Winthrop, WA – Such a Lovely Place

I originally planned to bypass Winthrop, in spite of the fact that some people had said “Don’t miss it!” I am not much for Western reenactments like Tombstone or Rawhide. When the men wearing spurs and bandanas tied around their necks come out with dueling pistols at high noon, I am outta there. But I got a late start leaving Newhalem due to a particularly busy day at work. Jim, Gayle, and Debbie had already gone before me, and reported back on a nice RV Park and a good brew pub, so how could I pass?IMG_0204


This is my favorite "Jim Look."  It means something sarcastically hilarious is about to come out.

This is my favorite “Jim Look.” It means something sarcastically hilarious is about to come out.

Winthrop is not just an old Western town, turns out. Yes, it has all the trappings of a Western town tourist trap, from “Old Time Photo” costume shops to salt water taffy stores. But it’s also a happening little town. Restaurants, shops –three Outdoor Outfitter stores line the short main street offering friendly service and reasonable prices, both good incentives for “keeping it local.”IMG_0210 IMG_0238

The Old Schoolhouse Brewery offers outdoor seating right on the river, as well as some really good beer (I recommend the Rendezvous Porter if you like it dark and mellow.) Their juicy Tillamook Cheddar Cheeseburgers with tasty fries were the perfect fix after spending a few days in the forest.IMG_0229 IMG_0247 IMG_0245

And the Rocking Horse Bakery reminds me why I am not allowed to go into bakeries under the guise of “It’s just for a latte.” Right. I had a “Cardamom Braid” there that had to be one of the best pastries ever.

Love the sticker, "I may be old, but I got to see all the cool bands."  Yeah, baby!

Love the sticker, “I may be old, but I got to see all the cool bands.” Yeah, baby!

Oddly enough, though, it was the little Pine Near RV Park that lured me from one just one intended overnight to three nights in a place I never even planned to stop. I made jokes about hearing the lead-in notes to Hotel California, “you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave” as my one overnight stop turned into three!

The thing I most love about this pic is the little Grannie sitting in the window....working on her laptop.  ;-)  (Go Mom!)

The thing I most love about this pic is the little Grannie sitting in the window….working on her laptop. 😉 (Go Mom!)

Universal Healthcare

Universal Healthcare

IMG_0226Unlike most RV Parks that are just a gravel or asphalt parking lot, Pine Near is all grass….thick, lush green grass. The first question I am asked at check-in, “Do you want to stay hitched up, or unhitch?” The pull thrus on the lower level are so long, you just drive across the lawn and stop when you are level. I ask about the road noise behind my bedroom window. She looks at me with a deadpan expression, and says “We are a town of 349.”

Keeping it local is easy here

Keeping it local is easy here

Sundown on the Methow River, which runs through Winthrop

Sundown on the Methow River, which runs through Winthrop

The park has everything you could need, from laundry service to lending library. It is on a higher level above the fray of the main street, so it is quiet and peaceful. Yet a short walk through the Shafer Historical Museum full of old mining and logging antiques, then down the boardwalk, and you can find whatever you need in the little town. And the best part? Just $18 a night with Passport America! I might never leave!

“We are all just prisoners here, of our own device” ~ Eagles, Hotel California

Leaving Winthrop...the forest has been burning this summer.  Road closures due to fires.

Leaving Winthrop…the forest has been burning this summer. Road closures due to fires.

Odd to drive through a "brown forest" after the fire.

Odd to drive through a “brown forest” after the fire.

Grand Coulee Dam, opened 1942, impounds Columbia River

Grand Coulee Dam, opened 1942, impounds Columbia River

15 thoughts on “Winthrop, WA – Such a Lovely Place

  1. Another great recommendation for Pine Near . . . must put it on the list. Looks like tons of photo ops. Will need to book at least a week! Thanks for the pointer.

    Virtual hugs,


  2. Sometimes it’s nice to go somewhere with no expectations and be so pleasantly surprised. Our one night stop turned into two, just so we could go back to the Old Schoolhouse Brewery a second time. The IPA was also excellent!

  3. I always get a little confused why our culture has no tolerance for the old, with a wrecking ball close-by and normally waiting to attack anything older than a decade. Then right along we go rebuilding everything while taking so much time, trouble and expense trying to make the new look old again … bleached and sun-grayed worm-wood, attempted antique-art and all.

    But that’s just me …. I have to say once I enter a brew-pub, most of a city’s ills are quickly and deeply forgiven. And that gets me to my point. What the hell is going on? Somehow since I last saw my dear Sister things have changed from “nothing stronger than a Stella” to “I recommend the Rendezvous Porter if you like it dark and mellow.”

    What’s to become of the sister I once knew …. I am thinking this road life may be too good for you ….. 😉

  4. My girlfriend and I visited the Methow Valley in the Fall of 2010, mostly to stay at The Rolling Huts ( up the road a little bit in/near Mazama ) and to do a little horseback riding. We visited Winthrop and just fell in love with the place. It’s where I want to retire one day.

    The North Cascades Mountains and the Methow Valley are something special. You owe it to yourself to take at least one trip there during your lifetime to check the place out. You won’t be disappointed.

  5. Such interesting photos of Winthrop community. It is interesting to read your perspective of various locations in our Washington state. I have not been to Winthrop although it has been of interest along with the Methow Valley. I was surprised to read you had braided cardamon bread from a bakery. It sounds like the Finnish pulla (poo-lah) and I wondered if there was a Finnish heritage connection in Winthrop? Growing up in a predominantly Finnish community in SW Washington, I learned to bake large, braided cardamom loaves while in grade school. It still remains a tradition to have coffee and pulla when “company comes to visit.” It is also real good toasted with butter in the mornings! Enjoy your continuing travels and your journey makes my feet itch to travel, too.

  6. Judie — I didn’t even scratch the surface of that Shafer Museum. Outdoor photo ops galore!

    Lisa — I could have sat there drinking that Porter all night! (Had nothing to do with the four firemen straddled on the stools nearby. LOL!)

    BC Mark — I forgot all about Knott’s Berry Farm, but you are right! I loved that place as a kid — even more than Disneyland! At four years old, a “foodie” was born. haha!

    Jim & Gayle — That little Old Schoolhouse Brewery was definitely worthy of a second visit! Thanks for “waiting dinner” on me.

    Donald — This comment made me laugh. I became enlightened during my Ithaca Brewery tour, when I learned that dark beers have mostly malt, while pale ales are more hops. It is that “singe the hairs in your nose” hoppiness that I don’t care for as much as the smoother darks.

    Sally — Thanks so much for the comment! I am relieved that the fires were brought under control before too much damage. That must be scary for the residents near Winthrop.

    Ed — I can imagine that trip must have been a fun area for horseback riding! North Cascades area is definitely on my list to repeat someday. I want to return to explore the Lake Chelan and Stehekin Valley areas.

    Nina — Definitely a comfortable park to “sit a spell,” and plenty of room for the Beast on the grass…

    Charlotte — I am not sure about the Finnish roots, but I am sure it is likely. If I were still there, I would ask. My treat was more like a doughnut than bread, though. It had a light honey glaze on it. One of the best pastries I have had with the delicate cardamom flavor. I love the “coffee and pulla” story! Thanks for the comment.

    Carolyn?? You would have loved that bakery, my friend. And pies right across the street. This little town had it all where we are concerned! 😉

  7. We have stayed at PineNear RV park for the last 3 summers, and just love it!!! Anna, the owner and Nancy are so welcoming and you feel so at home there.
    We are not much on “western towns” but just love the atmosphere of that little town. There is always something to do there.
    If you are luck enough, you can also watch hot air balloons rise in the early morning while enjoying your morning coffee from your campsite.
    This is one hidden gem that everyone should discover.

  8. Your blog was shared by a FB friend, and I’m always curious what people have to say about “my little town.” Glad you liked it, but I’m curious: why no pictures of Pine Near?

  9. Dianne — I am not sure if the woman that helped me is the owner. I never got her name, but she looked a little like a young Brooke Shields. 😉 She was extremely efficient, helpful, and accommodating. I asked for a later check-out due to a crazy work day, and she was very gracious.

    Laurelle — Thanks for the comment! I love it when someone local finds their way to my blog. It happened with my Astoria, WA post, and I got such lovely comments from the locals! It is always nice to see such local pride. As to the question “Why no pictures of Pine Near?” well, that is my regret as well. I often run behind in updating my blog, and by the time I wrote the Winthrop post, I was well on my way to Glacier. I wondered the same thing, why didn’t I take photos of the RV Park? Especially the teepees, as I loved those! But between work, trying to plot my onward course, and seeing as much of the town as I could, it was just an oversight. Pity, as it was a beautifully lush RV Park!

  10. Took a few minutes to see where you’d been in Washington (my home state), and found that we were just 14 days behind you going westbound over the North Cascades highway (20), stayed in the same RV park in Winthrop…after spending 2-3 weeks up in my hometown on the Canadian border, Oroville (US 97). I love the Okanogan. Don’t know if you kept up with the fires in WA in August, but the area that was on fire last year was once again on fire, plus another few hundred thousand acres across and north on 97; Chelan; and other smaller fires north and east of there….now to see where else in WA you’ve been…hope you are staying warm where you are presently camping, looked like winter storm warnings on the forecast.

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