To understand why anyone would move to rural Montana is to admit that cities – even beautiful cities – have their annoyances: traffic, noise, crowds, pollution and not enough sky. This is probably why big deal celebrities with budgets to match have been decamping to Montana locales with evocative names such as Whitefish, Big Sky and Bigfork.
Eating bison burgers is not mandatory, but you can if you want. Nor are majestic skiing, spectacular fly-fishing, hiking, biking and breathing the subtle scent of pine air required pastimes.
But those are at least part of what a newly available $3-million waterfront home on the Swan River in northwest Montana has to offer. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom retreat offers spellbinding nature infused with a psychological remoteness yet is only minutes from the village of Bigfork, fine dining, shopping and the Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts. The Swan River feeds into Flathead Lake, which is known for boating. Glacier National Park – one of the natural wonders of the continental United States – is nearby, as is the celeb-friendly town of Whitefish.
Built in 2019 and designed by Los Angeles architect James Troy Dixon, the Bigfork property is a sleek 2,370-square-foot contemporary said to have been inspired by a Scandinavian ski lodge. Scandinavian restraint is reflected in the many natural wood surfaces, slate flooring and vaulted, angular ceilings with floor-to-ceiling windows that face the river.
The modern, open kitchen has all the necessary luxury appliances and connects to a dining area. A cozy living room and the bedrooms are positioned to catch scenes of the river and the forest beyond. The home, in fact, is surrounded by massive old-growth trees backed by the Swan Mountain Range, which is part of the Rocky Mountains.
“Fish and float from the backyard, or simply lounge on the covered patio while listening to the soothing sounds of the babbling river,” says the listing. Or hop in the car and explore.
Montana is not just about nature and serenity. There is real Old West history here, although not the outlaw Old West of Billy the Kid and Jesse James. Lewis and Clark, followed by fur trappers and traders, were once part of the land. And the Battle of Little Bighorn – a win for Sitting Bull that U.S. military fury later turned into a loss – took place in southeast Montana. Yet somehow, most of the state has escaped fighting and over development.
Despite the remote setting, this Bigfork home is easy to reach. Glacier Park International Airport is a 35-minute drive away; Missoula Montana Airport is 80 miles to the southeast.