I can’t believe it’s been over a week since Thanksgiving! I’ve been meaning to share our little Montana adventure, but got so busy this week that I haven’t had a chance.
We actually celebrated two Thanksgivings this year. Collen, one of Ken’s colleagues who we went hiking with in September, invited us to dinner at his house for Canadian Thanksgiving, which Canada has erroneously scheduled for the beginning of October. I mean, what is that craziness?!
Honestly though, the weather is just right here for Thanksgiving then, so I guess it works. Aside from the weird timing, it’s pretty much the same…turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, pie and lots of other good food. From what people tell me, Canadians don’t attach quite the same significance to the holiday that Americans do, but it feels the same to me. Family, friends, food, giving thanks…and there’s football on tv, so all the components are there. Except, of course, for the fact that the next day isn’t a free for all tribute to consumerism. Also, there was no talk of pilgrims.
For American Thanksgiving (and my birthday), we took a road trip to Kalispell, Montana. We did this last year and had such a good time that we decided to make a tradition of it.
Kalispell is in Flathead County, close by Glacier National Park. It’s also a really friendly and cute town. Or at the very least, every time we’ve been, everyone has been really friendly to us. We have stayed at the Kalispell Grand Hotel each time we’ve visited (except the first, which was a fiasco) and I absolutely recommend this place. The staff is amazing, they allow pets, which is a must for us because Ilex goes everywhere we do, and they have fresh baked cookies and popcorn in the lobby along with coffee and tea. Add all of that to the awesome rates, and I see no reason to stay anywhere else when we visit. Plus, the sidewalk out front is the perfect place to watch the Christmas Parade the day after Thanksgiving!
So when I said the place was friendly, I really meant it. Last year when we were watching the parade, we met a few locals and got to talking with them…they told us that after the parade, everyone heads down to watch the tree lighting and sing Christmas Carols and invited us along. Afterwards, we went to dinner with them and since it was my birthday, “Crazy Pete”, as he called himself, treated me to a slice of Birthday Pumpkin Pie. This year when I called to make reservations, the wonderful lady who answered the phone wound up inviting me and Ken to share Thanksgiving dinner with her at an event she attends each year! Unfortunately, we didn’t make it in time to take her up on that, but I did take her a jar of apple butter and one of raspberry jam that I made to thank her for the kindness.
So this year, we again attended the parade, the tree lighting, and the caroling. I had my picture taken with Santa, too! I told everyone that I knew him, but no one believed me…now I have photographic proof!
My favorite thing while we were in Kalispell, though was that after the tree lighting, we walked to the mall where they had about 12 different charity trees set up. There was a tree for Head Start, one for a women’s shelter, one for a youth center, one for the Humane Society, and many others. We chose two tags off of the Head Start tree and two off of the youth center tree and went shopping for gifts for these kids. It was the most fun we had on our trip and it made us both feel really good to be doing something nice for several someones that we didn’t even know. If you’ve never done this, give it a try. Buying a gift for someone who will never know who you are is a great feeling and kind of addictive, but it’s an addiction the world could use more of.
In all, it was a fantastic holiday. We spent the weekend in Kalispell, I got to shop for birthday yarn at Camas Creek Yarn (one of the prettiest yarn shops I’ve visited), and birthday fabric at Glacier Quilts, and we both had a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner and a fun trip out of it! Even the drive home on Sunday was great! I hope all of you had a Thanksgiving as wonderful as mine was!