John Mayer admitted to Ellen that he did a couple “dumb interviews” (he’s perhaps referring to the Playboy interview where he spilled intimate details about Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson), had throat surgery and needed to go somewhere to grow up. He chose the remote Paradise Valley as his home. Here’s what you need to know about Paradise Valley, as told by a Montanan.
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Local Montanans love to b**** about how people screw up their lives and their cities and when they’ve made a total mess of both, they move to Montana. The resentment stems from when transplants (locally we call them Californians) try to alter the local policies and precedents that make Montana the cool place that they chose to move to in the first place. Some argue that transplants also drive up the cost of living because they are willing to pay more for real estate, dining, retail, etc.
So when someone like John Mayer moves to the pristine Paradise Valley, under their collective breaths many Montanans say, “There goes the neighborhood.” These things are fun for locals to joke about, but the reality is that by and large most wealthy people and celebrities contribute to the local culture and economy in ways that help make Montana the paradise that it is. For example, John Mayer hosted a benefit concert in Bozeman, Montana, for local firefighters. In a release, Mayer said, “Without the tireless effort and dedication of the firefighters of the Pine Creek fire, many more homes and memories would have been destroyed, mine among them.” So you see, John would be an example of a celebrity who is part of the solution rather than part of the problem.
Paradise Valley is situated between oh-so-cool Bozeman and the Gardiner entrance to Yellowstone Park, making it home to some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. John Mayer is not the only celebrity to figure this out. Ted Turner owns a ranch outside Bozeman and a steakhouse, Ted’s Montana Grill, where bison is on the menu. (Yes, I’ve eaten there, and yes, it’s amazing.) Tom Brokaw bought a ranch in the Paradise region, and Dennis Quaid lived in Paradise Valley for years before listing his ranch in 2011. (Quaid married third wife, Kimberly Buffington, on his 500-acre ranch in Montana. The couple are now divorced.)
Several rivers run through it
John told Men’s Journal that he’s not into hunting but he did buy a couple of fly fishing rods after moving to Montana. He’d be crazy not to, as the Yellowstone, Gallatin and Madison rivers are literally in his backyard. Celebrities and out-of-staters flock to the region for the sole purpose of landing a “hog” (a huge trout). The corporate office of one of the most well-known fly-fishing gear companies, Simms, is in Bozeman (the next time you’re watching a fishing show on the Outdoor Channel — ha, ha — look at the label on the guy’s shirt, or just ask your guy, if he fly fishes, about Simms). It’s a big deal. Simms and the fly-fishing opportunities in and around Paradise Valley make this outdoor mecca like Disneyland for the fly-fishing enthusiast. There’s a reason A River Runs Through It was filmed on these waters. Take a look at John Mayer’s new backyard (A River Runs Through It was based on Missoula, Montana, but filmed in and around Livingston, Montana).
Home to Chico Hot Springs
Chico Hot Springs, over 100 years old, is a natural hot springs pool and resort that sits in the heart of Paradise Valley. Along with the spring-fed pool is the famous restaurant (it even has its own cookbook) and a dive bar that has become a place for the “local” celebrities to visit. Tom Brokaw, Michael Keaton, Jeff Bridges and Dennis Quaid have all bellied up to the bar at Chico, and Dennis has taken to the stage to perform. Maybe some lucky guest will be treated to a spontaneous John Mayer performance in the not-too-distant future.
Chilling out in one of the prettiest places in the country likely provided Mayer the backdrop he needed to “grow up” and write some awesome music. Here are the lyrics to “Paper Doll,” which have many wondering if Mayer has at last answered Taylor Swift’s musical jabs.