Nature Trail alongside the Wild Mile.
All aboard! Friday nights rehearsal dinner included loading everyone up on the Far West for a happy hour cruise to the Saddlehorn Marina for a delicious pig roast.
Rehearsal Dinner at the Saddlehorn Marina with the always entertaining Singing Son’s of Beaches. Thanks to the Lodge Chef Brian for another great dinner. He smoked a whole pig!
Never a dull moment…Ever since the Lodge was started in 1945 mischief, pranks and laughs have been as much a part of the Lodge as the rock fireplaces. Staying true to form, the infamous Boiteau brothers, with help from a few other guests (I’m looking at you Justin Kohl), replaced all the couches in the Main Lodge with canoes and pool umbrellas. It looks like the Saddle Sore Saloon might also have had a hand in the trouble. Nevertheless, it made for some great laughs on Saturday morning at breakfast. Unless of course you were tying to set the Lodge up for the reception!
No Montana wedding is complete without some flashy new cowboy boots.
A small group of old growth fir trees provided a beautiful lakeside setting for the ceremony.
The first kiss
Father of the bride Tom Verhey successfully sabres a bottle of champagne for a toast.
The whole gang.
Chase and Kate drive off in the ranch’s historic Checker limo.
Kate Averill with Driver.
A happy hour was held on the lakeside deck of the Main Lodge before guests entered the Lodge for dinner and dancing.
Longtime family friends Dan and Bucky spent most of the day posing for the cameras.
The delicious cupcake tower. Thanks to Aunt Susie who did all the beautiful flowers!
The happy couple.
What a great weekend with family and friends! Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen. We’ll never forget it!


It was pretty cool this morning when Lois Tortorelli, who worked at the Lodge as a 19 year old in 1956 brought in some old FLL artifacts she has kept all these years. Lois and her college friend, who also worked at the Lodge in back in the day have come back the last number of falls to help close out the season. Lois said she bought a round trip ticket on the ‘Empire Builder’ train route from Chicago for $78 dollars. She also said she was the only staff member with a 1/2 day off because she attended church on Sunday mornings. And today’s generation complains about working 5 days a week!


Check out some of the old FLL brochures & the letters between her and Flathead Lake Lodge founder Les Averill about employment! Thanks to Lois for sharing.

A Flathead Lake Lodge Brochure Les Averill sent to Lois in 1956

Lois & Les Averill’s letters on a summer job in Montana

A 1956 Montana post card