Roundup: Beautiful Barns

barnroundupBarns add character, indoor living or storage space, and value to properties all over the U.S. Though traditionally used to keep animals warm, safe, and secure through the seasons, barns have been celebrated for their potential and diversity in contemporary times, morphing into sleek storage spaces for all manner of toys and recreational vehicles, into country-flavored ball rooms and event spaces, or even into roomy guest houses with a luxe-rustic charm. Whatever you plan to do with it, if you’re in search of a barn to go with your future home, take a look at these terrific options:

298 Ridge Fork Road – Big Sky, Montana

The barn at this gorgeous Montana estate features four stalls, each with its own runout—perfect for a horse lover who appreciates fine details. There’s a separate shower bay with an adjacent commercial-grade washer and dryer for keeping blankets and other supplies clean. Also on the barn’s lower level is ample space for hay storage and a three-car plus RV garage. To top it all off, the second floor of the barn is a luxurious guesthouse offering incomparable views. The main residence is a six-bedroom, five-bath wonder with an open, light-filled floor plan, massive stone fireplace, and a warm sunroom off the kitchen.

130 Sweetgrass St. – Augustine, Florida

McCumber Farm is a gorgeous equestrian ranch on 19 lush acres. Horses and the people who love them will be happy on this well-appointed spread, which features three separate custom-built homes as well as an additional guest house. The homes are light, open, and impeccably finished. With a four-stall stable, five green pastures, fenced riding arenas, two ponds, and many stately old trees, this property boasts every element of an equestrian’s dream—all in the wonderfully warm climate of St. Augustine.

176-acre Equestrian Facility – Aledo, TX

This world-class horse training facility is located just a short drive from the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. The indoor riding arena is 300 feet by 140 feet in a building that includes a sound system, viewing areas, storage and bath. Just behind the indoor arena lies the fully lighted outdoor arena. The twenty-two stall main barn features amenities that make life a dream for humans and horses alike, boasting two wash stalls with in-floor and overhead radiant heat, a commercial scale laundry room, two stall bedding storage rooms and two feed storage rooms. The barn also features a large tack-up area and spacious tack room with an adjacent lighted porte-cochere that makes trailer loading a breeze. There is a fully equipped veterinarian exam area with stocks and ample medical supply storage. Pastures abound, 12 large pastures and 11 paddocks that are all fenced with five-rail steel pipe and have individual shelters. The manager and staff housing compliment the facilities and the beautiful Emery Young designed main residence sits high on a hill, nestled among numerous mature oaks.

Sotheby’s Featured Realtor – Julie Blakeley


Julie Blakeley came to Big Sky Sotheby’s more than 10 years ago with a great deal of sales experience under her belt. Right out of college, she was one of a very few women working in sales for Caterpillar, the construction machinery and equipment company. After stumbling upon and falling in love with Big Sky, she channeled her sales experience into the Big Sky tourism industry until finding a fit selling real estate with Sotheby’s.

How have some of your previous jobs led to sales success with Sotheby’s?

I worked for a Caterpillar dealership in Phoenix, Arizona, starting in marketing and then moving up to sales. At that time there were very few women in the sales department. I didn’t know anything about heavy machinery. I couldn’t even change the tire on my car when I started, and when I was done, I knew all about differential steering and torque converters! It was a great work experience, and I learned that I could sell anything that I truly believed in.

What brought you to Big Sky?

I had visited some friends from college in Big Sky, and I just loved it. I was interested in moving out of Phoenix, away from the big city and the heat, and thought I’d come play in Big Sky while I figured out my next move. After a 21-day Grand Canyon River trip with a group of Big Sky people, I came back knowing that I was never going to leave. I realized that I loved the freedom of the Big Sky lifestyle. Even when you have a steady job here, you can’t help but feel like you’re always on vacation at the same time.

How did you get to know the ins-and-outs of Big Sky so well? 

I worked in travel sales with Resort Quest in Big Sky, traveling and selling Big Sky as a destination. I had to know everything about the area and explain all of the activities, amenities, about the proximity to Yellowstone, and about the lifestyle to people from all walks of life.

Does this knowledge help with your real estate sales? 

It most definitely does. It’s made me really well rounded when it comes to client relations, and matching their interests to the right properties—their dream Montana properties.

Why were you passionate about working for Sotheby’s? 

It has a good reputation; it’s really well known and established. When people call a Sotheby’s office, they know what they’re getting into, and that there’s going to be a quality team here. I also like that we are not huge; we’re actually small for a reason. We all add something different to the team, and that works very well.

What’s your favorite thing about living in the Gallatin Valley? 

The month of July! I love summers in Montana. It’s not too hot, there’s no humidity, no bugs, it’s beautiful, and I love to golf. We have premier golf courses here, and I love morning and sunset tee times. There’s nothing like playing golf in the mountains.

What kind of tips would you offer buyers today?

If you’re serious about buying in Big Sky, the market is going to be moving a lot faster in the future, so I would find your spot very soon. Not only is the Biggest Skiing in America now all under one owner, but also every part of Big Sky is exploding. There’s a new brewery, hospital, grocery store. A few years from now going to be so different, so it’s a great time to buy while there’s still a lot of inventory.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? 

Hiking and golf are my favorite things to do in Big Sky. I also like skiing and camping with my family and friends.

Big Sky Summer Events


As the last of the snow melts away on Lone Peak and the beautiful Big Sky, Montana summer is nearly upon us, it’s time to get some of the area’s big summer events onto the calendar. Whether you are looking to experience Big Sky culture, the community, or simply explore the breathtaking landscape, here are a few musts to see and do this summer.

Cultural Experiences

Music in the Mountains: A free concert series hosted by the Arts Council of Big Sky and sponsored by a variety of local businesses. Every Thursday night a different band will take the Town Center Park stage. The first band of the season, on June 26, will be The Slide Brothers. Food and Beverage vendors will be present, and chances are that the only thing that will rival the music will be the views of the surrounding mountains. The concert series runs though August. For the full line-up see

Shakespeare in the Parks, As You Like It: If you are looking to add a little culture to your Big Sky experience, visit the Big Sky Town Center Park on July 1 at 6:00 pm for a classic Shakespeare performance put on by The Arts Council of Big Sky. The Montana State University’s Shakespeare in the Parks acting company will perform “As You Like It,” a pastoral comedy written in the early 1600s. Remember the phrase “too much of a good thing?” It originated from this script, and the play remains a favorite among audiences.

“Wine and Dine,” Big Sky’s Inaugural Festival of Wine, Food and Arts: Head up to Big Sky’s Mountain Village August 15-17 for an event that is designed to increase your knowledge and enjoyment of wine, food, and local art with exciting activities, seminars, demos, and tastings. The festival’s inaugural year will feature signature events, such as “Big Sky’s Mountain Village Stroll,” where guests can mingle and taste with master sommeliers, culinary professionals, and representatives from more than 20 wineries from around the world. For a detailed schedule visit

Community Events

The Big Sky Farmers’ Market: Celebrating its 6th season, the 2014 Big Sky Farmers’ Market will be held every Wednesday from 5-8 pm, July 9-September 3, at Fire Pit Park in the Big Sky Town Center. Over 90 vendors, featuring fresh produce, herbs, plants, flowers, baked goods, art, jewelry, clothing, and more. Additional food and beverage vendors will be on hand along with activities for the kids.

Big Sky Community Corporation Fourth of July Celebration: Come celebrate the 4th at the Big Sky Community Park. Food, drinks, dunk tanks, games, and more will be available from 8:30 am-7 pm. The fun goes all day starting with a 5k run, a kids’ fun run, and a softball game. The Big Sky Fourth of July Celebration capped off with a lively showcase of fireworks under the big sky. Adults: $10; 12 & under: $5; Family unlimited: $40.

Firecracker Open Golf Tournament: For golf enthusiasts, the Fourth of July can be spent on the beautiful Big Sky Golf Course for the Firecracker Open. Entry fee is $75 and the tournament starts at 10:00 a.m. For more info, see

9th Annual Brewfest: Come to Big Sky Resort for Beer, brats, brisket, and bands on July 11 & 12. On Friday night, the brewers will be on hand, providing insight into what makes Montana beer so delicious. On Saturday, from 3 to 10:00 p.m. at the Lone Peak Pavilion, over 70 beers from Montana, and other states will be available for tastings, along with live music from Roadkill Ghost Choir and Hollow Wood. Root beer and a bouncer house will be provided for the kids, making it a fun activity for the whole family. Admittance is $25 per person. Make sure to try a beer from Bozeman Brewing Co. and Big Sky Brewing!

Other Summer Activities

Big Moon Rising Music Festival: Celebrate the end of the summer, August 29-30, with a weekend full of music and family fun at Big Sky Resort. Lehrkinds presents two nights of outdoor music in the Mountain Village. Get down to the funky tunes of Andrew Gromiller and the Organically Grown, Dumpstaphunk, Keller Williams with More Than A Little, and The Family Stone under the evening big sky. Family friendly activities take over the plaza during the day on Saturday so bring the kids and make a weekend of it. For more info, see

Mountain Fest: Big Sky Mountainfest will be held at the Mountain Village in Big Sky on the Saturday of the Labor Day Weekend. Music, food, and merchants, along with a 5k Fun Run trail challenge.

The Rut: Get your race on with this challenging mountain run, featuring 12K and 50K races on September 13. For more info, see