If you want to go to Polebridge, Montana be prepared for a ride down a long dusty (or muddy if it has rained) road. The road was filled with ruts and potholes but we made it. My friend, Beth, had suggested we stop off in Polebridge for a bit of adventure. She knows us well. She knows we like the off the beaten path type of adventures.
Polebridge is an unincorporated community in Flathead County. It is named for the log bridge that formerly connected the “inner” North Fork Road in Glacier National Park to the “outer” North Fork Road. It is also very close to the US / Canadian border. Signs informed us that there was no crossing point into Canada down the road we were traveling so I am assuming they keep that area closed off and don’t really monitor it but we did not drive farther to see. Our goal was the Polebridge Mercantile. I had bear claws on my mind.
We arrived at the Polebridge Mercantile and it looked exactly like the pictures I had seen on their website and Facebook page. A picture perfect storefront framed the original building as we approached.
According to their website:
William L. “Bill” Adair built the Merc back in 1914, just four years after Glacier Park became a park. He fished, using only one fly (the Coachman), and drank and grew king-sized cabbages while his wife (and later, after she died, a second wife) ran the store and lived in their homestead cabin, which is now the Northern Lights Saloon.
To read more of the interesting history of this place just click here. It is worth a read to get a feel for the place.
Yes, there are 4 cabins that you can rent while you explore the area. They are rustic with no running water. Rates begin at $89 a night.
We went inside the building and were treated with all of the sights and smells that the old building and bakery had to offer. Shelves were stocked with items that travelers might need. Necessities and more overflowed from the many shelves.
There was plenty of Polebridge Mercantile branded merchandise available for customers and as we looked through the store we found some postcards and travel mugs that fit our needs.
It seemed like every inch of this old building was filled to the rafters with merchandise and antiques. My eyes caught sight of some old typewriters that were hanging out on a beam high above the normal sightline.
There was even a little used book corner where folks could find some pretty interesting selections that might enhance their travels or their stay while in the Polebridge area.But the bear claws were what we were after.Along with a cup of coffee each we shared one of these delicious huckleberry bear claws that was bigger than my hand. It was a lovely combination of slightly tart yet sweet huckleberries wrapped in a doughy sweet pastry. Ah….perfection.Before we left the area we walked around the outside of the building and noticed some cabins . There was a lot of activity behind the mercantile and it appeared that there was some building going on. There is no cell service in Polebridge . They are “off the grid” but do have solar panels and a diesel generator power. They joke that the wildlife outnumbers the humans in Polebridge although we actually saw more humans than wildlife when we were there.
As we walked around outside we availed ourselves to the use of the outhouse for the true Polebridge experience. The decor inside was eclectic ….or something. But honestly it was one of the best outhouses I visited during our trip this time. So there is that.As we walked around a bit outside I noticed a little box and walked over to investigate. While it did not bear the official Little Free Library sign it was their own version and a cute one at that.You know how much I love these little libraries, right? Perfect spot for the perfect little library.
Sometimes the best places are off the beaten path. Polebridge was definitely one of those places and we were happy we took that dirt road to discover what others may not discover.
If you are ever in the area I would recommend you stop for a bear claw or other pastry. Just make sure to check out their hours and road conditions before you go as sometimes the road is closed. To connect with the Polebridge Mercantile make sure you check out their social media pages below. You can even do your shopping online without visiting but I would definitley recommend a visit .