By George Plaven of The Montana Standard
ANACONDA — Snow flurries dusted the Anaconda Range outside while Marlene Holayter pulled out a tray of bruschetta from the oven in her spacious kitchen.
This, Holayter said, is truly the heart of Montana, and simply too beautiful not to share with others.
The entire lodge is available to rent for longer stays, family reunions and retreats to the Big Hole River. In all, it has six bedrooms over three floors, a sun room, wrap-around deck and plenty of meeting or lounge space. The lodge will also host a number of workshops, from yoga to gourmet cooking, in the coming months. “This place just has something about it that calms the spirit,” she said.
Opened in October 2010, the lodge combines the rustic quality of its setting with elegant features and hospitality — including Marlene Holayter’s cooking, rooted in traditional Italian
specialties. Risotto and chicken scallopini are a few staples on hand all the time, but Holayter said she is always on the lookout for new recipes. Good food and hospitality are nothing new to Holayter, a Meaderville native and Butte Central High School graduate whose father, Jim Troglia, owned the Bronx Supper Club. Her grand-mother, Maggie Marietti, was also head chef at the Rocky Mountain Café.
Holayter spent her career in education, and continues to work online for Walden University in Minneapolis as a professor and director of the education leadership program.
She lived for years in Washington state and Washington, D.C, with Bill, a retired former representative for the national machinists union. When her dad died in 2004, she believes he helped lead them back to her home in Montana. Bill Holayter was only too happy to make the move, he said. “I didn’t mind at all,” he said. “I couldn’t wait to get out of D.C.”
The couple bought a small cabin on 20 acres where they soon began to envision the Sky Lodge. What started small took on a life of its own, they said. Butte architect Steve Hinick helped refine their original design, which grew to 3,600 square feet. “We always get a ‘wow’ factor,” Marlene Holayter said. “People don’t think a place looks like this up here.” Wood paneling and stone tiles maintain an outdoorsy feel that meshes with style and comfort. Radiant heat is entirely powered by 18 solar panels, with a backup generator.
In the kitchen, Marlene Holayter brought over the same sink used at her father’s Bronx restaurant. Painted on the opposite wall is the Italian expression, “Tanti belli cosi,” meaning, “Wishing you many wonderful things,” a favorite of Troglia’s. It’s an impression the Holayters hope to impart on their guests. “It’s all about making people feel good and comfortable,” Marlene Holayter said.