Girlfriend Celebrations - Because Girlfriends Make Life Better

Girlfriend Getaway of the Month: Montana

Woohoo! It’s a rejuvenating girlfriend getaway to the land of big sky, rodeos, rafting, and…pilates? This is a girlfriend getaway for ladies who want to be challenged and pampered.

by Casey Wohl

Our destination this month is Livingston, Montana for a Girls Getaway (and Boot Camp).  This quaint town is located in Park County where the Rocky Mountains give way to the plains that stretch to the horizon, blue-ribbon fishing streams turn to the Missouri River, and the “Big Sky” opens up.

Livingston came into being in 1882 in consequence of planning by the Northern Pacific Railway, which deemed it a good location for railroad shops to service its steam trains before their ascent over the Bozeman Pass.  Though Livingston is a small town, it is popular with tourists and is a small art haven, filming location (A River Runs Through It, The Horse Whisperer), fishing destination, railroad town, and writers’ and actors’ colony.  Actors Peter Fonda and Margot Kidder call Livingston home, and Jimmy Buffett fans will recognize the town named in several of his songs.

Rise and shine, Mountain Mamas!

We wake up thrilled to see the incredible view outside the Flatpenny Inn (our home for the next few days) of the Abrasoka Mountains. It is absolutely beautiful here.  Despite our long day yesterday, we are ready for our early, four-mile mountain hike.  Our host, Lisa Celentano, oozes high energy that is contagious and almost infuses you (I will stress “almost”).  I feel really out of shape when I get winded after the first mile, but Lisa assures us it is mostly the mountain altitude.  Regardless, I love incorporating exercise into my getaway experience!

After showers and a delicious pasta lunch of Sun Dried & Artichoke Hearts over Angel Hair (thanks Lisa), we drive to downtown Livingston for some shopping, sightseeing and bar investigation…with one brief stop at the famous Paradise Valley Pop Stand for the renowned huckleberry ice cream…YUM!  Livingston is a very cute town, and when roaming the streets, you feel as if you have gone back in time about 50 years.  We make purchases at Wild West Clothing and the Livingston Merchantile (, and then stop at The Office Lounge & Liquor Store for a drink.  After their power goes out, we re-locate to The Sport, where owner Chuck Tanner has just re-modeled this great local hangout.  We once again re-locate to the Hiatt House for a sneek peek at the band playing there all weekend, The Max.  After the band takes a few of our requests so we can sport our moves, we order a pizza at the bar, eat it in five minutes and head home completely exhausted after a grand Girls Night Out.

Our Thursday begins with pilates on the porch, a great way to wake us up and take in the beautiful scenery.  After homemade waffles for breakfast, we drive to downtown Livingston to meet the Yellow Bus for a tour of the town.  We learn a lot about the history and the role Sacajewea and the Lewis and Clark Expedition played in developing Livingston, as well as the role the town plays as the “gateway to Yellowstone.”  It is interesting to note that Livingston had a Red Light District area that was “operating” until 1948, and residential lots originally sold here for $25. Thank you Jack and Vern for an excellent tour.

After the tour, we get settled in for the big Round Up Parade, which celebrates the beginning of the Livingston Rodeo, which is held every Fourth of July weekend. Ted Turner serves as the Grand Marshall and rides a dappled gray horse through the streets of Livingston…right in front of us. The parade is entertaining and full of celeb sightings.  Margot Kidder (of Superman fame) rides a bicycle dressed as the Statue of Liberty (she is a resident here).  We also see Greg Germann (Ally McBeal) and Missy Pyle (Dodgeball) who takes photos with us.  The parade is also full of bag pipe bands, outfitters, and local celebrities dressed for the parade theme “Like A Rhinestone Cowboy.”  Once the parade ends, we drive back to Flatpenny Inn for some R&R.

After some downtime, I go for an ATV ride up the mountain where I encounter deer and a grouse. Then it’s time for Lisa’s special dinner of make-your-own pizza, which Tatiana says reminds her of  Italian quesadillas.  We love the pear, tomato and provolone cheese…yum!  And just when we think we can’t eat anymore, the campfire lights up and the ingredients for smores are passed around the campfire.

We wake up Friday morning to a cool breeze and warm sun shining on us.  We do a quick run/walk down and then up the mountain and return to the Flatpenny Inn for some pushups overlooking the Absaroka Mountains of Southwest Montana.  After our workout, we drive to Bozeman for some more shopping and massages at Summit Chiropractic & Massage.  Many thanks to Alicia for working the kinks out and massaging our sore “front calves.”  My favorite store, Ruby Slippers (117 E. Main Street), featured some super cute shoes, jewelry and clothing items. With our bodies totally relaxed, we drive back to Flatpenny for a late lunch and to rest up for the evening’s rodeo festivities.

We all have fun getting “gussied” up for the rodeo.  After some group photos, we drive to town to see some of the world’s best cowboys and cowgirls strut their stuff in Livingston.  We watch cowboys get bucked off horses and bulls, which proves to be fully entertaining for the two-hour show.  Tatiana and I were thrilled to find some “Rodeo Wine” served in Pabst Blue Ribbon cups…gotta love it!  At 10 p.m., they turn off the arena lights and start the fireworks show.  After the fireworks, we hit the Livingston nightlife with a stop at the Hiatt House (to listen to our friends “The Max” play).  Many thanks to The Max for re-naming “Mustang Sally” to “Mustang Casey.”  You guys are the best!

Grab a paddle and let’s row!

We are all very excited about today’s All-American rafting trip down the Yellowstone River.  What a way to celebrate the Fourth of July!  We arrive at Rubber Ducky River Rentals to pick up our large blue raft, paddles and life jackets.  With the raft loaded, we’re ready to hit the rapids. We unload our equipment, get a quick rowing lesson from our guide Jeff and are on our way.  It’s a gorgeous day with the sun shining!  During our trip, we see a lot of wildlife such as deer, Canadian geese and white pelicans.  We stop for a picnic lunch and to collect colored stones.  As soon as we get back in the raft, it seems that the weather has changed.  After a few small rapids (large enough for some of us to get wet), we start to realize how cold we are.  “How much further, Jeff?” we ask.  “About two hours,” he replies.  As we sing songs (or at least parts of them) and play a very long game of “I’m going on a picnic” we forget how cold we are.  We’re very excited to see Carter’s Bridge, and we quickly land the raft and look forward to getting home for some hot showers.

After some hot (and not-so-hot showers), we go to a neighbor’s house for a great BBQ cookout to celebrate the Fourth of July. Angela and Bruce are amazing hosts, and Bruce keeps bringing more and more food to us. I thought I was going to explode!  It is a wonderful way to end our fabulous Girls Getaway to Montana.  We leave very full and ready to pack our things and prepare for our early morning flights home.

We are all sad to leave the comforts of the Flatpenny Inn, and reminisce about our great time here.  Lisa asks us all to sign the “Guest Log” that is really a log.  I write: “The Getaway Girl® will never forget this fabulous Girls Getaway to Montana at Flatpenny Inn.  Thank you for your hospitality, generosity and inspiration as you help women ‘Leave Your Baggage at Home™.’”

[For more information about the Flatpenny Inn, visit For more information about travel to Livingston, Montana, visit]

Casey Wohl, The Getaway Girl™, is the author of the Girls Getaway Guide travel book series. Her third book, the Girls Getaway Guide to Nashville: Leave Your Baggage at Home™ is in the works.  For more information, visit

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.