Essex, Montana – home of every railroad buffs dreams.
Simon and I discovered this tiny community while on a scenic drive around Glacier National Park one early August day.
We were starving, and we have been having a hard time trying to find a decent place to eat while camping in the park. As we turned a corner that hosted a sign that pointed to a restaurant ahead, we were greeted with several train cabooses and a very cosy looking resort.
Simon was in heaven (he is obsessed with trains and can recite every single line in the USA and Canada – it’s scary).
We had to find out what this very remote and spectacular location was all about.
It’s called the Izaak Walton Inn and let me tell you – they have such a unique history associated with the railway and with the park:
“The Izaak Walton Inn was built next to the railroad yard in 1939 for the use of railroad service personnel. It was also intended to serve as an entrance to Glacier National Park between East Glacier and West Glacier, but this plan never materialized.
The hotel was built not only to meet the needs of railroad personnel, but was also designed to be a resort at the proposed new entrance to Glacier Park. Plans to open Glacier Park between east and west Glacier were postponed due to WWII and after the war, interest in running a road into the Park Creek area had disappeared and all that remained was the Inn between the two park entrances.”
After we satisfied our hunger at their restaurant (delicious burgers, by the way), we enjoyed a peaceful afternoon at the inn and were contented with watching the trains pass by, exploring the beautiful gardens, and reading on their porch.
One day, we will save up some money and spend a night or two in one of their furnished cabooses. So neat!
I think that also in the coming years, Simon and I may attempt to drive around the ‘Montana Scenic Loop‘:
“The Montana Scenic Loop (MSL) is a public, private partnership, established to encourage collaborative relationships between the rural communities throughout the Northern Continental Divide region, the U.S. Forest Service, Travel Montana’s Glacier Country, Russell Country and Gold West Country and Montana’s Native American Tribes.
- Our primary goals are to:
- Encourage visitation and recreation throughout the National Forest lands by the many visitors to Montana, showing the close knit relationship between those forest lands and the local communities;
- Provide a comprehensive information source for accommodations, activities and services for vacationers and travelers through towns and communities along the Montana Scenic Loop, on their way to or from Glacier National Park;
- Provide a pilot Scenic Loop Drive for the State of Montana modeled on the Scenic Byways programs, with the potential for establishment of other super scenic loop drives in the state;
- Provide a catalyst for a sustainable community driven tourism/recreation program centered around the Scenic Byways approach.”
Stay tuned in the future for our photos and stories about this scenic loop…