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Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: Whitefish, Montana: Come Now!

July 11, 2011 by · 3 Comments 


Whitefish, Montana.  Even Hollywood stars love it, “discovering” it in the early ‘90’s, with most eventually  moving on to wilder pastures. Tom Cruise came to our front door at the family’s Whitefish lake house,  looking for Emilio Estevez’ place near by. Ask me how thrilled we were and how very cool we acted, like we didn’t know who he was or anything. I was the Queen of Casual.  Oh…that grin…I’m sure Tom was equally impressed with us. Whitefish, where Julia Roberts dumped Kiefer Sutherland three days before they were to marry, while Sutherland was building their home-to-be  in Whitefish. We sat next to Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick more than once at a local Whitefish café. Again, we exhausted ourselves projecting disdainful cool. Tons more famous people called Whitefish their second (or third, for fourth, or fifth) home back then, but I can’t remember the names…oh yea, something about Steve McQueen getting kicked out of town on his motorcycle a long, long time ago.

I tell you this about the stars so you know Whitefish has the “it” factor. Yup. It’s cool. Whitefish has an artsy, fun, athletic, real town vibe that’s magnetic. Not to mention that Glacier National Park is about 35 minutes away , a world class ski resort with summer and winter activities is about a two second drive from downtown, and the Whitefish Lake Golf Course with its casual, classy restaurant www.whitefishlakerestaurant, 36 holes and driving range keep locals and tourists more than enthralled . Long story short, if you can’t find something to do in or around Whitefish, there is officially something wrong with you.

But, I’d much rather tell you about the places and community institutions that become part of your DNA when you’ve lived, taught, and raised your kids in a small town for over 20 years; the places that keep Whitefish a real town, not just a tourist trap. Places I invite you to discover on your own. I confess to abundant biases regarding all of these places. I love Whitefish. I feign no objectivity in what I’m about to share:

  • I retired from teaching Spanish and Montana History at Whitefish Middle School two years ago. I’ve taught in a few junior highs and middle schools. There simply is no better school than Whitefish Middle School, grades 5-8. Write to me if you want to know why. I’ll give you scoop. It may just be the best school on the planet.
  • If you are looking for a wonderful, upbeat, positive church that will welcome you and make you glad you came, Christ Lutheran Church in Whitefish is it (although I’ve visited most of the local churches, and there’s  nary a “bad” one among them). You’ll find inspiring praise music that makes you want to dance, gifted pastors (they don’t know the meaning of  “boring”), a group of people who welcome all, and the presence of God. I’ll tell you more about Christ Lutheran, too, if you ask.
  • And the Whitefish police? Love ‘em. They don’t suffer fools gladly here. So if you’re reading this and think you might qualify as “fool,” you may want to pick another town. However, iIf you’re law abiding, appreciate safety, security, and seeing the good guys prevail, this is your town. The police really do protect and serve Whitefish’s citizens and visitors. I have lots of stories to prove it.
  • Stumptown Art Studio? You have to go, even if you don’t see yourself as artsy. They’ll eek something creative out of you in spite of yourself. They’ll show you how to do glass fusing, ceramics, and mosaics. I’ve seen husbands dragged in there by their thumbs come out preening with some cool art. Stumptown Art Studio offers “Make and Take Mosaics” because they know visitors may be on a schedule.  Little kids, teens, and adults absolutely love the studio, and it’s right in the heart of downtown Whitefish. I had lots of birthday parties there for my two kids.

So here’s why I love Whitefish, in no particular order:

1. Whitefish Middle School

2. Buffalo Café

3. Coffee Traders

4. Stumptown Art Studio

5. Christ Lutheran Church

6. Post Office

7. Police department

8. Major league quality live theater and concerts

9. The downtown train depot www.stumptownhistoricalsociety (and yup…Amtrak  arrives in the heart of downtown )

10.  Whitefish RV Park: www.whitefishrvpark Unreal! I’m going to write about this idyllic RV park in the next blog. Truly, truly, an awesome place.

Whitefish, Montana. I’m thinking you and your family had better come up soon or you’ll be real sorry. I’m also thinking you may be the star someone writes about years from now.

Happy tales, and I hope to see you up here in Whitefish. I’ll be here through September. Summer in Whitefish, Montana’s Flathead Valley is incredible!





3 Responses to “Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: Whitefish, Montana: Come Now!”
  1. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy Patti,

    Tom Cruise hisself, hah?? You be COOOOL!!!!! Loved it 5* worth..

    Smooth roads, clear skies & balmy breezs !!!!!!!!!

  2. Patti Faustini says:

    Hi Butterbean…I know…is Tom good looking, or what? I think I heard your wife say there’s a resemblance between you and Tom, right?

    Happy Tales, Patti

  3. Brent Cole says:


    We fell in love with Whitefish on our recent travels to Montana… you mention in this post to email you and you’ll give examples of why the middle school is so great…. but I can’t find an email. Mine was included with this comment, can you email me?


    Brent Cole

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