The Nov. 6th Hungry Horse News’ story about the Izaak Walton Inn brought back memories. Whenever I visit the Inn I am taken back to a winter weekend in 1965 when 30 Methodist youth and two pastors from Columbia Falls, Whitefish, Kalispell, Bigfork, Lakeside and Libby climbed onto a rented Columbia Falls school bus and headed for Essex for a winter youth retreat.
In those days the Inn was mostly deserted. We were the only guests that weekend so had the place to ourselves, except for a railroad worker or two who occupied the top floor at night and were the reason for quiet time beginning at 10 p.m.
For supper we roasted wieners over the fire in the great fireplace in the lobby, and breakfast was served in the dining hall at a long table stretching the length of the room. Saturday was spent in the out of doors playing in the snow at the gravel pit, then back to the Inn to see just how many teenagers we could stuff into the phone booth. (That phone booth is still there but now just a relic of the past.) We spent the evening downstairs in the bar at our “coffee house” and had good fun playing board games, singing and breaking a pińata. It was a great time spent with good friends creating memories to last a lifetime.
The cost of the weekend? $5 each!