Cozy Up by the Hearth

Three romantic winter weekends.

“Love Actually” … “Love Story” … “Serendipity” … “The Holiday” … There’s a good reason why some of the most romantic movies ever made are set against a snowy backdrop. Winter’s chill always turns the heart toward love. Tis the season for intimate conversation by the fireplace, carving figure 8s hand in hand on ice skates, an elegant night at the symphony or a quiet night sharing steaming cups of cocoa on the couch.

Whether your idea of romance revolves around relaxation or adventure, new discoveries or homey hospitality, Kalispell has it in spades — or, rather, in hearts.

Here you will find fine contemporary cuisine alongside Old West diners, uniquely characterful bed & breakfasts and familiar branded hotel chains. You’ll find fine art and winter rodeos and too many outdoor activities to list. It adds up to the perfect balance between haute and hometown.

Here are three romantic weekend getaways to suit any desire.

MAX THE RELAX

When we’re racing through our day-to-day lives, juggling jobs and kids and other obligations, it’s easy to lose sight of what we’re doing it all for. So here’s your romantic weekend in a one-word itinerary: Rest.

A great place to do that is at the Kalispell Grand Hotel. With more than 100 years of warm guest care to its credit, the aptly named hotel has hosted famous guests and happy couples for generations. Today, guests can choose from rooms that bring the history of the hotel to life in modern convenience, from the Linderman Jetted Tub Suites to the Grand King rooms. The hotel offers complimentary continental breakfast and cookies in the afternoon; massage therapy and soothing hot rock treatments are also available on-site. What’s more, the hotel is located right in the middle of downtown Kalispell — meaning you needn’t walk more than a few hundred feet in any direction to have a perfectly wonderful weekend. Just off the hotel’s lobby you can peruse handmade jewelry for your loved one at Paint, Metal and Mud, a cooperative run by some of the area’s finest local artists. Down the street try local brews at the Kalispell Brewing Co. tasting room while enjoying live music. Across the street you can sink your teeth into a delicious yak burger and sample from the extensive beer and wine menu at Hop’s Downtown Grill. It’s all right there for you to enjoy.

DISCOVER YOUR PASSION

Paint a perfect weekend in Kalispell by indulging in some of the area’s fascinating cultural attractions and surprising cuisine.

Indulge in a delicious coffee and pastry or breakfast sandwich from Ceres Bakery, while strolling downtown. Then, spend a few hours at the Museum at Central School, which offers a small yet absorbing set of permanent exhibits that collectively tell the story of human history in the Flathead Valley. Just a few steps away you can get a great sense of the Flathead Valley’s artistic history and regional style at the Hockaday Museum of Art. Enjoy an elegant dinner at the Blue Canyon, where you’ll find all menu items delicious from the elk meatloaf to the lobster linguini. Top off the weekend with a concert by the Glacier Symphony Orchestra or a play presented by the Whitefish Theatre Company.

MAKE YOUR HEART RACE

For some of us, love and adrenaline go together like hand in mitten. The rest of the world may not understand how a day of black-diamond skiing or backcountry snowmobiling could possibly be romantic; but we know it deep in our hearts.

If that sounds like you, then you belong in Kalispell. Here, your biggest challenge will be narrowing your list of things to do. Shall you spend a day carving turns in the deep powder at Whitefish Mountain or Blacktail Mountain? Or rent a couple of machines from Swan Mountain Snowmobiling for an exhilarating guided backcountry ride to the peak of Desert Mountain — complete with dinner on the trail? Perhaps you would prefer to hear nothing but the thump of your own heart as you cross-country ski deep into Glacier National Park? You might need a couple of extra days to fit it all in.

Fill up in the morning with breakfast at the Split Rock Café downtown in the historic KM Building. And when the day is done, Kalispell offers plenty of fine places to carbo-load. Brannigan’s Pub is a popular après ski hangout, with a great list of beers on tap and some of the best Irish cuisine you’ll find this side of the Atlantic. (The pasties are amazing.)

So, grab your date and come enjoy.

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