Just outside the charming small town of Bozeman is the Gallatin River Lodge, a country home hotel in rural Montana. Passing through the area on my way to Yellowstone National Park, I stayed the night at this gem of a hotel and fell in love.

The lodge is special, like nowhere else I have ever stayed. It couples the feeling of being in your very own comfy, country home with a restaurant serving Michelin-comparable cuisine, situated in a beautiful landscape full of outdoor activities. It is for this dynamic combination of elements I have chosen Gallatin River Lodge as an Expedia Viewfinder Pick.

The lodge

With accommodations for 25 guests, in king and queen-bed rooms and apartment-style suites, the hotel attracts all kinds of patrons—couples, groups of friends and business travelers. And it is most well known as a popular fly-fishing retreat and special events venue for weddings, reunions, and business gatherings.

The rooms are decorated simply, accented by wooded furniture, leather headboards and Native-American, patterned rugs and art.  They have wide, comfortable beds with plush pillows and duvets. My room came with a deep jacuzzi tub with a view.

Viewfinder Tip: When visiting the Gallatin River Lodge, the hotel staff will pick you up from the airport upon request.

On the ground floor in the principal building, the rooms have doors that open out onto the grass that surrounds the hotel. Within feet from my bed, I was met with a view of a trout pond, manicured grounds, and a vast, green valley with towering mountains in the distance in all directions.

In the hotel’s main central lounge, plush leather couches face the view and a stone fireplace. Following the stonework upward with my eyes, past the mounted deer’s head, and I notice a second floor veranda leading to more guest rooms and a quiet library.

Adjacent to the living room is a full, top-shelf bar and cozy café where breakfast is served in the mornings and cocktails are served in the evenings. I especially enjoyed the pancakes for breakfast. And my companion particularly took pleasure in the huckleberry martinis at the bar in the evening.

The restaurant

For being down a dirt road, in the middle of the Montana countryside, the dinning experience at the Gallatin River Lodge is surprisingly sophisticated. Sunlight streams in through the dining room windows with a sprawling green landscape beyond. During magic hour, the sky is full of vibrant colors. And the menu is full of masterful creations by chef Scott Meyers, combining local ingredients (including herbs and veggies grown on property) with a European influence.

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I ordered the scallops to start. They were perfectly fresh and expertly cooked with a savory and acidic seasoning topped with sprigs of fresh dill and micro greens atop sweet red beets. Next I ordered the truffle and English pea risotto—a dish that was simply out of this world. Nuanced. Complex. The creamy, truffle infused rice contrasted the fresh crunch of the peas, pea shoots, and white radishes. I nearly licked the plate clean!

I was so sad to be leaving town before getting to sample more of the menu.

And more

If you are wondering what to get up to in the area, just ask the hotel staff. Not only is there great fishing nearby, the hotel’s expert guides will be happy to take you fishing with any necessary equipment and a pack lunch from the chef. On the hotel’s property, there is private access to the Gallatin River as well as a trout pond where one can get a casting lesson from beginner to advanced. You could also simply explore the area on foot, taking long nature walks. And the surrounding landscape is known for all kinds of outdoor fun from rock climbing, and horseback riding, to hiking and mountain biking.

If I lived anywhere near the Gallatin River Lodge, I’d make it my regular escape with my husband. And next time, I’ll be sure to stay a few nights to let the beautiful landscape and homey environment really soak in.

What do you look for in a countryside escape?