Whitefish Journals

Trains, Planes or Automobiles???

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A March 2012 trip to Whitefish by MilwVon

Our Train Near Glacier National Park Photo, Whitefish, Montana More Photos
Quote: A train-based getaway utilizing Amtrak to see a little slice of America via the rails. Someone coined the trip "Stations Across the Nation" which I thought was cute. The trip itself was four days on the train and two days based out of Whitefish, MT. (See journal http://www.igougo.com/journal-j76649-Whitefish-Out_and_About_Around_Whitefish.html)

Trains, Planes or Automobiles???

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Inbound Amtrak - Arriving Milwaukee Photo, Whitefish, Montana
Quote:
I've always wanted to experience the Amtrak and taking the train to Glacier National Park has been a bucket list item for me for a while now. Having gotten hooked on Alaska a few years ago, I wondered if Montana's Rocky Mountains were close to what I loved so much about Denali National Park and that area of Alaska.This trip literally came together in about a week, with my sister posting on Facebook that she was "thinking about a train trip to New Orleans." Well, my initial reaction was "Amtrak - hell yeah . . . New Orleans? WHY???" As I wrote her, there are so many other more beautiful places to explore via Amtrak why be limited to the Southeast USA?She and her son decided ...Read More

Stations Across The Nation - part 1

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Heading out of Milwaukee Photo, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Quote:
OK upfront I must admit to not being that creative. A young lady with whom we shared lunch one day said that our Amtrak adventure sounded like a tour of "stations across the nation" and I liked it enough to use it here. For me, my Amtrak adventure began in Milwaukee heading west to Whitefish, Montana. My sister Pam and her son Michael were taking a nine day loop route starting and ending in Washington, DC on a 15 day/eight segment USA Rail Pass ($429/person). I decided to go to Whitefish for a few days and then hook-up with them there for their east bound return through Milwaukee.My itinerary of stations went through Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana . . . 30 s...Read More

Stations Across The Nation - part 2

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Lounge Car Photo, Whitefish, Montana
Quote:
There were so many things to see while riding on the train. As you would probably expect, this region of the country is largely farm and ranch land. I saw a lot of cattle, sheep and horses on my journey. In terms of wildlife, it was difficult if not impossible to snap a photo of anything of interest that we passed. I did see several herd of deer, some wild turkeys, pheasants and a rather scraggly coyote.As much as I enjoy the wildlife and scenery around me, however, I really think I liked the various aspects of weather more. It was unseasonably warm the week that I traveled. In Montana we had very high winds; high enough that they issued a turbulence warning for all passengers. They...Read More

Accommodations on the Amtrak

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Pam & Me in My Roomette Photo, Whitefish, Montana
Quote:
A vast majority of people travel on the Amtrak rail system in coach. Tickets are very reasonably priced, especially if you buy them in advance of your travel dates. A coach ticket one-way from Milwaukee to Whitefish, MT started at $158. To travel "first class" is to buy space in a sleeper car, either a roomette or bedroom. The roomettes for my trip started at $207 (one-way). I'm not sure how much the bedrooms start at as they were already into second (or third) tier pricing by the time I started looking into my trip.During my Amtrak adventure I spent some time in coach so that I could write first hand about it. First thing that struck me was how large and comfy the seats were. They ...Read More

Amtrak Dining Aboard the Empire Builder

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Amtrak's Dining Car Photo, Whitefish, Montana
Quote:
The 30 hour trip between Milwaukee, WI and Whitefish, MT was made much more comfortable and enjoyable in part due to the meals served in the dining car. The train in both directions (east and west) had a dining car which provided a full-service hot food experience to guests.Departing Milwaukee at approximately 4pm and a scheduled arrival the following day at 9:00pm my plan was to dine with Amtrak for four meals. My return trip was scheduled to depart Whitefish shortly prior to 8:00am, arriving back home in Milwaukee at 2:00pm, which would be five meals.I can say that for my nine meals on the train, I enjoyed them all. Some were much better than others, and all were one hundr...Read More

Glacier National Park in the Winter

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Glacier National Park Photo, Glacier National Park, Montana
Quote:
Glacier National Park is like many other national parks located in mountainous areas of the United States in that access is very limited due to the extreme winter conditions. Many of the park services are closed and the roads are only cleared and maintained for the first several miles from the entrance. In the case of Glacier NP, the Going-to-the-Sun Road (the main road from the west entrance) is only open for the first eight or ten miles to the Lake McDonald Lodge (which happens to also be closed).Upon arrival to the West Glacier entrance to the park, I did stop to take a few photos of the Middle Fork Flathead River which provided pretty reflections of the tall pines along its shorelin...Read More

The Dining Car at the Izaak Walton Inn

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Restaurant | "Nice Dining Experience in the Wilderness"

The Dining Car at the Izaak Walton Inn Photo, Essex, Montana
Quote:
The Izaak Walton Inn was built on the Great Northern rail line back in 1939. Originally intended to provide housing for employees of the train company, today the Izaak Walton Inn serves as a tourist destination spot for those looking to get away from it all. It is remotely located approximately 60 miles from Kalispell and Whitefish, between the west and east entrances into Glacier National Park.The train motif is throughout the main lodge building which includes a bar and game room on the lower level, a rustic lobby area and restaurant and a large back porch facing the tracks where trains can be seen throughout the day and night. This is also a "whistle stop" on the Amtrak Empire Build...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 21, 2012

The Dining Car at the Izaak Walton Inn
290 Izaak Wlaton Inn Road
Essex, Montana 59916
406-888-5700