A new woodsy, adults-only retreat in beautiful Big Sky country wants you to go Green this summer—and all year round.
Written by Jenn Thornton
Let’s face it, roughing it is best when it’s a bit more refined. We all like a fire, the scent of pine, a night sky full of stars. But a plush bed opposed to a rigidity cot that will almost certainly fold into itself? That’s a much harder sell these days since The Resort at Paws Up started the glamping trend, which, with ranch-style sophistication and actual indoor plumbing, smoothed out the edges of traditional camping.
Since originating the experiment of mixing ranch and resort culture, the good people at Paws Up are launching The Green O this month, which is located in the remote township of Greenough, Montana (35 miles northeast of Missoula), at the southern edge of the vast 37,000-acre Paws Up Ranch. This land was part of an original ranch established in 1915 by a deep-pocketed character named Paul Greenough, who branded his sheep with a big green “O.” To celebrate the Montana timberland, and the natural beauty of the landscape, no trees were cut down in the creation of The Green O, which weaves sustainability into every aspect of the resort, from its farm-to-table fare to the living roofs of its accommodations.
Let’s talk about those accommodations. This isn’t Grizzly Adams, folks. The Green O elevates the trend to which it owes its existence with a dozen design-forward “Hauses” (Tree Haus, Light Haus, Green Haus, and Round Haus), each featuring modern architecture and nestled amid a forest of soaring pines. These ultra-private bunkers for two guests max are heavily glassed, basically putting no barrier between you and Mother Nature herself. (Let’s hope you’re not shy because she literally is right there.) The structures form one cool showcase of design features that may well retire the tent permanently. Think two-sided fireplaces, large skylights, pitched ceilings and rooftop terraces. Haus guests are away from the world, yet not entirely apart from it. You still can flag down the bellman driving an electric cart or hop into your personal Lexus (every Haus has one) and explore the property.
R&R? Sure. Lots of it. Ensconce yourself in your Haus for a week and no one will bother you. Staying put is one of the “centering pursuits” that The Green O calls its kick-back and put your boots up routine, which also includes the very glamping endeavors of forest bathing and spa treatments (either under canvas or in-Haus). But this is Big Sky—nature’s playground awaits. To this end, the Green O offers 50-plus activities. So if not the driving type, leave the Lexus in park and gear up for hiking, horseback riding, hiking, rafting, rappelling off rocks and more—there is little to no limit to experiencing one of the most stunning landscapes in the American West.
For those looking to lounge, hit the Social Haus for a drink—one that, if you do try rappelling, you might really need to bring down the adrenaline. Designed as the heart of Green O by Mutuus Studio, this handsome surround is also the place to fill up on artful, live-fire fare. No paper plates here, no gathering sticks for s’mores. All that’s been replaced by flamed-kissed, ranch-raised beef and other configurations of Western-tinged dishes and flavors made by a top-notch culinary team led by executive chef Brandon Cunningham.
It’s one thing to be at one with nature. But it’s a whole other thing to do it at a place like The Green O, where the call of the wild is strong, but you can still get Wi-Fi and a good whiskey.
Photographs courtesy of The Green O, except where noted