Bigfork's main street, Electric Avenue, is littered with a variety of galleries, gift shops, boutiques, and bookstores -- and it's only 4 blocks long. Twin Birch Square, 459 Electric Ave., is a two-level, pine-log shopping mall where you'll find Artisans (tel. 406/837-2789), featuring functional art from all over the country.
The Eric Thorsen Sculpture Gallery, 547 Electric Ave. (tel. 406/837-4366), handles artwork from the well-known sculptor. He is best known for the sculptures he has created for Trout Unlimited, the Wild Turkey Federation, and Ducks Unlimited (at last count more than 12,000 fundraising pieces in total). His two-level gallery is a display case for bronze and wood creations; on the second level is the artist's studio, where visitors are encouraged to observe the artist at work. Doors away is the gallery of Ken Bjorge (tel. 877/837-3839), 603 Electric Ave., who also creates life-size studies of wildlife in bronze. Don't be surprised to find yourself standing next to a 6-foot-tall crane or eagle while he works his craft in your presence.
Across the street from Bjorge's studio is Two River Gear (tel. 406/837-3474), which deals in fly-fishing equipment and info, and Patagonia wear. Artfusion, 471 Electric Ave. (tel. 406/837-3526), is an eclectic gallery that represents more than 60 contemporary Montana artists and craftspeople. Around the corner at Bay Books & Prints, 350 Grand Dr. (tel. 406/837-4646), there are rare books and first editions. The owners carry an extensive collection of books about the explorers Lewis and Clark, some very rare and in good condition.
If you're looking for an authentic yet unusual gift item with a Western theme, visit Electric Avenue Gifts (tel. 406/837-4994), 459 Electric Ave. For delectable jams and syrups, try Eva Gates Homemade Preserves, 456 Electric Ave. (tel. 406/837-4356), which has been in the business since 1949.
Shopping in Polson at the other end of Flathead Lake is less of an upscale experience, but Three Dog Down, 48841 U.S. 93 (tel. 800/364-3696) sells comforters, coats, pillows, duvets, and other cold-weather gear. Owner Robert "Bronco Bob" Ricketts is a former opera singer who moved from Cincinnati to Polson to start a low-key dream business. Prices for high-quality down goods are lower here than in more fashionable metropolitan stores.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.