On a recent trip to Glacier National Park I took a day to explore one of the endless back roads. I knew of the destination having been there before. Plus I enjoy the breathtaking scenery along the way.
Should I mention the fresh made pastries? They were one of the objectives of the trip. My favorite, the Huckleberry Bear Claws, and a cup of fresh brewed coffee. If the scenery along the drive doesn’t entice you, the pastries certainly will.
The Polebridge Mercantile was built back in 1914, just 4 years after Glacier Park became a National Park. It was originally known as “Adairs”. William Adair and his wife lived in a homestead house next door. That old homestead house in today’s time, is the Northern Lights Saloon. Adair’s ran the Merc until just after World War II.
The bakery was started in 1994 and has become an attraction of its own. Sip a cup of coffee and browse through all the unique items hanging on the walls and from the ceiling. I am sure every piece has its own story.
You still have to walk out the back across the yard to take care of “business”. The outhouse is back there and still where you have to “go”. But this is high class…..pink carpeting on the floor. Don’t expect anything else. It is still basic. This is pretty much how “things” were taken care of a 100 years ago.
Finding Polebridge, Montana is locating the North Fork Rd (RT 486) out of Columbia Falls, Montana. Or if you are in Glacier NP (West side) find Camas Rd and take that north to North Fork Rd. This can be 25 to 35 miles depending on your route or starting point. Much of it is gravel, but well traveled. I have hit years the road is decent and you can go 45 mph without trouble. Other years it is rough going.
Either point you start at will provide you incredible views along the North Fork of the Flathead River. Distant mountains with snow covered tops, open vista’s created by a forest fire sometime in the past. Mother nature replacing the burn with new growth that has been replenishing the landscape for years. Watch for animals. Deer, Moose, and the elusive wolf that has been seen along the road at times.
Watch the river too. Often there are animals along its edge, down for a drink. Or colorful rafts floating by. Rafting the river is a popular sport that you can enjoy on your own or by hiring an outfitter.
Regardless of your passions, this is one stop you will not want to pass by if you are visiting the general area.
Also visit the Polebridge Mercantile’s Facebook Page.