Wonderful Water Features

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What if that crystalline, inviting pond or stream were mere moments away? Take a look at these appealing properties, all of which feature water:

42 Cottonwood Lane, Ennis, Montana
This property is a water-lover’s paradise. Not just one but two different creeks flow through the eight-acre homestead in the Jeffers area of Ennis, Montana: Jack Creek and Cooper Creek. In addition to the creeks, there are three ponds, as well as a luxurious hot tub gracefully integrated into the gorgeous outdoor landscaping. And, for a subtle, cooling dose of H2O on sultry summer days, there are misting systems on the pergola-shaded patio and covered front porch. Spend glorious Montana summers fishing and swimming in streams and ponds right on your very own property, or simply lounge on the covered outdoor porch that extends from the master suite over Cooper Creek, and watch the sun rise and set with the tinkling sound of flowing water as your soundtrack.

46700 Gallatin Road, Gallatin Gateway, Montana
Built by a renowned local developer, who enjoyed it as his personal residence, this stunning riverfront compound in Southwest Montana is a dream home for those who crave water. Situated right on the banks of the lively Gallatin River, the five-acre property features inviting decks on which to sit and enjoy the water, as well as a riverside beach. Fish to your heart’s content; the Gallatin is a sportsman’s or woman’s paradise. For other ways to satisfy your waterlust, there’s an indoor swimming pool, and the property is also home to two natural springs and a large pond.

1935 Beaver Creek Road, Big Sky, Montana
This wonderfully secluded, exclusive Big Sky hideaway is enhanced by the soothing, flowing presence of beautiful Beaver Creek, which meanders right through the property. Situated in a gated area just 12 miles north of Yellowstone National Park, the three-bedroom, three-bath home is ideally situated in a wildlife corridor, providing incredible and inspiring proximity to animals who are drawn to the creek. For an even more intense water-related experience, the Gallatin River is located less than a mile down the road from this home, and is the perfect place for first-class fly fishing and white water rafting.

8332, 8440 American Bar Road, Helena, Montana
A boater’s heaven on earth, this nearly nine-acre Helena homestead is right on the banks of the musical Missouri River. The four-bedroom home boasts big clerestory windows on second story, allowing for unparalleled views of the water, wildlife, mountains, and the lush Lewis and Clark National Forest that surrounds the property. There’s a private boat dock, and the entrance to the gorgeous Gates of the Mountains is mere minutes away. In addition to access via road, you can also access this unique property via Holter Lake.

1120 Lone Mountain Trail, Big Sky, Montana
Fish off the expansive deck of this luxuriously rustic three-bedroom cabin, which has the middle fork of the Gallatin River running right outside its front door. Charm oozes from every corner of this completely remodeled riverside refuge. The three-bedroom home features exposed interior log beams, porcelain tile floors, a glass-walled steam shower, custom hickory cabinets, and many other highlights. Make this your vacation hideaway or your year-round home sweet home; either way, the river will lend its extraordinary beauty to every moment.

On the Lookout: Wildlife in Big Sky

blog_wildlifeOne of the most awe-inspiring aspects of living in Big Sky, Montana is the abundance of wildlife, which is due in part to its proximity to Yellowstone National Park, a haven for all kinds of creatures great and small. Few other places in the world boast such a varied menagerie of wild animals, many of which are right at home in the back- and front yards of Big Sky resident homes.

Whether they sport fur, feathers, or fins, the wild animals in and around Big Sky appreciate having a habitat where their natural behaviors are not only respected, but—to the delight of their human neighbors—easy to observe. Here are some tips for safely spotting a variety of wildlife in Big Sky:

What to Look For
Moose, elk, deer, birds of prey like hawks, owls, and eagles, an abundance of smaller, colorful bird species, bears, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, trumpeter swans, antelope, wolves, ermines, muskrats…the list of wild animals to see in Big Sky is pretty comprehensive! Keep your eyes and ears open, and you’ll be amazed by the variety of creatures in your midst.

When to Look
A general rule of thumb is to watch for animals when they are most active. For many animals, this means dawn and dusk, so try to get up early and stay out into the evening hours if you want to spot them. Certain times of year are also better for watching animals than others; for example, fall is prime bird migration time, and a great period during which to look for amazing birds under the Big Sky.

What to Bring
Consider hiring a field guide to bring along with you, as he or she will have expert knowledge of when and where to go on a wildlife sightseeing trip, as well as what you can expect to see—all of which depend in part on the time of year. Whether you bring a field guide or not, do make sure to bring a spotting scope or binoculars to help you observe animals from a safe distance, and a map to ensure you don’t get lost. Adequate sun protection, snacks, and water should also go in your pack.

Tread Lightly and Leave No Trace
Never approach a wild animal. Always keep a safe distance and observe quietly. This is not only for your safety but for the well-being of the animal as well; after all, you don’t want to cause an animal to feel fear or stress when he or she is merely trying to go about their usual business. Never try to feed a wild animal or leave food for it. Stay on designated roads or trails, observe area closures, and stay away from nests. Doing all of these things will ensure that there will continue to be wildlife in Big Sky for many years to come.

Big Sky Roundup: Horseback Riding Outfitters

blog_horseBig Sky Roundup: Horseback Riding Outfitters

What better way to experience the rustic magic of Montana than from the back of a trusty steed?

On horseback, you can move at just the right pace over verdant, flower-dotted prairies or through dense, pine-scented forests. You can travel not so fast that you miss the little visual and auditory delights of a crystal-blue river or creek, but not so slow that you’re late for a classic cowboy-style dinner back at the ranch.

A horseback ride is truly the ideal way to soak in the scenery, and in the Big Sky area, it can be tailored to satisfy your needs. It can be punctuated with a spell of fly-fishing in some world-class blue ribbon trout fishing waters, or with a lunchtime picnic high up on a grassy wildflower-filled plateau. No doubt, the experienced cowboys or cowgirls at these Big Sky area horseback-riding outfitters can guide you through the equine adventure of your dreams.

Here are some of the Big Sky area’s outfitters:

Jake’s Horses & Outfitters provides guided trail rides year-round, in snow or sunshine, and the options range from a simple hour-long ride to an elaborate pack trip in Yellowstone National Park. Some rides are geared toward those who want to stop and fish a mountain lake or hunt big game; others are tailored to water lovers and include horses that will pack tubes. http://www.jakeshorses.com

Cedar Mountain Corrals offers horseback rides in scenic Moonlight Basin, as well as fun hayrides and rides in a private, old-fashioned, Wild West-style stagecoach pulled by draft horses. Their special dinner rides culminate in a mouthwatering, evening cowboy cookout, where steak, corn on the cob, baked beans, and other delectables are enjoyed in the great outdoors. www.bigskyhorseback.com

Cache Creek Outfitters are experts in combining horseback riding and fishing excursions. In addition to trail rides and pack trips, they offer horseback fly-fishing/floating trips that bring riders to pristine mountain lakes and streams. Here, guests can fish, float, and enjoy a tasty lunch. Sleigh rides and cowboy cookouts are also available. www.cachecreekoutfitters.com

Canyon Adventures provides guided horseback trail rides throughout the spring and summer, ranging from one to three hours. Rides can also be combined with floating/rafting trips. Most unique amongst their offerings is the Horseback-Photography ride, which is designed specifically for those who want to stop and capture beautiful images of the scenery during the ride. www.montanacanyonadventures.com

320 Guest Ranch and Lone Mountain Ranch also include horseback rides among their offerings, and you don’t have to be a guest at either of the ranches to use their outfitting services. Check out their websites for more info: www.320ranch.com/ or www.lonemountainranch.com.

Sotheby’s Featured Realtor: Tallie Lancey, Broker

blog_featuredbrokerOriginally a self-described “Classic Midwestern Suburbanite” from Cincinnati, Ohio, Tallie came out West in 2005 on a whim, taking an internship in Island Park, Idaho with The Nature Conservancy. She didn’t know a single person and lived in a Forest Service cabin with an outhouse. “I didn’t know anything about bears, skiing, fly-fishing, or much of anything else,” she recalls. “But I didn’t really care about the circumstances; I had a Young Girl Go West moment, and I went with it.” But she did know that she loved the mountains, and after finding a home and a husband in Big Sky, Montana, along with a career in real estate with Sotheby’s, she’s here to stay.

How did you end up making Big Sky home?

For starters, I went to college in Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley. Being there in the oldest mountains in the world [from a geological standpoint], I just fell in love with the outdoors. I did a study abroad program in New Zealand, followed by the Island Park internship. By the time that concluded, I had to find a way to stay in the mountains, and I heard about Big Sky from a friend. I found work and learned how to ski.

What do you love most about Big Sky life?

I love the ‘can do’ attitude and ambition of the people who make Big Sky successful. Also, we are about the same age, Big Sky and I. It’s like we are growing up together; we’re living in a bildungsroman. It’s still so new, young, and fresh, and Big Sky is going through the same growing pains that I do. I deeply relate to the process that Big Sky is experiencing.

How would you describe that process?

There are a lot of services and organizations that simply don’t exist yet or are just getting started, so it’s invigorating to watch our community grow. For instance, our first high school was just funded and built four years ago. I had the opportunity substitute teach some of its first classes and students. I’ve been able to work on a new performing arts center [Warren Miller Performing Arts Center] and Classical Music Festival. Developing streams of funding for those projects is fun for me. We’re not reinventing the wheel, but we get to decide which sets of wheels will carry us forward. Big Sky’s future is unfolding right now; it still feels like a frontier in that way.

How did you get into real estate?

I started out, like many people, with typical hospitality jobs. But I quickly learned that real estate agents in the area had dynamic careers. I got licensed, and then watched the economy crash. Being a commission-only salesperson motivated me. I realized my success or failure was a direct result of my own effort. I had to figure out how to use my youth to my advantage. Though I was the new kid on the block, slowly but surely that determination paid off.

What sets you apart from other realtors?

I focus on embracing new technologies and flawless marketing. These areas seemed like it was other agents’ weaknesses but came to me naturally. That’s how I differentiate myself.

Why are you passionate about working for Sotheby’s?

What I like about Sotheby’s the most is its worldwide reputation for high quality. No one else in town can compare with the Sotheby’s brand recognition and networking reach. Sotheby’s has connections to marketing outlets that other people just don’t have. I have the Elk Peaks Ranch for sale right now and was able to get a story written about it in the Wall Street Journal. Getting that exposure is amazing.

What’s exciting about the Big Sky Market right now?

Elk Peaks Ranch and a lot of other properties in the area are places that have been developed and perfected over the last 10 years, but haven’t been on the market. People have built some pretty amazing homes in and around Big Sky, and now they are coming up for sale.

On the other end of the spectrum, I’m intrigued by the housing shortage. As in many resort markets, there isn’t enough housing for our work force, so a lot of people are forced to commute. While I think it’s a major problem, it’s heartening that so many people in the community are working together on a solution.

Any tips for buyers and sellers right now?

The message I wish all buyers could receive is to work with a representative. There are great buyer’s agents out there. Poking around online is a really ineffective way to shop for real estate. Find someone you trust and like working with and let them work for you. It doesn’t cost you anything!

Also, I would say, when possible, make energy efficient choices. It’s cold up here. If you’re thinking about selling your home, make energy efficient upgrades. As a buyer think about how expensive a home will be to heat.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Most of my free time goes towards volunteering for the Arts Council of Big Sky. I really enjoy being involved in the non-profit side of Big Sky. I find the work rewarding, and I get to meet a ton of people. Beyond that, I trail run, downhill ski, and mountain bike. I’m training for the RUT 50K this fall. I just ran 22 miles over the weekend!