It was raining buckets when I left my house on Friday. BUCK-ETS! Ridiculous amounts of water were raining down on me as I tried to get into my car without getting wet (I failed). I had my camera, my trusty tripod and a full tank of gas. My plan was to find some sun, and find it I did, about 5 minutes into the drive up the hill to my destination, Schweitzer (pronounced Sh-white-zer), a place us locals are lucky enough to call our local ski resort. The views on the way up are unbelievable. If people wonder why we live here, I show them this view. The valley spreads out like a landscape painting. The sparkling lake is surrounded by blue giants still capped in white glaciers, crowned with variegated storm clouds, and lit with dramatic spikes of sunlight. Its breathtaking on a bad day, unbelievably stunning on a good one.
When anyone says to me “we’re coming to Sandpoint. What should we do while we’re there?” My first response is always Schweitzer! Whether it is snowing bucket loads or basking in the warm sun, Schweitzer Mountain Resort has something for everyone. In the winter there are the ski slopes, of course. In summer there is hiking, biking, horseback riding, berry picking (you get the idea) and all year around there is shopping, tons of outdoor activities, and of course amazing food and drink. And it’s this last bit that brought me up the hill and into the sun on a rainy Friday.
Near the center of the village is a lovely gem of a place called Chimney Rock Grill. It’s cozy, yet spacious, with dramatic metal topped, whiskey barrel tables, a fireplace, patio seating in the summer and a gorgeous bar. It’s American Bistro style food with a full bar and decor with a rustic flare. The staff is very friendly and the chef, very talented!
Manager, Kellie Pierce, and Cheffy (yes, he’s the chef!) a former Portland-ite, make up the dynamic duo responsible for the amazing menu at Chimney Rock. As Kellie says, Cheffy “works to bring out his style while keeping the classics around,” and he is very good at both! Kellie and Cheffy also support local in as many ways as possible. They not only serve the full lineup of Mill Town products, but also local meats, wine and even art work. They have a seasonally rotating menu to keep things fresh AND you can get an adult beverage TO-GO! Let’s read that last part again…adult beverages to-go…wine around the village, beer on the lifts, hiking with a Mill Town Mojito…Yes, I love this place!
While you are walking around with that Mojito (or if it’s chilly, try the Mill Town Cinnamon Cider. It sparkles AND it’s delicious.) take a lift up to the brand new Sky House Restaurant on top of the mountain. The view is jaw dropping.
Kellie and her crew will take care of you whether you are looking for a place to be “wined and dined,” a quick burger and drink or a place for a cozy, quiet meal. They also have space for your small groups and gatherings. The staff is talented, versatile and focused on their guest’s enjoyment of this beautiful place. So, head up the hill, enjoy the sun or the snow, and bring your camera and your appetite.
Some menu highlights…
Classic Burger – local Wood’s patty cooked to your preference. Often mentioned to be the best burger around.
Schweitzer Corn Beef – They slow cook their corn beef over night.
Crab Cakes – light and fluffy with big pieces of Dungeness Crab.
Fresh Margarita – They squeeze that lime juice! No sour mix here!
Scotchman Mule – Mill Town Barley Vodka, crème de cassis, squeeze of lime and ginger beer in a copper mug
Mill Town Cinnamon Cider – Mill Town rum, Goldschlager, hot cider and a cinnamon stick
Chimney Rock is seasonal so check out their hours before you head up.
Spring (Mid April – Late June) Wed – Sat 11 – 5pm
Summer (Late June – Labor day) Daily 11 – 9PM
Fall (Labor Day – Thanksgiving) Wed – Sat 11 – 5pm
Winter (Thanksgiving – Mid April) – Daily 7AM – 9PM Fri and Sat open until 10PM