Human hearts tend to go where there is a recipe for fulfillment and if a multi-colored slice of community dolloped with a rainbow of recreation and sprinkled with some colorful culture isn’t the recipe for ‘Happiness Pie’ then I don’t know what is. But, what I do know is that this simple, irresistible recipe can produce a delightful town like Polson, MT.
Centrally located in the Flathead Indian Reservation and near an abundance of cherry orchards, the colorful town of Polson, is trilling with community and culture. The reservation, created through the Treaty of Hellgate nearly 160 years ago, became a forested home of majestic mountains and sweeping valley’s for the Salish and Kootenai tribes. This ‘tribal flavor’, after the Allotment Act passed in 1904 that brought white settlers to the area, was transformed into the multicultural flavor that Polson now has today.
Being folded into the very dough of Polson’s culture, the Native American element is easy to indulge in. When you visit the Polson-Flathead Historical Museum you will explore a glimpse of the Salish/Kootenai culture and history deep within the area’s core. In order to truly understand and feel the Native American Element, you will have to look beyond the artifacts of a museum, or the pages of a history book, and dance to life at an awe-inspiring Indian powwow, vibrant with authentic costumes, colors, songs, and dances.
But, it isn’t just the splash of rich Native American zest that makes Polson such a splendid place to live. The ever-flourishing cherry orchards, producing a volume average of 3-5 million pounds of cherries per year, provide the town with character and with a way for the community to come together each year.
The Main Street Cherry Festival, held in July, is one of the most anticipated community events in Polson – next to the Farmer’s Market, the Polson Bay Water Daze, and the annual Carnival. The Cherry Festival is dazzling with arts and crafts, and cherry-made goods from over 125 local vendors! Everyone has the opportunity to enjoy themselves during stem-tying, pit spitting, and pie eating contests – whether you’re a kid or think you still are.
In June, when you head down to the Polson Fairgrounds for the annual carnival you’ll find it exploding with talented, local, and live entertainment. Refuel with authentic barbeque eats and find your inner-kid with games galore, a horseback ride, a train ride, and a turn at the drinking booth!
During a hot August day, cool off with a splash in the Polson Bay at the Water Daze event. Support the community’s Mission Valley Aquatics in a one mile swim race through the crystal clear waters of Flathead Lake in the watch of the Mission Mountains.
Although Polson is flourishing with so many community-oriented events to splurge on, the activities don’t end with Indian powwows and fairground fun. Not only is this invigorating town located in a thriving Reservation but it also has a sweet spot in a natural amphitheater on the south shore of Flathead Lake surrounded by forests, plains, and mountains. Such a luxury bequeaths an abundance of outdoor, recreational opportunities for Polson’s residents.
Flathead Lake, being the largest natural freshwater lake West of The Mississippi, is a popular place in the summer. In Polson, the summertime beholds many enthusiasts for swimming, fishing, water-tubing, boating, sailing, water-skiing, and jet skiing. As a way to make these popular water sports accessible to the public, marinas and parks are scattered along the Lakes shores and allow Polson’s water-lovers to seize the day in the pristine waters of the Flathead.
The thousands of acres of National Forest supply a place to hike, ride horseback, camp, and more. Along with all the hiking and camping available in the summertime, the wintertime also brings an opportunity to recreate. Spend a day at Blacktail Mountain for a memorable day of Cross Country and Downhill Skiing, or Snowmobiling, with views to be treasured for a lifetime.
As it is with every other Northwestern Montana town, the touch of Montana’s splendid beauty is an undeniably enriching part of the Polson atmosphere. To get a ‘VIP glance’ at the essential part of Polson’s community, be sure to make a stop at the Kerr Dam. Located at the mouth of the Flathead River, on the Southern tip of Flathead Lake, this 240-foot edifice offers a spectacular sight of crystal blue waters mirroring the cotton-bountiful sky encased in rolling green hills from a height that transcends the Niagara Falls. Now, that is a sight to delight in!
Although there are countless ingredients that make Polson a treat to call home, it is precisely the delicate blend of community-involved activities, traditional culture, and year-round recreation that gives Polson an unforgettable taste of joy. Ultimately, regardless of whether you believe happiness can be found in a recipe or not, you cannot deny that a place seasoned in joy is a place you can comfortably hang your heart.