Couple transforms majestic Bigfork Bay estate
BY JEANNIE DRAKE/for MONTANA LIVING
When native Montanans Marilyn and John Olson bought the rustic Bear Dance Inn during the mid-1990s, it was love at first sight.
Their dream: to one day transform this historic lakefront retreat into a private haven for themselves and a handful of owners who share their passion for Northwest Montana. Bear Dance is the realization of that dream.
Secluded within its own protected cove on Bigfork Bay on Flathead Lake in Bigfork, the private enclave of Bear Dance presents a new interpretation of luxury. Old-world artistry meets Montana’s warm Western spirit in eight individually crafted residences tailored to connoisseurs of Flathead Lake living.
“We wanted to create something Bigfork would be proud of that brought a new level of exceptional quality and personalized service to the Rocky Mountain region,” says owner Marilyn Olson. John Olson adds: “The history of this lakefront property is unique. Since the 1930s, families have been drawn to the beauty of this sheltered cove. Our vision was to embrace that spirit in Bear Dance and create a legacy for the community.”
Enter the handcrafted gates of Bear Dance and be transported back to an era when architecture was an art form. Eight distinctive residences, one of which will be a vacation home for the Olsons, comprise a private enclave catering to discerning buyers in search of a truly unique, intimate and limited-edition living experience on Flathead Lake.
Blending elements of Montana craftsmanship and old-world hideaways, Bear Dance’s transcendent architecture is an original interpretation of its Rocky Mountain setting. No two homes are alike and all offer picturesque lake views. Experiential floor plans, spanning 2,500 to 3,800 square feet, lend themselves to all styles of entertaining—a favorite Flathead pastime. Sustainable principles include locally sourced “green” materials and energy-efficient systems.
“Bear Dance gave us an opportunity to introduce a whole new architectural statement that integrates local craftsmanship, indigenous materials, sustainable practices and modern technology into a timeless residential enclave that appears to have evolved organically over generations,” said Ron Incoronato, master builder and craftsman.
Situated just around the bend from the small-town charms of Bigfork Village, Bear Dance invites seven connoisseurs to cultivate life in a genuine Montana work of art. •