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Tales of the Traveling Tote: Montana and Louisiana

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Happy June, My Lovelies!  

Welcome to another edition of the Tales of the Traveling Tote.  Today's post features two trips: a ski trip to Big Sky, Montana, and a family trip to Covington, Louisiana.

In March, Mr. Bookish and I went on a trip with the Birmingham Ski Club to Big Sky, Montana.  It was during Spring Break, and I saw so many people from Birmingham, even a family from our neighborhood!  

With all the sweaters and other winter clothing I had to pack, there was only room for Miss Candy Max.  She met a friend in the lobby of the Huntley Lodge, our home for the week.
We loved it, and it's always a plus when a hotel features the convenience of ski in/ ski out. 

The Huntley Lodge was built in the 1970s by the TV newscaster Chet Huntley.  He was proud of his state, and promoted it everywhere.  He was also a developer of Big Sky.

Scenes from the Huntley Lodge:

Starbucks in the lobby

The view from our room's window, above and below.

It was very difficult taking photos on this trip because it snowed  every.  single.  day we were there.  There were a few moments when there was a break in the clouds, and I took photos then.

Big Sky's Town Center is lovely!  I was happy to meet artists at a couple of galleries, and I was thrilled that they have a brand new Cowboy Coffee!  We have loved Cowboy Coffee for many years, having discovered it on another ski trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

We had a lovely trip, and Mr. Bookish loved the skiing.  This is the first ski trip I've been on where I didn't ski.  I have yet to have the all clear (I'm having a bone density test soon), but once I have the all clear, I will ski again!  Mr. Bookish wants to return to Big Sky around Christmas so I can ski.  We already have a ski trip planned for the beginning of 2024.

I had plenty to occupy my time.  I read a couple of books beside the fire, took a few art supplies and did a little drawing, and met some very lovely people in town.  There is a group of artists in Big Sky who host workshops year round, and I'd like to return and do both: make art and ski!  

We also ate well: Big Sky has some amazing restaurants, and our three favorites were Buck's T-4 Lodge, The Cabin, and Peaks Chophouse.  A friend told me that Montana is big on huckleberries, and that Montanans would try to force them down my throat.  Well, the did, and I liked it!  I had huckleberries on all the things....and I brought home huckleberry jam and huckleberry honey.  Good stuff!

Scenes from the Summit Hotel after dinner, above and below.
Peaks Chophouse is located in the Summit, and it was a favorite with the ski club.

I brought home some Cowboy Coffee, and I'm happy to report I can now order it online!
My favorite blends are the Cowboy and Teton.

Quote from the Huntley-Brinkley Report

In April, we went to Covington, Louisiana, for a family party.

We loved staying at the Southern Hotel!  We want to take a long weekend and visit again soon.  Covington is a darling small town, and there are unique shops, restaurants, and activities to enjoy.

La Countess de Monet rode along with us, but she fell in with a questionable crowd...

Our suite in The Garden House was accessed through a pink garden gate.  The Southern Hotel's gardens are lovely! 

Scenes from The Garden House
We stayed in the Hibiscus Suite

The Southern Hotel is so beautiful, and my favorite part was a lovely restaurant called the Gloriette.  Gloriette means garden folly, and it truly looks like a whimsical garden folly.

The Gloriette serves chocolate biscuits, a Southern tradition.  During the depression, Southerners saved biscuits from breakfast, melted chocolate, and combined the two for dessert after supper.  (Dinner is the midday meal.)

My favorite meal of the trip was breakfast at The Gloriette.
We also enjoyed a lovely dinner at Gallagher's Grill.

The family party was fun, but I did not take a single photo.  The bride (my niece Molly) and groom (Brandon) are a sweet and happy couple, and since no one else seemed to be taking photos at the bridal shower, I didn't, either.  (Probably because it was a crawfish boil, and everyone's hands were messy most of the time.)  There are more parties in the future, and I will insist on taking photos of the bride and groom then!

I hope you enjoyed my post!  Please visit the other totes and see where in the world they've traveled.  Links are listed below!

Debbie with Miss Aurora @ Mountain Breaths 
Emily with Miss Courtney ChildsThe French Hutch
 Patti with Miss Kenzie @ Pandora's Box
Jenna with Miss Coquille @The Painted Apron
Linda P with Miss Lola @ Life and Linda
Rita with Miss Luna C Panoply 
Sarah with Miss Merri Mac @ Hyacinths for the Soul
Jackie and Miss Madi K @ Purple Chocolat Home
Ricki Jill and Countess De Monet @ The Sketchy Reader (You're here!)

Also, please visit Sarah's blog for a lovely giveaway!

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


  1. Wow, thanks for taking us along on your two fabulous trips - places I have never been! Your trip to snow country must have been exciting (but we see it for at least 5 months of the year!!). The lodging looks cozy and a perfect place to catch up on your reading! Your second trip looked like an amazing time - great photos! Enjoy your summer!

  2. What fabulous trips...both of them. I love the snowy scenes and it must have felt great to see all of the beauty surrounding you. I'm happy you are getting to travel! Sweet hugs, Diane

  3. RJ, you have certainly been enjoying some amazing travels this spring. I've never been to Montana so I've enjoyed your beautiful photos. I know you enjoyed sitting and reading in the amazing lodge and enjoying the fire and your coffee. The snow scenery is beautiful! And, the trip to LA looks like a fabulous time. We need to plan our next lunch after Jenna returns. I'll call you soon. Happy spring sweet girl........

  4. RJ, love seeing and hearing about your beautiful travel. Montana is amazing and full of beauty! I know it must feel fantastic to be back out in the world traveling after your year of staying home. The snowy mountain top is gorgeous. I've only been to LA once, and have fond memories. Thanks for sharing your adventures!

  5. RJ, your travels all look so interesting. Such beautiful accommodations. I have never been to Montana. Our neighbors bought a second house in Great Falls, Montana. The lodge looks amazing and a great place to curl up and read a book. Just look at all of that snow and the gorgeous scenery. So glad you got to get away. Happy upcoming summer.🌞

  6. I am so glad you finally got to get away on not one but two trips! Montana is incredibly beautiful! That is one state I've never been too, and Big Sky and the resort where you stayed sound amazing! That photo of the mountain peaks is gorgeous! What is cowboy coffee? The hotel you stayed in in Covington sounds lovely too, I loved your hibiscus suite, so pretty! I know you enjoyed being with family and friends. A chocolate biscuit sounds great! Happy Summer Ricki Jill, I know you will be enjoying lots of lake time!

  7. What a dichotomy of trips! But both are fantastically enticing to me. I am not a great skier by any means, but love the huge slopes out west. I'm really so happy you were able to make the trip. Montana is one state I have not been to, though your photos definitely show its beauty. I literally chuckled out loud at the Countess' company she found herself mixed in at the Southern Hotel in LA. And what a fabulous suite you had! Great trips, fun reads. Happy June!

  8. Thank You for the trips.

  9. A big bear and a questionable crowd...looks like your lovely totes had some fun and interesting adventures!! Thanks for taking us along.

  10. I was looking forward to hearing about your trip to Montana and it did not disappoint! My best friend's high school friend lives in Montana, and we keep saying we are going to visit. My co-worker moved to Montana, and I enjoy seeing his photos of the scenery. I am so glad you finally got to get away for two trips! I've never heard of cowboy coffee but I'm glad you can now buy it online. The hotel you stayed in in Covington looks lovely, a chocolate biscuit sounds great! Happy Summer Ricki Jill!

  11. Looks like you enjoyed the best of both worlds and climates, Ricki Jill. My late beloved and I went to Jackson Hole one summer and hiked in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. I know you’ll be happy to ski at your next visit. The Louisiana trip looked so lush and relaxing. I’m so glad that you could get away and have some fun. Happy June!

  12. The questionable crowd made me giggle. Your photos are gorgeous! I've traveled to Louisiana (loved it!), but I've never been as far north as Montana. Those snowy mountains are calling to me!

  13. That lodge is lovely! Though I am not really a fan of being in the snow it always looks so pretty. Louisiana sounded like a lot of fun too (and probably more my speed!).

  14. What a delightful post. So glad you are getting your strength back; I know it's such a good feeling.


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I'm Ricki Jill. Welcome! I'm honored that you're reading my blog. I enjoy sharing my creative lifestyle @ The Bookish Dilettante. For more information about my blog, please read the Start Here page. Thank-you for stopping by, and I hope you'll consider following me via email.

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