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Gather and Stay
Three Bears Inn underway

The new building by the bridge over the Methow River in Winthrop might look like a regular house, but it’s actually the first part of a larger project owners Cyndy and Jerry Oliver plan to complete next year.

photoThe new structure near the bridge over the Methow River in Winthrop echoes an old carriage house. When it is complete a second building will be started.

Under construction now, on one side of the property, is a vintage-style building similar to a historic carriage house that will be the shops and events area. The building will have a coffee shop that will offer snacks and pastries, as well as local coffee from Blue Star. There will also be free wireless internet for customers with WiFi devices.

Next to the coffee shop, the retail area will sell general supplies for artists, and will also have tables and seating available for those who would like to enjoy looking at the art pieces that will be tastefully displayed around the room.

The second floor is the events area. The main room (facing the river) will be used for local artists to provide workshops, presentations, and lectures for the community about their art and techniques. But this room will also be used for social gatherings, such as rehearsal dinners, birthday parties, and bridal showers. These events will be also held on the large deck in the back of the property, which will feature ornamental trees planted by former landscaper and co-owner, Jerry Oliver.

“The purpose is to provide people with a space to develop more and better social interactions and to encourage the involvement of the community throughout the valley by promoting diverse social events and local activities,” said co-owner Cyndy Oliver, who envisioned this idea five years ago when she and her husband bought the property.

Before the Olivers began the construction of the new building, there used to be an old structure there where longtime Winthrop resident Emy Hallowell lived for 43 years. But the house, built in 1936, was not safe anymore, and would not have been practical to renovate into commercial space. The Olivers offered the house to the Shafer Historical Museum, but the board of directors was not interested in acquiring it. Finally, for safety issues, it was decided that it had to be burnt down: the Okanogan Country Fire District 6 did the job in spring 2012. (read our previous story >>)

The new building will have all the amenities needed to fulfill the Olivers’ dream. A commercial kitchen on the first floor will serve full-course meals for events as required. There is another kitchen area on the second floor that will be used to organize the catering, drinks and food orders for those events. And the magic between these two: a dumbwaiter that will make easier the transport of trays, food and drinks from the first to the second floor when larger events occur.

The second part of the project—an old-farm-looking house—will begin when the first one is complete in May or June 2014. It will be a seven to nine bedroom inn that will feature a cozy porch where guests can relax and enjoy the river view. The property will have a parking lot with capacity for 20-25 cars and a driveway with easy access for those coming from both directions in town.

The “Three Bears Inn” was named by the Olivers’ children. “My sons actually picked the name, and they even made the logo.” Soon enough, Winthrop will have a new space where the community can gather to socialize in a creative environment. Stay tuned.


see past stories in the archive >>

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