We always go on a road trip to celebrate Mother’s Day, and I usually pick a route that enables us to stop and eat at the Crazy Mountain Inn in Martinsdale. The drive to the historic small town, nestled between the Castle Mountains, Crazies, and Little Belts is picturesque from no matter which direction you arrive.
My stomach is always growling by the time our bumper hits the board sidewalk out front. Inside, a toasty fire crackles in the lobby’s woodstove. Light filters through lace curtains and the wooden floor creaks as owner Cheryl Marchi, hair twisted into her trademark braids, greets you with menus. Reservations are required on Mother’s Day, and our family always picks a table on the lobby side, where we can stretch out a little more with the kids.
I just love the lobby’s high ceilings, bead board walls and antique furniture, but the café side—with its dark wood walls, long counter and oilcloth tablecloths—is nice too. The Inn usually seats 28 people, but they put out a couple extra tables on Mother’s Day and top them with fresh flowers.
If comments in the lobby’s guestbook are a testament, then the Crazy Mountain Inn is “Home of the World’s Best Chicken Fried Steak”. The menu is full of burgers and steaks, but on Mother’s Day, I recommend ordering one of their three specials: Prime Rib, Shrimp Sautéed with Lemon & Garlic or Poached Shrimp. Each is under $30 and comes with homemade soup or salad, vegetable, roll and a baked potato.
Both Cheryl and her husband Peter are slingin’ it back in the kitchen trying to keep up with the crowd as the waitstaff (which includes two of the Marchi’s sons and one daughter-in-law) tops off wine glasses and delivers icy bottles of Moose Drool and Trout Slayer. Make sure to save room for one of Cheryl’s famous homemade desserts like Sour Cream Lemon Pie, Chocolate Mousse, Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake, or Peanut Butter Pie.
After eating, it’s fun to wander upstairs and check out the second floor, where eleven sunny guest rooms flank the long hallway. Each is outfitted with an antique bed (or beds) and desk and shares a large communal bathroom that has a claw foot tub and shower.
We like to kick around town (there’s a really cool old jail near the Inn that looks like a Medieval torture chamber) and let the kids throw rocks in Martinsdale Reservoir before heading home to catch the Mother’s Day caddis hatch on the Yellowstone River.
We usually go to Pig Farm fishing access east of Livingston. Dan makes a few casts, our Jack Russell chases marmots down holes, the kids check out caddis on rocks (and laugh as they crawl up their legs). Often, one of them wades out and ends up with drenched jeans that they remove before we can intervene. I just sit back and frame it all up in the viewfinder.
Now that’s my idea of a perfect Mother’s Day.
Crazy Mountain Inn
110 Main Street
Reservations Required on Mother’s Day
Month of May only-Thursday – Sunday 11:30 am to 7:30 pm
June through April-Wednesday 11:30 am to 4:00 pm & Thursday – Sunday 11:30 am to 7:30 pm
Open 7 days a week and breakfast is available for hotel guests.
NOTE: Crazy Mountain Inn accepts cash & check’s only.