• The Crown of the Continent Festival takes place in late July each year in Bigfork. Photo by Jessica Lowry

    Music across Montana: Bigfork’s guitar heaven, Missoula’s devotion to its symphony

    We featured more than a couple of very musically-minded Montanans in our latest issue, as writer Jessica Lowry introduced us to the founder of the Crown of the Continent Guitar Festival and the people behind all the successes at the Missoula Symphony.

    Both produce sweet, sweet music, and have pretty sweet stories about how they’ve helped music thrive.

    Festival founder, David Feffer, for example, has convinced dozens of the world’s best guitar players to come to Bigfork each year for a week of instruction and concerts. It’s not only introduced the Flathead Valley to great guitar music, it’s caused some of the guitar greats to fall in love with Montana.

    See a video from the 2014 fest here.

    Missoula Symphony music director Darko Butorac. Photo by Jessica Lowry

    Missoula Symphony music director Darko Butorac. Photo by Jessica Lowry

    In Missoula, Lowry introduces us to Virginia Vinal, who has played the violin in the Missoula Symphony since it was founded in 1955. That’s 60 years.

    It’s people like Vinal, Lowry tells us, who have helped the symphony grow into a thriving organization that often plays to sold out crowds.

    Like I said, it’s a pair of sweet stories. Check out all our preview content here. And if you like what you read, here’s how you can subscribe.



  • Whitefish becoming a high-tech homebase

    Whitefish is home to a growing number of tech-based businesses. Photo by Jessica Lowry

    Whitefish is home to a growing number of tech-based businesses. Photo by Jessica Lowry

    Small town perks – in this  case a bundle of great scenery and outdoor places to play – have turned Whitefish into a kind of high-tech hub.

    Businesses owners are falling in love with the northwestern Montana town and moving their operations there. Many are in the high-tech sector, including Hammer Nutrition and The ZaneRay Group.

    Jessica Lowry wrote the High-Tech Homebase story for our Sept/OCt issue and asked the business people what’s so alluring about doing business in Whitefish.

    It’s 8:30 a.m. on a sunny Wednesday Montana summer morning as Henry Roberts, 40, grabs his 1971 Raleigh Competition bike for his morning commute. Clad in a green plaid shirt and blue Patagonia hat, Roberts glides by rows of quaint homes that line the streets of Whitefish.

    The resort town, once known mostly for ski bums and a close proximity to Glacier National Park, is starting to turn heads for a new reason: a growing tech industry.

    Roberts, who works as vice president of creative for The ZaneRay Group, answers to clients like Filson and Patagonia.

    “Our foundation was about having a great real world job but living in Whitefish, Montana,” Roberts said.

    He cites a short commute both to work and recreation, winter hockey league and fresh powder at Whitefish Mountain Resort among the amenities that made him fall in love with the tiny mountain town.

    Like what you’re reading? Want more Montana Magazine? Subscribe today. It makes a great holiday gift…


  • A Kalispell Kreamery dairy cow. Photo by Jessica Lowry

    ‘Cow bill of rights’ guides dairy farm in Flathead

    The Hedstrom family have got it right.

    They run the only surviving dairy in the Flathead Valley and as they told writer and photographer Jessica Lowry, their mission is to produce great dairy products using very happy cows.

    Lowry featured the family in a story for the March/April issue. The Kalispell Kreamery makes a range of products and is slowly expanding its reach as people discover the quality of it products.

    Did I mention they take great care of the their cows?

    Here’s the cow “Bill of Rights” the Kalispell Kreamery lives by:

    Cows are the reason for the business. We sell the milk so we can keep the cows.

    Hedstrom dairy believes in the humane care of their cows and realizes that in order to get the highest quality production and longevity from its prized milk cows they must be treated with a high level of respect and as a partner in the operation. We believe in and have instituted the following “Bill of Rights” on our place.

    • Animals should have the freedom from thirst at all times.
    • Animals should have freedom from injury and disease.
    • Animals should have freedom from hunger at all times.
    • Animals should have freedom from unnecessary fear and distress
    • Animals should have freedom to express a majority of their normal behavioral repertoire.
    • Animals should have room to move around freely.

    Here’s a list of Kalispell Kreamery retailers.

    – Jenna

  • Last Farm Standing: Kalispell Kreamery

    Story and photos by Jessica Lowry

    For 35 years – no matter the late nights, the sideways-blowing snow or the hard bite of winter mornings – the Hedstrom Dairy cows have known exactly what shapes would darken the barn’s pre-dawn doorway just as certain as they could expect the sun to rise over the Swan Mountains looming to the east.

    Mornings start early on the farm. Cows don’t care if you were up late into the night or have other things to do. They need to be milked.

    Bill and Marilyn Hedstrom have spent the past 35 years keeping their cows happy around the clock.
    After three and a half decades and in a valley where tourism and traffic to Glacier National Park drive a significant segment of the economy, Kalispell Kreamery and Hedstrom Dairy is the last Flathead dairy farm in operation.
    After falling in love with the family’s first cow in 1978, the Hedstrom’s opened a dairy. What started as a five acre operation in Happy Valley has grown into an 80-acre farm in West Valley.

    To read the entire feature on the Kalispell Kreamery, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more about Montana all year, subscribe now.