A Grecian getaway… to Winifred?

Charlie Denison

I’ve got to hand it to my co-workers at the News-Argus for giving my wife and me the ultimate wedding gift: an all expense paid trip to the International Suites’ one and only Grecian room.

Although we tied the knot in June, it wasn’t until this past weekend we were able to make the trip happen, and, wow, was it ever worth it.

Complete with an extra-large Jacuzzi, dramatic statues imported from overseas and a giant bed that was nearly impossible to get out of in the morning, the suite could not have been more relaxing or reenergizing. We felt like royalty, lavishly living it up without a care in the world. We might as well have been in Greece.

But, in reality, we were far from it. In fact, we were only 40 miles from home, in the heart of downtown Winifred, Montana. We were across the street from the Winifred Community Center in the newly opened A’s Building, which features the International Suites, 1028 Steakhouse restaurant and bar, a bowling alley, a shuffleboard table and more.

It’s hard to believe such a place can be found in a 200-person town next door to the Missouri Breaks, but Winifred-native-done-good Norm Asbjornson dreamed it… and funded it, using local people to design and construct it.

The result is a spectacular “staycation” we very much enjoyed. We would have loved to stay longer, and we both said we’d like to do it again sometime.

Although the jacuzzi is really what tied the room together for us, there are other rooms that are also very intriguing: the San Francisco, Shanghai, Amsterdam, two New York suites (one handicapped accessible) and an eight-bed hostel (especially popular during hunting season).

But no matter what the season, the phone is ringing and the word is out on this Winifred wonder. We saw proof of this Saturday night, as many people from Lewistown were also dining at the 1028. We were kindly informed reservations are encouraged. Fortunately, they squeezed us in for a 7 p.m. dinner.

It’s easy to see why the restaurant is a new hot spot. My wife and I very much enjoyed our meals at dinner (ribeye, walleye and the cheese board appetizer) and at lunch the next day (a burger and a shrimp scampi).

The atmosphere at this new restaurant is also something unlike other places around the area. Above the bar are lights that change colors, switching up the ambiance. Overhead, one can see a train track surrounded by grain elevators and other rural Montana features. Every so often, a train runs (by remote control, usually operated by the bartender).  The volume may or may not be on. If it is, you can hear train whistle, a “chug” and the muffled voice of a conductor.

Kari and I had a wonderful time on this getaway, and we were pleased with this timing, as Kari’s birthday is Valentine’s Day. This stay was a romantic celebration that gave us an opportunity to focus on our relationship. It was a thoughtful wedding gift and time well spent.

Who knew Winifred could be our gateway to Greece?


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