Bear Spirit Lodge Bed & Breakfast

Story and photos by Justine Schulerud

“Bloom where you are planted” is the motto that co-owner Ann Harwood of Bear Spirit Lodge lives by. She has done just that.

Bear Spirit Lodge Bed & Breakfast sits quietly in the woods at the end of a dirt road in St. Ignatius, Mont.  Harwood and Great Bear established Bear Spirit Lodge in 2006.

The Bear Spirit Lodge is set up to serve as a “hidden treasure” for personal retreats, relaxation and rejuvenation, couples retreats, bodywork and massages therapy by Great Bear and as a guide to places near St. Ignatius. There is also an annual Spirit Quest at teh lodge established for anyone to experience Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit.

The two-story 2,800 sq. ft. cedar lodge sits on 10 acres next to the Mission mountains.  There is a tiny pond, large deck and outdoor hot tub for all visitors to enjoy. The bed and breakfast got its name ‘Bear Spirit Lodge’ because when it was first established there were two bears playing near the trees.  Since the bed and breakfast is set up as a peaceful getaway filled with spiritual revitalization and relaxation ‘Bear Spirit Lodge’ was a perfect match according to co-owner Harwood.

Co-owners Harwood and Great Bear have experience in many different fields from all over the country and world to make the bed and breakfast a extremely unique experience for all.  Harwood lived and worked in a variety of places including Florida, Virginia, Washington DC, Hawaii and Montana.  She is a marketing and management professional who has worked for Fortune 100 companies and a variety of non-profits.  During the winter months Harwood spends most of her time as a Creative Consultant Communications coach, speaker and writer.  Harwood was ordained as a minister of spiritual counseling in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, which allows her to perform weddings at the bed and breakfast.  Great Bear is of Cherokee decent and has extensive experience in healing from both formal schooling and from the elders and medical personal of indigenous peoples.   Being a ceremonialist, storyteller, massage therapist and artist she provides treatment for all types of guests to the bed and breakfast.

There are two guest rooms, two bathrooms and a tipi for guests.  Each room is uniquely decorated with folk art and photography by Great Bear. The entire house if filled with fascinating trinkets from all over the world.  The lodge gift shop represents art and jewelry from all over the world and is mainly purchased from indigenous people during Harwood and Great Bear’s travels.

Harwood believes in supporting the local people of St. Ignatius and buys most of the groceries from the Amish Mission General Store.  Also, Harwood hires local men of the Amish community do some of the furniture along with a lot of the maintenance work.  Harwood has purchased sheds from the Miller family and plans to have them build an overhang garage structure soon.

“It is representative of the area.  I like to shop local and at the Amish market,” Harwood said.  “I find it very important to support the local people.”