MontanaIt’s not often that we come across a historical shelter that is both a potential second home and a possible income generator, but The Centennial Inn property in Livingston, Montana is just such a two-fer.

The best part? It sits on 13 acres adjacent to Yellowstone National Park, with 1,000 feet of river frontage. Gorgeous, pristine, canyon property between the Gallatin and Absaroka mountains. 

Currently, the showpiece is a turn-of-the-century train car that has been refurbished to its original Victorian style (with a few updates). 

“This turn of the century Northern Pacific railcar has seen the country as a railway express, U.S. rolling post office and as an Old West attraction at the 1964 New York World’s Fair representing Montana during Montana’s territorial centennial,” said Visit Montana. (more…)

Nestled in the Bitterroot Valley in Montana, a five-bedroom mansion built for a man who came west with his brother, intending to prospect for gold, sits ready for its next owner, the one that will update it to marry the history behind the home with more recent creature comforts. (more…)

While some of us despise the chilly winter winds that have been a-blowing and prefer to bundle up indoors until bikini season arrives, skiers and snowboarders alike know that the storms that blew through Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming this week (and will continue on through the northeast next week) offer the perfect, powdery platform for a fantastic weekend out on the slopes.

Below, check out our top five vacation rental homes to enjoy the best of both worlds: top notch skiing paired with amenities worth traveling for.

Chateau of Breckenridge

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For a true ski-in/ski-out luxury chateau, don’t miss this Colorado beauty, just a few steps from the popular Four O’clock Ski Run. Plus, there’s even a rooftop patio with an outdoor spa and fireplace. Rent this five bedroom, five and a half bath mountainside home for $13,125 a week.

The Stratton Mountain House

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This winter retreat, nestled in Stratton, Vermont, is minutes away from the Stratton Ski Resort. Get a couples massage at the resort’s day spa after a long day of hitting the slopes or take a short 20-minute drive to the Manchester Designer Shopping Outlets nearby. Truly get away from it all by simply staying at the home, which boasts six bedrooms, five and a half baths, a jetted tub and a jacuzzi. Rental rates are $1,600 a night, with a three night minimum stay required.

The Country Estate2688554d-56a5-43fe-8648-423bdf81e847.1.10

I am in love with the decor of this secluded rental in Stowe, Vermont. Romp in seven bedrooms and five bathrooms in three separate dwellings set on an 8 acre hilltop, surrounded by rambling farmland. Cross-country skiers will enjoy trails located just off the property, and black diamond skiers can hit the slopes at Stowe Mountain Resort, which is just 15 minutes away. Cost to rent is $10,000 per week.

Four O’clock Breckenridge Condo

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At just $79 a night, this two-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath Breckenridge condo offers amenities that rival its luxurious competitors: a full kitchen, 46′ flat screen TV in the living room, and a balcony with a mountain view. Walk on a trail to reach the ski resort or simply take the bus just 20 feet from the condo to Peak 7 and 8 of the Four O’clock Ski Run.

Glacier Lodge

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Newly built in 2012, this 2,800-square-foot, six-bedroom rental property is located in beautiful Lake Harmony, Penn., just minutes from the lake, championship golf courses, the Poconos ski slopes, state parks, and restaurants. Soak in the six-person outdoor hot tub or play a game of pool inside this Poconos chalet for $3,200 a week.

Whitney ThompsonWhitney Thompson loves to daydream about the perfect beach house, but she’ll settle for a hot tub in Colorado if that’s on the menu. She is a freelance writer and contributor to SecondShelters.com and CandysDirt.com.

I found this ranch on Curbed and totally fell in love. In fact, while paying bills and blogging, I just kept going back again and again to gaze upon it. It’s hotter than hell in Texas, and I can just feel the cool air whispering over me up there in Augusta, Montana. This spread belongs to the former CEO of Citadel Broadcasting, that being Larry Wilson. So now Wilson’s literally selling the family farm: Sun River Ranch. On the market goes 3,000-acres of God and Grizzly country.

Wilson sold Citadel in its prime in 2001, says Curbed, but the company entered bankruptcy in 2009. Wilson bought up a couple more radio stations — you know what they say, once you own a radio station you are hooked. Curbed suggests he’s selling to help fund new ventures or because he has too many ranches—he’s said to own several more in Montana. One can never have too many ranches, or can they? Ranches are great for ag exemptions and like Texas, Montana has no state income tax.

Look at those dazzling mountain views, varied terrain,  and a decked-out, 7,325-square-foot main house.  Located 20 miles west of Augusta, this 3,000 acre private retreat has 1,539 acres deeded. It  also encompasses 3.5 miles of the glistening Sun River and a dramatic setting at the base of the Rocky Mountain front. You are just minutes by foot and horseback access to an enormous wilderness complex. The new building compound includes a beautiful 7,325 sq. ft. residence, barns, 2 houses and more. The home is luxurious but in that quiet, we-have-money-and-don’t-have-to-brag way. It is constructed of large diameter logs. The guest cabin, barn with apartment, guest and managers homes will handle caretakers, staff and guests and each residence has breathtaking views of Castle Reef and Scapegoat Mountain.

Here’s another reason why I am so in love: great lift. The ranch is only 20 miles west of Augusta, Montana and commercial air is only an hour away in Great Falls. Plus, this is one of the most protected and prolific wildlife areas in Montana. The Nature Conservancy bought up and protected large tracts to the north where Grizzly bears forage out into the plains. Yes, Griszzly bears — I would not be out camping. And if it’s wilderness you seek, baby come home to mama. This ranch adjoins 19,000± acres of the Sun River Game Range. And it has easy almost immediate access to one of the most significant wilderness complexes in the lower 48 states: Bob Marshall Wilderness and Glacier National Park. Montana, here I come.