This Luxury Montana Resort Has Cattle Drives, ATV Rides, and Multicourse Tasting Menus

It was practically midnight as we wound along a back road, moonlight flickering on the Blackfoot River and the mountains silhouetted versus the radiance. For a moment, the peaks gave way to plains and Big Sky Country revealed itself, then it was back into a dense forest till the pines parted and we brought up to the green o, an adults-only high-end retreat in Montana.
There is a particular sort of vacation wherein the pleasure lies not simply in the over-the-top luxury of the experience, but in just how dramatically that experience contrasts with the environments. A stylish multicourse meal in a high-rise city hotel feels indulgent; serve that same meal in the backcountry and it ends up being downright miraculous. Therein lies the magic of the green o, a high-style station set on a wooded parcel within the 37,000-acre grounds of the Resort at Paws Up, just under an hour’s drive from Missoula.

Paws Up has actually gone far for itself as a complete retreat that’s family-friendly yet high-end; the green o cranks up the level of extravagance by numerous notches, accommodating couples searching for a romantic escape and anybody who desires all the activities of the all-inclusive with a more refined environment. The property’s 12 standalone houses are scattered along a wooded hillside surrounding Social Haus, the green o’s bar, restaurant, and main event space.
Each of the four unique suite layouts has an unique selling point: Tree Haus, real to its name, rests on stilts gazing over the treeline; Green Haus has a living roofing that doubles as a deck and a skylight above the bed for stargazing; Light Haus features an alcove of floor-to-ceiling windows on 3 walls; and Round Haus’s curvilinear, window-filled design offers visitors that immersed-in-nature feel. All come with a lot of dreamy amenities: an outdoor jacuzzi, numerous fireplaces, a patio swing, and an enormous freestanding soaking tub.

On the first early morning of my stay at the green o, I consumed coffee on the deck swing of my Round Haus in a fluffy robe, seeing flames flicker in the fireplace and listening to the calls of a pine siskin in the trees overhead, and felt certain that there was perhaps no better way to begin a day than this.
Exterior of a tree haus at The Green O
That was before I ‘d ventured to Social Haus for breakfast. Due to the fact that on top of the high-design houses and romantic setting and lineup of Paws Up-hosted activities, the green o also occurs to offer among the most amazing hotel dining experiences throughout the U.S. If you were to go to the resort and do nothing other than sit in your space and consume at Social Haus 3 times a day, you would still leave awed– it’s that good.
The cooking program is the brainchild of executive chef Brandon Cunningham, a veteran of the Portland, Oregon restaurant scene and of Paws Up, in addition to James Beard Award-nominated pastry chef Krystle Swenson, previously of Crawford & Son in Raleigh, NC. Breakfast that first morning– a small ricotta beignet to begin, dusted with dried raspberry powder and dunked in rainier cherry sauce, followed by a whipped omelet stuffed with foraged mushrooms for me and a cool rectangular shape of pain perdu with shards of peanut toffee and a drizzle of maple-miso syrup for my husband, along with crispy smashed potatoes stacked atop a swipe of guajillo romesco– was only the beginning.
The genuine emphasize is dinner, when Cunningham and his team present an excessive multicourse tasting menu. It’s worth making space in your schedule and your stomach to get here early and sample the bar snacks, largely elevated variations of lowbrow favorites, like a chips-and-dip riff including house-made sour cream and onion chips with crème fraîche and a dollop of Montana whitefish caviar.

The green o’s culinary approach defies categorization but is something similar to Western forest food, with largely regional, frequently foraged ingredients and a lot of live-fire cooking. Cunningham’s dishes seem to speak to the setting– Montana, yes, however even Social Haus itself. The structure’s walls of windows look out on the pine groves, and the dining room is oriented around a central fireplace, making the forest-meets-hearth influence feel particularly apropos.
Dinner that first night was a dizzying eleven courses, all delicately intricate without feeling picky, joined by a sense of playfulness and a gratitude for the season. The green o team often toys with several riffs on a single component: one white asparagus dish included the vegetable prepared three ways, plus a hollandaise laced with maitake-mushroom-infused local honey and slivers of candied maitakes on top. And even the supporting characters of each dish made an impression.

I am still thinking about a single cabbage leaf, braised in smoked beef tallow and charred around the edges, so meltingly delicious that I’ll never once again make coleslaw without feeling like I’m misusing the brassica’s potential– and that was merely the cloak atop a slice of roast pork coppa. Throughout all of it, woodland ingredients were ever present, whether as a centerpiece (a single morel roasted and served with onion jus as an amuse bouche) or garnish (a confetti of wild rose petals to accent a spring-pea dish).
Naturally, there are things to do besides consume, if you are the type of requiring tourist who does not consider a great meal to be adequate home entertainment for the day. The green o functions as a standalone property, it’s only a short drive in your Lexus– every guest gets one for the duration of their stay– to the Wilderness Outpost, the departure point for many Paws Up activities.

Our first morning, we joined a roving gang of ATVs for a dusty spin through the pastures and as much as Lookout Rock, where we hopped off our rides and scaled the stone peak to discover the Blackfoot River and the foothills of the Garnet Range unfurled listed below us, a limitless area of plains and pine-forested mountains and sky, so much sky. Later that day, we rafted down that snaking Green River on a fly-fishing exploration and captured many trout it started to feel like overkill. On our final afternoon, we joined another family for the Paws Up cattle drive, riding out into the hills to find the herd, then shepherding the cows through the sage-dotted scrublands as they lowed problems and stopped to graze certainly.

That evening, as we beinged in Social Haus for another magical meal, a male wandered through the dining room with an acoustic guitar in hand, singing mild lilting tunes that sounded familiar. We struck up a conversation between songs and I discovered why: it was Joey Burns of indie rock band Calexico, who had actually been invited by a buddy on personnel to bet the night. Naturally.

We lingered long previous our last course– Swenson’s chocolate ganache bar with matcha white chocolate, served with a scoop of spruce-infused mint ice cream– and let the music wash over us. It felt utterly surreal, this meal in this location with this soundtrack, an immersive art experience of sorts while the wilderness pushed in around us.
When we finally went back outside, the setting sun was setting the clouds aflame, a wash of pink and orange beneath the blue. My hubby, usually an introvert with a cynical streak, turned on his heel, moved by the beauty of nature into a minute of earnest sociability. “You’ve got ta appearance outside,” he informed a group collected by the bar, “the clouds are like brushstrokes!”

We all stood there on the actions for a moment and enjoyed the light fade over the spires of Douglas firs and Ponderosa pines. A downy woodpecker called someplace overhead, and I felt certain there was no better method to end a day than this.

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