Passion Points: Active/Adventure
In summer 2010, Addie Foster & Mitch Miller opened the Double T River Ranch, a special new Montana property that occupies some one-hundred-fifteen acres near Clyde Park (a forty-minute drive from Bozeman). Unlike many of the guest ranches in this part of the world that function as hotels, Double T was specifically created for groups of friends and families traveling together who take over the entire property. The centerpiece is a meticulously restored barn that dates from the 1900s; accommodations comprise two riverfront cottages (with three bedrooms each), the four-bedroom Ranch House and a romantic cottage. Personal guides and chefs are on-hand for activities and meals, and days are totally customized to the group’s preferences. The Shields River that traverses the Double T River Ranch property offers fantastic fly-fishing, and there’s a swimming pond on-property as well.
Indagare spoke to Addie Foster about her guest ranch.
What did you find when you purchased the property?
We acquired the Double T River Ranch property about three years ago. While the bones of the property were all solid and the land beautiful (but overgrown), it did require a major overhaul. The 100-year-old barn was just that: a barn, complete with a hundred years of animal smell. The house was the worst-off, with bad carpeting, bad fixtures and small windows. Still, the layout was very practical and the previous owners had added on a nice master bedroom, making for a total of four bedrooms in the house. The yard was beautiful with mature lilacs and two stunning huge willow trees. The small cottage in the back did have electricity but that’s about it. But all the challenges and all the neglect faded away once we walked the mile of riverfront and saw the incredible natural beauty and opportunity that this stunning piece of property offered.
What where the major challenges in restoring it?
One of the major challenges of restoring the property was trying to retain the original feel of the barn and house, while doing a complete interior overhaul. Mitch and his crew were able to keep the barn exterior the same, so that when you arrive it looks just like a big old barn…that is until you step inside. Also, so much of what we took time to do is stuff that you don’t see: tearing down old fencing and sheds, moving power lines, battling the noxious weeds, and cleaning, clearing and clearing some more.
What are some of your favorite design details today? Being able to retain the shingles in the upstairs of the Barn is one of the striking details of the ranch. Mitch figured out that he could insulate over the old shingles from the outside, and then reshingle over the insulation. After a major corn blasting (like sand blasting but with corn), the results are stunning. It makes you marvel at what the feat of building something of this size (with no hydraulics) that is strong, straight and sturdy one-hundred years later. Also, all of the barn wood used throughout the house and barn is recycled from the property. Mitch and his crew took it all down and milled it in the shop right on the property and put it back in again as walls, trim, countertops, etc. It is a labor of love.
Do you plan on being open year-round?
We are open year-round and encourage people to consider a fall or winter stay. Fall fishing in the area is stupendous, ask any guide or fisherman. And Yellowstone River is just ten minutes away. The fishing on the Shields River right on the ranch is actually the best in spring, early summer and fall. Fall colors along the river are stunning, and if the weather cooperates, it is a gorgeous time to visit Montana. Yellowstone National Park is cool and un-crowded both spring and fall (fall is my family’s favorite time to visit the Park). There is incredible bird watching right on the ranch. There is amazing bird and big game hunting around the area, and the Double T is perfect for those hunters who are over bunk house living! The property itself if also great for cross country skiing and snowshoeing, and for sitting by fires and sipping a toddy. Downhill skiing at Bridger Bowl is sixteen miles away. Bridger is an awesome, community-owned ski area that is a cult favorite with skiiers, both hard core and family. Bohart Cross Country Ski Area is fifteen miles from the ranch and offers miles of perfectly groomed trails for beginner to expert in some of the most gorgeous country around. And the non-skiing members of your group can be happily back at the ranch, hot-tubbing and making soup for the skier’s return without being stuck in a hotel room with nothing to do.
Read a member postcard about her stay at Double T River Ranch
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