Brian and Kerry Bertsch
Brian and Kerry, who own the Lodges, both grew up in the Pacific Northwest. It is Kerry whose Montana connection began in deepest childhood, its remembered joy arising from her unforgettable summers on a beautiful ranch near Ovando. When she and Brian learned that a lakeside resort was for sale, the temptation was hard to resist, for by this time they'd discovered that they shared an unusual bond -- in Kerry's case a conviction of the value of such joy, in Brian's a reverent nostalgia for the golden summers he knew as a boy at a resort on Puget Sound. That the two of them felt driven to give to other people the sense of sheer wellbeing they'd once experienced themselves became the guiding spirit of the occupation they chose. It is their fondest hope that what you take away with you from the Lodges on Seeley Lake will rival such experience -- its playfulness, its comfort, its happiness, its peace.
Carol, our first native Montanan on the Lodges' developing staff, was integral to the founding of the resort you see today. Melding her own experience in the world of hospitality with the demands of a business in the process of creation, she has helped to fuel this creation in ways too numerous the mention. Whether it was painting walls, staining wood, chinking logs, answering phones, sewing logos, handling office work or simply treating the owners' family with signature generosity, her expenditure of effort on behalf of us all has always been utterly selfless. As emotionally available to those around her as she is physically helpful, she long ago came to personify for us the best human traits of Montanans. We thus feel no hesitation in claiming to all who will listen that the catalytic power of Carol's presence makes her one of the strongest pillars of the Lodges' continued success.
Having lived in the Black foot Valley for over 25 years, Vicki has built the reputation of a much-admired gourmet cook, caterer and event planner. In possession of a sterling list of satisfied clients, she has even attained that level of celebrity which makes one an object of envy. In addition to having started a popular local restaurant, she founded Seeley Lake's Farmers' Market, an endeavor that has not only made her professionally conversant with the region's ranchers, farmers and wine specialists but has enabled her to establish the necessary contacts for expertly planned events. Adept at achieving the ideal atmosphere for any-sized social gathering, she grasps the nuance that is needed to put every guest at ease. Confessing that the making of healthy, delicious and beautiful meals is both her passion and joy, she considers this skill an art, its success the very magic that makes it hard to forget.
Joining Vicki in her service to you is the multi-gifted Laura, whose combined baking experience in Washington State and Montana eminently qualifies her as a preparer of fine breads and baked desserts. Having completed a 7-year apprenticeship with the West Coast cake designer employed by clients such as Bill Gates (Seattle Cake Sculpture), she specializes in custom-made baked goods of every size and shape. Color photography devoted to her creations, and featured in local publications, must struggle hard to do justice to their sheer beauty and inventiveness. Not surprisingly, her last position before joining us at the Lodges was that of the cake and pastry lead chef at Missoula's Bernice's Bakery and, having begun her own business in the interim, she has kindly consented to become a part of what we can now offer our guests.
The adjectives we tend to hear from people who talk about Blaise often depict a person “as sunny as he is capable”. Reaching for an essence, the descriptions are strikingly similar. A native Montanan whose love for his birthplace is instantly apparent, he sees his world, we realize, as something sacredly tactile: the work that makes such physical demands as carpentry, masonry and landscaping; the elements that pose such challenges as the heights of mountains, the speeds of rivers, the altitudes of lakes. All of which comprise, of course, the universe of the explorer, the figure whose final endpoint Blaise seems born to pursue. That his life experience has turned him into a quintessential guide is exactly what renders the depictions of him so apt, for in the wilderness he becomes our “sun”, the most “capable” outdoor companion we are ever likely to follow.
Born in Moscow, Russia, Katrina possesses what one imagines to have been the physical beauty of Anna Karenina. With an education whose rigors led all of her family’s siblings to impressive levels of professional distinction, she spent her first adult decade in Russia as an administrator in import and finance. After moving to the United States, she found that this early experience, coupled with her affinity for languages, made her eminently employable in America as well. In the time since she joined our resort, she has proven once again that the rapid learning ability she brings to each new thing she tries was destined to make her youthful success a self-fulfilling prophecy. Her seamless absorption into our business team at the Lodges was virtually inevitable and long ago guaranteed her value as one of its pivotal members.
History of The Lodges
The colorful history of The Lodges on Seeley Lake is closing in on a century of time. The acclaimed McLeod family of Missoula built the majority of its cabins in the early 1920s. Their creation of the Missoula Mercantile gathered people from hundreds of miles in all directions to purchase anything from flour to automobiles. The Lodges served as a family retreat and a place to entertain their wide circle of friends. Its purpose remains much the same today, where families and friends unite.
Today traveling from The Lodges to Missoula is no more than a one hour relaxing drive along the beautiful Clearwater and Blackfoot River drainages. However, when the first lodge was built on Forest Service property around 1920, the ‘commute’ from Missoula to Seeley Lake was more adventurous as the first dirt road around Salmon Lake was built in 1915.
The famed McLeod family of the historic Missoula Mercantile were likely one of the first families to enjoy a Seeley Lake sunrise over the Swan Range from the comfort of a cabin and porch, steaming cup of coffee in hand. Although ownership of The Lodges has changed hands a few times over the years, the porch and pristine beauty hasn’t (photos of porch).
Shortly after the end of World War II the Forest Service permitted The Lodges to be enjoyed as a commercial resort and the smiling guests have never looked back. For over seventy years families and friends from throughout Montana and around the world have enjoyed the quiet charm and natural beauty The Lodges offer, some returning for generations.
Charles Lindbergh was a frequent visitor, claiming the view of the mountains from the cabins was one of his favorite views in the world. But whether you're a world renowned traveler or a family enjoying a well earned vacation, The Lodge’s rich history will be happily expanded by your own visit here.