Updated: Jun 13, 2021
In all of the years I have attended my kids school auction, I have never bid on any item. (well, ok, maybe a one of a kind mirror when my son was in toddler class) but that was at least 8 years ago :)
So, when my close friend and I attended last years auction, I assumed I would just enjoy the ambience, sip some wine and devour all of the treats at the table we were sitting at.
That was almost the case, until a trip of a lifetime was announced by the auctioneer.
Six nights at a beautiful home in Big Sky, Montana! (which as many of you might know is very close to Yellowstone National Park). The auctioneer proceeded to tell us that this home sleeps two families, has a big hot tub where you can literally soak in the gorgeous view of the mountains, and is surrounded by an abundance of hiking trails.
(I have been lucky enough to travel to many amazing places over the years, even Montana. But never Big Sky, and I still hadn't visited Yellowstone.)
So this was "getting two birds with one stone" I thought!
I blame being caught up in the moment, the excitement, and maybe one too many Prosecco's. Whatever the reason (besides we were willing to pay the most) haha, my friend and I ended up winning the bid!
Months later, we realized what this trip would entail.
Travel, multiple flights, car, summer schedules with camps and sports etc. Yikes!
Long story short, I really didn't want to pass this opportunity up. Especially since the house was so gorgeous and I didn't have to figure out where we were going to stay. Regardless of the "un planned" costs and travel.
Unfortunately, as the dates got closer, it seemed only me, my two kids, and my friends daughter could go. "Um... me and three kids under 14"!? I thought.
I have traveled for over 14 years, week in and week out, I knew I could do it.
Strap in, because I am about to give you all of the big and little details that made this trip so amazing and memorable!
Exploring Big Sky Montana
Where we stayed: Big Sky Vacation Rentals
The home was absolutely gorgeous, spacious and beautifully decorated. The office manager and staff were so accommodating and communicated extremely well; before, during and after our trip! We were even greeted with the most amazing box of local caramels from Bequet Confections. I seriously recommend you run to their website and order many many boxes. They are incredible!!
Day 1: We flew into Bozeman, MT the third week of June. The first day was more of a travel day (takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to get to Big Sky.
We stopped at Safeway in the town of Bozeman and loaded up on all the groceries we thought we might need for the few days we were going to be there. Our house was about a 10min drive from the base of Big Sky Resort, so it was easier to have the meals planned out ahead of time so that we only needed to run to the store for special treats or absolute neccessities. We found it was nice and relaxing to come back home after a long day and cook in our own kitchen. We enjoyed watching movies, playing card games and just hanging out. A fresh cup of coffee, fruit bowl and toast in the morning, while lounging on the deck was a highlight for me!
Day 2: We explored the Big Sky Resort and area around our house.
There are plenty of activities and the scenery is one of a kind.
Day 3: On this day we piled in and headed off to Yellowstone National Park. I had mapped it out ahead of time, knowing that we only had one day, and wanted to be as efficient as we could while still seeing some memorable sites. I knew we could see Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful, anything in between was a bonus.
If traveling with kids like I was, be sure to prepare lots of snacks, water, and maybe pillows :) It was a very long day, but worth it.
Be sure to search the internet if you have time for deals on admission into the park. I happened to find a pass only for 4th graders (my son just started 5th in August). And it allowed our car in for free!! My son even received a special National Parks laminated card that he kept as a souvenir.
Mammoth Hot Springs did not disappoint. The drive there was a bit rough, as construction along the way held us up for a while, but once we arrived the view was great. You have the option of parking either at the top or the bottom. We chose the top as it was quicker heading out when we were done. It just means you have to walk all the way back up after checking out the souvenir shops etc. :)
The drive through the park was breathtaking and as we drove, I knew I would need to come back to enjoy even more of what the park had to offer.
Old Faithful was so cool! The kids loved seeing the Old Faithful Inn and reading about its history.
Day 4: On this day we decided to check out the Lone Peak Expedition.
We had an amazing guide named Bea. She was fun and knowledgeable. It was so fun to experience the dynamic weather changes that happen in Big Sky, and especially at 11,166 elevation. We started off with sun, and up at the peak we had snow, wind and a lightening hold that kept us in the ski patrol hut for about an hour. We made the most of it and have a great story to tell! I highly recommend it. Just be sure to check dates and times, as it varies with the season.
On our last evening we were lucky enough to experience the Big Sky Farmers Market. It happened to be the official kick off the night we went. What an amazing atmosphere! Dogs everywhere, food, drinks, vendors and you truly feel like a local. Logan loved the Bison Burger and the girls loved the tropical sno shaved ice.
Day 5: We had an afternoon flight home, so we thought it might be fun to explore the town of Bozeman before we headed out. Before heading into Bozeman, we stopped over at the Grizzly Encounter. It was so fun to see the Grizzly they had out, up close and personal. It was fairly inexpensive and we learned a lot of great info from the dude that spoke to us. If you have a few extra minutes, it is worth the stop. We then headed to the fun town of Bozeman. There were so many cute shops and restaurants and ice cream!! We chose to have lunch at yummy Knife Bistro. Food was amazing! They had something for everyone. After we looked around in a few shops, the kids eyed Genuine Ice Cream. OMG! Some of the best I have ever had!! Wonderful way to end a wonderful trip!