September Road Trip In Montana

Who doesn’t love a road trip? September is known (by the locals) for being the best month to see Montana. The sky is robin’s egg blue, the crowds are gone and the weather is gorgeous. This Montana small town road trip will take you through a few of Western Montana’s most charming places and can easily be completed in a weekend. You’ll experience the essence of Montana and get a real feel of this most glorious state. So pack the car and let’s get going!

Road Trip

Philipsburg – a charming 19th century mining town

Your trip starts in Philipsburg, nestled in the beautiful Pintler Mountains and in the heart of Montana’s sapphire country. Not only is it this picturesque little town rich with large mineral deposits, it is near 75 named lakes and reservoirs and full of interesting history. Fun things to do in P-burg include panning for your own Montana sapphires, exploring old Montana silver and gemstone mines and visiting nearby ghost towns (part of Montana’s rich history). After of day of climbing through the nearby hills, enjoy a local micro-brew at the Philipsburg Brewing Company and don’t miss The Sweet Palace. It’s the best candy shop ever! If you want to try the new “Glamping Trend” or stay in a luxury cabin, try the Rock Creek Ranch. It’s amazing! Moving on from P-burg, head over the exciting Skalkahoo Highway Scenic Byway along Montana Highway 38 (closed in winter) but don’t be surprised if you land right in the middle of a cattle drive while traversing the pass on your way to….


Hamilton – home to the Copper Kings

Surrounded by the Bitterroot Mountains and along the Bitterroot River, Hamilton is home to the famous Chief Joseph, Calamity Jane and on the trail of Lewis and Clark. The town was founded by copper magnate, Marcus Daly and his historic mansion is open for tours, offering a nostalgic step back to Montana’s prosperous days of mining, timber and railroads. Hamilton, known for recreation, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, boating and hiking, are pursuits worth exploring in wide valley that surrounds the city. A plethora of food, lodging and shopping can be found in Hamilton’s charming downtown. Stop at the Bitterroot Brewery for a Honey Huckleberry brew, listen to some country music and then head over to the Grubstake Restaurant (open from May to early October) and accessed through a private game preserve. The building is made of logs with sixteen sides and a central fireplace—a true Montana experience! To stay overnight, Hamilton has whatever you desire, western lodges, charming B&Bs, camp grounds and hotels. After a good night’s sleep in this Bitterroot hamlet, you’re ready to discover…

Darby – essence of the Old West

Just about 17 miles south of Hamilton is the quaint western town of Darby. Near the Idaho border, Darby is a full of western town activities. Logger Days, Bull Riding Competitions, Rodeos, the Strawberry Festival (Darby is in one of Montana’s banana belts) and a Blue Grass Festival is really what Darby is all about. Grab a snack at the Sula Country Store and head to…

Wisdom – Valley of 10,000 haystacks

Hiking, fishing, climbing, exploring, Wisdom has 2000 square miles of it. The Big Hole River bottom is famous for its blue ribbon trout fishing, and a unique strain of fluvial arctic grayling. Many of the ranchers in the area still use the “beaverslide,” a hay stacking technique developed in the valley during the early 1900s. Before you leave Wisdom and head to Anaconda, be sure to visit the Big Hole National Battlefield, a memorial to the battle of the Big Hole between the US Army and the Nez Perce. For the last stop on your small town’s trip visit historic…

Anaconda – Home of the huge smelter stack

Built by the Anaconda Copper Company, the stack is so tall, it would easily hold the Washington Monument inside. Anaconda sprung from a melting pot of immigrants chasing the American dream and at one time was the world’s largest supplier of copper, just as electricity came into common use. Visit the Washoe Theater, the extravagant movie palace built in 1936 with Art Deco furnishings, murals, and ornamentation in silver, copper and gold. Stretch your legs at the beautiful Washoe Park and feed the trout at the Anaconda Fish Hatchery. You can’t leave Anaconda without tasting a Butte Pasty at June’s Pasty Shop and be sure to stop in to the Mining Company Saloon for some authentic Anaconda stories.

Memories of your Montana road trip will linger for years to come. Wide valleys, towering Rocky Mountains and Montana’s big skies are the souvenirs you’ll keep for a lifetime!

Photo from our Exclusive Listing 32526 Mcleod Rd Arlee, MT

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Tips To Start Saving Your Down Payment

Start saving and planning for that down payment NOW!

For those of you who have millennial children, I’m pretty sure that you have (more than once) helped them advised them on budgeting and/or gone through all of their expenses andmade suggestions on what to eliminate or what seem to be unneeded. Then, after they have saved some money, they decide they want to buy a house or get a master’s degree and who do they go to for help? YOU. Here are some quick fixes for saving money and it’s pretty amazing how much can be saved in a year—even enough for a down payment? This is not just for millennials though, seniors on a fixed income can use these savings, too. Here are some ways to save.

Who doesn’t love a latte every day? We all do, but it’s time to skip the daily latte and make coffee at home. If you need fluffy milk, buy a fluffer ($1 at IKEA).

Annual savings: $1095

Cut the gym membership. Don’t stop exercising, but get creative with your routine. Walk on your lunch break, ride your bike on the weekends or both. The average monthly cost for a membership is about $50 a month.

Annual savings: $600

Cancel the cable and get a Roku. With all the digital outlets for news and entertainment, cancelling cable for a year is doable. According to the Leichtman Research Group, if you drop the cable in favor of, maybe a Netflix account at $7.99 per month (although Netflix is set to increase to $8.99 per month), you’ll save $91.11 per month.

Annual savings: $1,093.32

Unlimited everything plans on your phone. Did you get one of those unlimited everything plans when you bought your phone? If you don’t talk on the phone that much and you don’t use much data, you can switch to a lower priced plan—or at least drop a couple of gigs of data.

Annual savings: $120 to $300

Packing a lunch instead of buying could save a bunch. It’s not that hard, it just requires a little planning and discipline. Make more dinner than you need and take it for lunch the next day.

Annual savings: (at least) $1560

Cocktails anyone? At about $8 a pop for a cocktail in a bar or club, the price can really add up to about $48 per week. Don’t be a hermit, but cut down to half of the bar outings.

Annual savings: $1248

Dry cleaning can add up. There are dry cleaning products that you can use at home and/or shop carefully for items that do not need to be dry cleaned. Cut that amount in half and…

Annual savings: $1354

Now that your millennial offspring is on the road to saving $7070.32 a year, the next step is to build up credit—not just credit, but good credit. Often times, mortgage interest rates are based on credit rating and a little work at building up good credit can bring a ton of advantages and savings when it comes time to buy a home.

From BankRate, here are some simple ways to improve your credit.

  1. Watch credit card balances. One major factor in your credit score is how much revolving credit you have versus how much you’re actually using. The smaller that percentage is, the better it is for your credit rating. The optimum: 30% or lower. To boost your score, “pay down your balances, and keep those balances low,” says Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union.
  2. Eliminate credit card balances. The solution to improve your credit score is to gather up all those credit cards on which you have small balances and pay them off. Then pick one or two cards that you can use for everything.
  3. Leave good debit on your report. Debt that you’ve handled well and paid as agreed upon is good for your credit. The longer your history of good debt is, the better it is for your score.
  4. Pay bills on time. Plain old on-time payments are one of the biggest ingredients in a good credit score. Sometimes one of the best ways to improve your credit score is to not do something that could sink it. Two of the biggies are missing payments and suddenly paying less (or charging more) than you normally do. Don’t! Steady as she goes is the best way to handle the credit card bills.

Some people don’t know this, but every time you apply for a credit card, it can cause a small dip in your credit score that can last up to a year. When you are trying to build up your credit, avoid applying for any credit cards. Remember, you don’t want to do anything that indicates risk. Monitoring your credit score from time to time is not only helpful, but can be very uplifting, too!

After a years of these good practices, you can congratulate yourself (or your offspring). Money has been saved, (over $7000 a year), bills are handled and the credit score is rising. It just may be that the first home is just around the corner and there is something pretty wonderful about owning a home. Discipline, thoughtfulness and some plain common sense—it’s just not that hard!

Photo of exclusive offering 675 Blacktail, Lakeside, Montana


Big Mountain Run

Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty Agent Mike Muldown was recently featured in the Whitefish Pilot after participating in the annual Big Mountain Run.  Mike, featured on the far right of the photograph,  & other participants enjoy a cupcake at Whitefish Mountain Resort after the run.

“The race this year started at the base of Chair 1 to spread runners out before they hit the trail, which is reflected in the overall times. The Danny On climbs more than 2,000 vertical feet over 3.8 miles.

This year seven people achieved the coveted Birthday Club status — a finish time less than your age for men and a time less than your age plus 10 minutes for women. Mike Muldown, 71, who has completed the run for 32 of the 34 years, was one of the few to make the Birthday Club.

The race is an annual fundraiser for the Glacier Nordic Club.”

Click here for the complete Whitefish Pilot article & race times!

Back to School…already?!

Like a crisp morning in the late summer, back to school creeps up on us every year. Suddenly, from kindergarten to college, tearful parents hover like helicopters just a bit reticent to let their children go.

This year it is projected that American parents with kids in kindergarten through 12th grade will spend $24.9 billion, an average of about $630 per family and a 6% drop from the prior year. Years ago, back to school shopping consisted of clothes, shoes, school supplies and backpacks. In recent years, electronics have added to the expense list of supplies needed. Though not all parents buy electronics for their school-age child, the 57% who do, spend an average of $400 per family on clothing and electronics combined.

Let’s unpack the “going back to school” phenomenon. With a few tips to make it a little easier and more efficient, you’ll be taking it in stride!

Rekindling “school” habits.

Even though a child may enjoy school, the anticipation of summer days turning into a schedule-driven school week can bring a certain amount of anxiety exemplified by nightmares, changes in eating habits or mood swings. Aside from respecting the child’s feelings and letting them vent, parents can be proactive by changing the summer routine. Phasing in earlier bed and wake up times, getting excited about school shopping and reconnecting with school friends can help with the summer-to-school transition. Familiarize the child with bus or walking routes and the school grounds. If summer homework has not been assigned, now it the time to implement 2 or 3 practice sessions a week, perhaps some math games, a favorite reading time or some fun art projects.

Useful electronics that make sense.

graphing calculator is a type of scientific calculator that is capable of plotting graphs. Graphing calculators also solve simultaneous equations and are programmable.

Digital e-readers are easy on the eyes especially for reading outdoors. In addition, an e-reader can hold more books than a grade school student can fit in a school bag. An electronic tablet has all the qualities of a great educational gadget. It is portable, powerful, and easy to use. Tablets hold hundreds of books, but their best features are apps. Educational apps include interactive books, dictionaries, calculators, and even games.

While tablets may suffice to complete writing assignments for elementary school students, they may not be sufficient in higher grades. As grade schoolers tackle longer essays, they require a computer to research and write their papers. Kids in elementary school can make do with family desktop computers or parents’ laptops, but middle school students may need their own computers.

In the higher grades, longer essays are required making printers an appropriate back-to-school electronics, especially those in middle school. While a basic printer model is sufficient, it is best to get a printer than can also scan and photocopy documents.

Digital Tools for Organizing Back to School Clutter (keeping everyone organized)

Keeping track and organizing forms and paperwork for the school age child can be a challenge for parents. The following digital tools are handy aids for keeping paper work, permission slips, schedules, projects, appointments and photos organized and under control.

Evernote – An app that helps the family remember everything and share it with others on multiple devices, even teachers!


Microsoft OneNote – Software that allows the family to collect, save and share information.


Google Calendar – Here is a master calendar that works on smartphones, tablets, or computers and syncs with others’ schedules.


Dropbox – A cloud service that stores photos and files in the cloud….great for storing and sharing.


Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) – allows users to store files in the cloud, share files, and edit documents, spreadsheets, and presentations with collaborators. This solves the problem of homework being forgotten at Dad’s house or eaten by the dog!


Whatever the age, going back to school is a necessary transition that has its ups and downs. The most important thing to remember is that, as parents, consistency, high expectations, listening and guidance are necessary qualities that will produce a successful transition. Remember….behind the child stands the teacher and behind the school stands the home.