I have been dreaming about this blog for years. I mean it…years. It started as a seed of an idea: How could I share my photos of Montana? I was born here, graduated from MSU & spent a couple years in New York before moving back fifteen years ago to freelance fulltime. I have been shooting people, places, and food throughout Montana almost every week since. That’s a lot of pictures, and I remember taking each one.
I started talking through the idea with my friend, David Thompson, who creates some of the coolest marketing campaigns in Bozeman. I soon realized I needed some help. I recruited, Corinne Garcia and Amy Stix, who happen to be great writers and friends. We talked and talked and talked and talked about all the cool people and places we wanted to cover. And all of a sudden it was three years later and still no blog. Looking back, I think we got a little overwhelmed with the possibilities, and of course busy. We all have fulltime jobs and families.
In 2014, Corinne and I pitched The Last Best Plates column to Montana Magazine. They accepted and all of a sudden we were on deadline. I knew I needed a lot of help to be able to cover the entire state, so shared my vision with a few friends – writers, business owners, marketing gurus, travel experts, chefs, photographers, and more. I invited them to join me on this adventure, to share our Montana – big and small – with readers interested in local food, thoughtfully-crafted cocktails, well-brewed beer, inventive farmers and ranchers, ultra luxe lodges and remote forest service cabins, and all the hidden gems of the Treasure state in between.
That brings me to November 2014, when I enlisted Jamie Hurd to design the site, and lucky for me, she talked her husband Mike (who is way overqualified) into doing the programming. Jamie’s design is clean, beautiful and easy to navigate. How she knew what was in my head, I will never know, but she did. Now the only thing missing was someone to bring all the pieces together. That’s where Elizabeth Barnett came in; her expertise helped create and guide the project. This blog went from idea to reality because of them.
My husband Dan Vermillion, whom I often refer to as Tom Sawyer (more on that later), has heard me blab about this blog for so long that all three children (our oldest was born in 2006) have heard about it in utero.
Without Dan, this blog would not exist. He steps up to cook, run the house, manage our schedule and do whatever needs to be done when I am traveling, on deadline or need to break away to answer an urgent email or phone call. Without Dan, I wouldn’t be able whirl through Montana like a tumbleweed, photographing rural America and bringing its simplicity and grandeur to this website.
The Last Best Plates is my vision, but I didn’t do it alone. And I don’t think I would want to. I am a collaborative person by nature and this is a great group of people to be in cahoots with.