Ninety miles from Kalispell in northwest Montana, remote Libby is a natural movie set, with lush forests, mountain lakes, trout streams, and miles of hiking trails. In fact, the town can boast just one degree of separation from actor Kevin Bacon, who spent much of a summer here filming The River Wild with Meryl Streep. For information, contact the Libby Area Chamber of Commerce: (406) 293-4167, libbychamber.org.
The scene at the Libby Nordicfest, September 11 through 13, is a mix of shorts, tank tops, Viking helmets, and folk costumes called bunader. The festival features a parade, quilt show, juried crafts exhibition, and the International Fjord Horse Show. Music blares over loudspeakers during Scandinavian arm-wrestling contests; food booths offer pickled herring and lefse (Norwegian flat bread), as well as Uff-Da Dogs (hot dogs wrapped in lefse) and Vikings on a Stick (aka corn dogs). libbynordicfest.org.
Emerald water churns over the rocky terraces of Kootenai Falls just outside town. A 15-minute hike down a wooded trail leads to a swinging footbridge over the Kootenai River. In September, cottonwoods and larches paint the surrounding mountains in fiery orange. libbymt.com/areaattractions.
At Libby Cafe, locals fill up on sour-dough pancakes, potato flapjacks, all manner of muffins, and half-pound pastries called huckleberry swirls that come topped with berries and purple cream frosting. 411 Mineral Ave., (406) 293-3523, montanamuffins.com.
Don't be put off by the 14-mile drive to Moose Ridge Lodge Bed & Breakfast. Choose the main house (from $95) or book the Angler's Retreat cabin (from $125 per group). Add $10 per person for gourmet breakfast. 46833 Hwy. 2, (406) 293-3960, mooseridgemontana.com.
Photography by Lynn Donaldson
This article was first published in September 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.