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Destination I Do

Montana: Worlds Away

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of The Ranch at Rock Creek

How many times in your life do you get the chance to truly get away from it all? For most people, not many. If you've never gotten the chance to visit a place where cell phones are rendered virtually useless, there isn't a neighbor as far as the eye can see and there are more horses than people — you're missing out. There's something truly romantic and exhilarating about feeling totally removed from everyday life, making the lovely and isolated Ranch at Rock Creek an ideal option for your destination wedding or honeymoon.

This high-end guest ranch located in Philipsburg, Montana is roughly an hour-and-a-half drive from Missoula and boasts some of the best fly fishing in the region. You may hear the word "ranch" and associate it with dusty fields, cowboys and straw beds, but The Ranch at Rock Creek is in a class all its own. There are roughly 6,400 acres on which lay the home base of the Granite Lodge, canvas cabins for the glamping adventurers, luxury log cabins ranging all the way up to five bedrooms, a saloon and even a 19th century barn which has been renovated to accommodate guests.

Not surprising, once you arrive at The Ranch at Rock Creek, owners Maja and Thomas will do their best to ensure your stay is as stress-free and welcoming as possible. For starters, you'll be met by Troy the Rhodesian Ridgeback for a quick "hello" and scratch behind the ears. (Her, not you.) Best of all, your meals, activities, alcohol and equipment are all included in the price of your stay. If you've never stayed at an all-inclusive before, it can take some getting used to. Leave your wallet in your room, don't worry about the cost of that craft beer you're dying to try, and the fresh baked cookies left out in the Great Room really are meant for you — help yourself.

The range of accommodations makes the ranch a dream for destination wedding groups. You can stay at the Granite Lodge where you're just steps from it all, or opt for one of the many log cabins for more privacy and your very own home-away-from-home.

If your ideal honeymoon or destination wedding involves mostly lounging around, then The Ranch at Rock Creek might not be for you, because what makes it truly unique is the amount of activities offered to guests. Don't get me wrong, there's still the option of curling up in front of a roaring fire with a book, but that's not really what the ranch is all about. World-class instructors will teach you to fly fish on the Blue Ribbon Rock Creek, ride a horse with the best of them or perfect your aim at one of their four shooting ranges. Whether you're a fly fishing expert or just want to give it a go, this is the perfect opportunity. Visit between mid-March and mid-November for the best conditions.

After a day riding the trails or fishing the creek in the Montana sunshine and fresh air, you will have worked up quite an appetite. Thankfully, Chef Josh Drage has you covered with cuisine inspired by cattle-producing regions around the World. You will be treated to a three-course dinner every night with a perfectly selected wine pairing. After dinner, curl up for a movie, get in a couple games of bowling (yes, they have a movie theater and bowling alley), or sing your lungs out performing karaoke. The choice is yours and, frankly, you can't make a bad one.

The Ranch at Rock Creek will offer your destination wedding guests a truly unique experience and plenty of opportunities to make everlasting memories. At the end of it all, say "I do" with a mountain range as your backdrop and galloping horses announcing your first kiss as husband and wife.

This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Fall2013/Winter 2014 issue. You can order a copy here.

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