Portland

'Quinn's Hot Springs Resort

Our last trip to Quinn’s Hot Springs in where else but Paradise, Montana, was predictably lovely. Just as expected. We’d been there, before, after all. To Paradise, and specifically to Quinn’s.

I had proposed to the two couples we’ve travelled most with that each of us plan a 3-4 day trip this summer for all of us to go on. Dan decided on this route since we knew we’d loved it and the other couples had not been before. There was a Baroque festival near the time we went, and this would have been a hit since half of our group plays Symphonic music (The talented half,) but Quinn’s was booked up for those days. This is a remote resort in a lush bowl in the middle of nowhere, so do reserve ahead!

Our first day was a longer one. We had breakfast in a favorite spot, The Pancake House in McCall and then, as if this cozy town on the Payette is not amazing enough, on to Missoula via the scenic Lewis and Clark Highway through the Payette National Forest and the oft-mentioned Lolo Pass. This day, about all 7 and a half hours of riding, was the kind motorcyclists love--windy (long i) and lots of beautiful waterways and if not vegetation, then rock formations. Lolo Pass is generally listed with the best roads, and--you’ll like this--on dangerousroads.org. The Lolo Pass passes, predictably, through the Lolo National Forest. It is in the Bitterroot Range of the northern Rocky Mountains. It takes you from Idaho to Montana, often along the Snake River--a favorite with white water enthusiasts.

We enjoyed good conversation and good food at Sean Kelly’s Stone of Accord. My husband and I could rightly say we’d never had Pasties (short a!) but we thoroughly enjoyed this traditional Irish dish. How could you go wrong with Guinness gravy? We wrapped up with one Sticky Toffee Pudding for the table. Again, how could you go wrong with a dessert that has “sticky” in its name?

We joined up the next morning at Catalyst in downtown Missoula for a delightful breakfast, if run by a by-the-books staff. (They would not seat us until our full party of six had arrived.) Ok, so they were busy.

You would have thought you were in Idaho still by the breakfast menu. The sides included a Cheddar Potato Casserole, a Green Chile Pepperjack Casserole, and home fries. . Additionally, there is a spud dish in the entrees list called The Heap, that had all of the above and more, it seems. So, ok, places like this are busy for a reason. We do often pick a restaurant by how full their parking lot is!

The ride from Missoula to Paradise got increasingly lush as we joined up with the Flathead River for most of our route to Quinn’s. This was a short day so that we could arrive and enjoy drinks at Quinn’s Tavern and a smoked trout plate, before venturing out to the coolest of the mineral hot springs, because that was just the kind of day it was! We found shade so that we wouldn’t get too much sun while we chatted pool side, then retreated to our individual cabins for an afternoon nap. That evening, with reservations to the Hardwood House, most of us enjoyed the Prime Rib dinner, because Dan and I remembered how good it was with garlic mashers, asparagus, and some suitably heavenly butter rolls. We’ve moved the party to the deck for an enjoyable, and probably too loud, time of coffee and (I’m ashamed to admit it--my idea) another Toffee Pudding for the table!

The next morning’s breakfast was top notch, as expected, at Quinn’s where else? There really is no where else, that’s part of the beauty. This little resort would make a great honeymoon, or family reunion, or other retreat.

At this point, one couple turned back to enjoy Glacier on their way back while we, joined by our friends Ned and Melaney, went to Sandpoint and Spokane where Dan’s sister, and an old high school friend live.

The route from Paradise to Sandpoint along the Coeur d'Alene National Forest includes views of Lake Pend Oreille, which even on a hazy day, is lovely. I have to mention the perfect lunch on the shady courtyard at Beat and Basil on the Creek, and the always adventurous culinary experience of Panhandle Cone and Coffee.

We enjoyed Spokane, especially the friends and family part, but they’re ours, so find your own!

We enjoyed the Riverfront Park at sunset after taking our first Uber to downtown for dinner alone the first night. (Our friends said Manitou Park was lovely.)

The ride home along the Palouse Scenic Byway, through Opportunity on Hwy 27, with its patchwork farm fields was indeed picturesque.

You can see this route at my Polarsteps page here.

Minidoka

WWII Relocation Camp 

National Monument