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(Bloomberg) -- In 2002, Holli Hopkins, her husband, John, and their children were on a backcountry horse-riding trip in Montana. The family already had a vacation property in the state, but once they arrived at the outfitter’s ranch and found out it was for sale, John, an executive at a nuclear power company, “was foaming at the mouth, saying we have to sell our place and get this one.”
Hopkins resisted. “I’m the one who sticks,” she said. By the end of the weeklong trip, her 10-year-old daughter rode to the top of a scenic knoll, turned to her mother, and said, “Building site.” Hopkins caved.
They purchased the property for a little more than $1 million in 2003 and over the next decade set about gutting every building on the 255-acre site and adding several more, including a 9,500-square-foot home with four bedrooms and six bathrooms.
Now that the children have moved away and her husband is embarking on a new business venture, Hopkins has decided the ranch is too large for her needs. “We thought we would just be chilling on the porch drinking Scotch by now,” she said. “But we’re running faster than we ever have.” They’ve listed the property with Glacier Sotheby’s International Realty for $6 million.
Hopkins designed the ranch so it can be enjoyed by “just one person living on it, or by 40 people at once.” The main house can sleep 20 people comfortably with a large loft that has five twin beds, accessed via hidden stairs behind a false door. “Perfect for grandchildren,” she said. A large sleeping porch has additional room for multiple beds, and a media room holds two built-in sofa beds as well.
Then there are three other houses on the property—what they call the cabin, which has two and a half bathrooms and two bedrooms; a bunkhouse, which has two giant bedrooms with enough space to sleep 10, along with two bathrooms; and a manager’s house, which has three bedrooms and three bathrooms.
A fifth structure on the property houses a sauna, which they built by trucking a 19th century stagecoach stop onto the property and retrofitting it. It also has an upstairs loft that sleeps two. In total, the ranch can comfortably accommodate more than 40 people.
And what would those 40 people do there? “It’s nice because you can relax, but there are also infinite recreational opportunities,” Hopkins said. Six horses are kept on the property, and there’s a hay barn and riding arena as well as three fishing ponds, miles of hiking trails, and the nearby Lolo National Forest, 3.5 million acres of wilderness that stretches across Montana into Idaho.
The centerpiece of the property, though, is a saloon Hopkins built expressly for entertaining. “We built it right in the middle, and it overlooks the creek,” she said. “It has a huge bar that’s 24 feet long and built out of walnut. It has a pizza oven, commercial beer coolers, and a big, long kitchen.”
Hopkins said she constructed it because they discovered they didn’t have a main gathering point large enough to hold all their guests, and indeed, she’s hosted parties with more than a hundred people in the saloon. “Everyone comes in and does their own thing. And then you can walk away to your neat and tidy house and go to bed,” she said.
Decorative elements in the space include an antler chandelier, numerous tables and couches, and a large stuffed brown bear, which Hopkins’s husband shot while on a trip to Alaska.
The house, which is located on the far western edge of the state, is about an hour-and-a-half drive from Spokane, Wash., and a 40-minute drive from Missoula International Airport. It requires very little maintenance. “Right now we have someone who comes in part time, five days a week,” she said.
Hopkins has mixed emotions about selling the land. “Part of me wonders if the ranch will sell this summer, and I’m kind of excited about it,” she said. “And part of me dreads it. It’s a magic spot.”
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