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?
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.”
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.
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.
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!
Unlike 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.”
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