I absolutely love it when we get small-town City Guide contributions. I’m so fascinated by the quaint cities that exist around the world, so getting a brief glimpse into theses areas is always a fun treat. Today Lindsey Wayland, writer, a mail artist, a letter-writing aficionado, a self-taught calligrapher, and a ceremony facilitator, takes us around the scenic Washington hamlet of the Methow Valley, sharing all of the local eateries, shops and hotels the area has to offer. –Stephanie
*There have been devastating wild fires in this area and others close by this summer, so if you’d like to make a donation or find ways to help these communities, please check here for organizations working closely with groups in Washington State.
Read the full guide after the jump…
Nestled in the foothills of the North Cascade mountain range, the Methow Valley (pronounced Met-how) opens her arms and welcomes without question. As you enter, the lofty hills sing and by rose gold sunlight a deep-bellied hum serenades you into the valley.
The Methow Valley of Washington is like a secret book deep in the back stacks, purposefully misplaced to maintain the secrecy. Home to about 5,000 locals, the community is deeply connected, and the people are as welcoming as the land on which they live.
Visitors are far-flung and come to the valley in search of respite, awe-inspiring landscapes, unique artisan shopping, summer and winter sports, exceptional swimming and small-town comfort. The Methow is grit, graced with the progressive thinking you’d expect from the Pacific Northwest. This valley is the most popular recreational vacation spot in the Northwest. Locals notice every summer that the flux of unfamiliar faces flows as tourists abound, traveling far and wide to soak up the dozens of water activities and the bounty of the sun the valley so openly offers.
Twisp, Washington is the heart of the Methow. With a unique blend of community, camaraderie and collaboration among the generations, Twisp harbors old and new alike. Twisp is located at the confluence of the Twisp River and the Methow River. This is a special and sacred place.
Be sure to check out the Google Map with all of the below listings!
Methow Valley Inn: A welcoming old-world European-style home from the early 1900s refinished with eight rooms, each donning antique wood and handmade iron beds. This cozy inn is romantic and nostalgic and located in downtown Twisp. Their garden is lovely in the summer, visitors and locals alike enjoy the garden walks offered by the Methow Valley Inn.
(234 East 2nd Street Twisp, WA 98856 // 509-997-2253)
Twisp River Suites is pet-friendly and sits on the river right behind the Twisp River Pub. With a modern feel, the Suites are very comfortable. They host music on the weekends downstairs; the Twisp River Suites is also situated downtown in Twisp.
(140 West Twisp Avenue Twisp, WA 98856 // 1-855-784-8328)
I fell in love with the small health food store immediately upon entering. Glover Street Market‘s modest (slightly humorous) claim to sell “pretty good groceries” understates the dedication and love put into stocking the shelves. You will never regret breakfast or lunch at the bar. Fresh (100% organic) ingredients inspired by the seasons make up the breakfast and lunch menu. Have a seat at the bar or out front in their sidewalk seating. They make juice and smoothies to order, sell ice cream by the scoop, serve Blue Star coffee, have a full wine cellar downstairs (with wine tastings on Saturday!), and cheery employees. Glover Street Market also stocks herbs and natural remedies for locals and visitors as well.
(124 North Glover Street Twisp, WA 98856 // 509-997-1320)
LaFonda Lopez makes amazing fajitas. LaFonda means small restaurant, and the Lopez family offers seemingly-ancient family culture in their meals. Their entire Mexican menu is thoroughly thought-out and well prepared. They offer a special every day and the staff is warm and genuine.
(125 N Hwy 29, Twisp, WA 98856 // 509-997-0247)
One of the few fine dining options in the valley, Tappi cooks authentic Italian cuisine, pours full-bodied wine, and wood-fires their pizza. Sit down at the bar and watch the pizza go into the wood-fired oven! Tappi books up quickly, so call for a reservation; a perfect date night, with incredible desserts. The staff eagerly serves, and is well educated on their menu.
(201 Glover Street Twisp, WA 98856 // 509-997-3345)
Twisp River Pub‘s beer selection offers several brewed-in-house options (including ginger ale, rootbeer, raspberry soda and cream soda), features local wines, and dedicates their menu to as much local flora as they can. Their patio overlooks the Twisp River with room for the kids to run around and enjoy the fresh air, and is enclosed by a fence covered in growing hops. Catch a sports game, enjoy music on the patio, check out the evening special, enjoy a local beer on the river.
(201 North Methow Valley Hwy Twisp, WA 98856 // 509-997-6822)
Blue Star Coffee Roasters makes the best cup of coffee in the valley. Hand-roasted in small batches, this coffee is delicious. Blue Star was voted America’s Best Espresso in 2012 in Seattle, WA. The building is industrial, with outdoor seating on a patio. Walking into the coffee shop, one is amassed by the aroma of fresh brew and the bellowed hum of the roaster. Behind the barista through a half-wall glass window you may watch the magic happen by the hands which roast the coffee. They use only organic milk (and the like) products to accompany their delicious coffee. What can I say? Their coffee ignites fervor in me!
(#3 Twisp Airport Road Twisp, WA 98856 // 509-997-2583)
Searching for the Cinnamon Twisp—a doughy, cinnamon-filled and topped decadent treat? Cinnamon Twisp Bakery makes this and several homemade breads and sandwiches, and is located on the main drag in Twisp, North Glover Street. Grab a pastry and walk the street or sit out front, their seating is on the sidewalk—in the summer, you’re guaranteed to strike up a conversation.
(116 North Glover Street Twisp, WA 98856 // 509-997-5030)
Twisp Farmers’ Market: Located in the Methow Valley Community Center parking lot every Saturday from 9 am to noon, April to October. Flourishing agriculture surrounds the Methow Valley. Several artisan vendors meet each week to show and sell their wares; local farmers bring their freshly harvested goods; situated right by a park for the children to play; and tamales!
(201 Methow Street Twisp, WA 98856 // 509-997-2926)
Confluence Gallery & Art Center is the center of the arts in the Methow Valley: the self-proclaimed hub of the arts. They feature original artwork, sculpture, furniture and jewelry in their gift shop. They also host lectures, film screenings, art classes and music concerts.
(104 Glover Street Twisp, WA 98856 // 509-997-2787)
This historic building spent years as the Mercantile furnishing Methow homes for years before the building began idly collecting dust until 1999 when the Merc Playhouse was born. It now offers a blended source of entertainment for the Methow Valley. Check out their website for show schedules.
(101 South Glover Street Twisp, WA 98856 // 509-997-7029)
Methow Arts Alliance is a nonprofit organization devoted to the arts in the region; they offer classes and events and support the arts in the community. This year they began transforming little spaces into “Little Art Libraries” (which I simply adore) – the Little Library in Twisp sits right outside the post office in an old pay phone booth!
(109 2nd Avenue Suites B/C, Twisp, WA 98856 // 509-997-4004)
TwispWorks campus is home to several businesses, individuals and organizations. The name of the campus illustrates how Twisp culture at-large works. Twisp gathers like-minded community members who offer helping hands to one another, and TwispWorks is a microcosm of this spirit.
(502 South Glover Street Twisp, WA 98856 // 509-997-3300)
Looking for your perfect and unique stand-out ring, a wedding band, or even a vow renewal band? Peligro Studio jewelry is handmade by mother-daughter duo Nancy and Hana. Upscale, modern, one-of-a-kind and classic.
(109 North Glover Street Twisp, WA 98856 // 509-669-0238)
Paper goods are my soft spot. I love, love, love ephemera and consistently rotate and decorate my home with lovely prints, letters and general paper goods. Door No. 3 is like a secret portal of bliss, and it’s located in the Methow Valley Community Center across the hall from the Twisp Library and behind walls covered in photos of Twisp elders from their days of yore. Behind Door No. 3 you’ll find greeting cards, journals, prints, a gallery (which recently featured Olympia artist Nikki McClure‘s handcut art), a cursive typewriter and a big, beautiful letterpress studio. They offer classes, too.
(Room three, 201 South Methow Hwy Twisp, WA 98856)
Tess stocks a wide variety of annuals, perennials, vegetable and fruit plants in addition to plenty of garden and home goods in the homemade store Local 98856. I covet the greenhouse in the back where she has unique and classy lawn seating, antique pieces, succulents galore and a truly thriving little ecosystem!
(1017 Methow Valley Hwy E. Twisp, WA 98856 // 509-997-0978)
One of the best rummage sales for thrifting just about everything is the Senior Center (locals call it the Rummage Room), located in the Methow Valley Community Center, open Saturday from 9 am to noon (aligned with the Farmers’ Market hours). It’s like a little flea market with prices that cannot be beat! Be prepared to rummage, though.
(201 Methow Street Twisp, WA 98856 // 509-997-2626)
Winthrop is a western town from the time of the gold rush. The charming theme is tried and true here, through and through. On Riverside Avenue you’re in the heart of downtown and there are many more shops and restaurants than I mention here. These are my favorite places to shop and eat.
Sun Mountain Lodge offers four-season lodging, has lakeside cabin options, a main lodge, a beautiful luxurious spa, and hosts your wedding if you so desire! And it’s close to Patterson Lake, a local favorite (ask about their lakeside cabins).
(604 Patterson Lake RD Winthrop WA 98862 // 1-800-572-0493)
Hotel Rio Vista
This downtown lodging makes it easy to stay in Winthrop and enjoy all that the western town has to offer. Just moments from Rocking Horse Bakery and all the shopping on Riverside Avenue, Hotel Rio Vista is a quick and simple place to stay in the valley, not to mention it overlooks the confluence of the Chewuch River and the Methow River.
(285 Riverside Avenue Winthrop, WA 98862 // 509-996-3535)
Rolling Huts at Wesola Polana are a truly unique experience; akin to treehouse camping, the Rolling Huts are comprised of six huts (called “the herd”) and one farmhouse (the shepherd) overlooking the herd. In a lovely setting (closer to Mazama than Winthrop), the Rolling Huts are certainly a notable place to stay in the valley!
(18381 HWY 20 Winthrop WA 98862 // 509-996-4442)
Arrowleaf Bistro offers farm-to-table style fine dining. Situated on the Chewuch River, the gentle rapids serenade as folks enjoy hand-cut potato fries dipped in garlic aioli, bacon-wrapped dates, a country salad and duck breast with lavender honey. (That’s a sample, because their menu changes with the season and with what’s fresh and local.) This is some of my favorite style food, and at Arrowleaf Bistro, they truly do a fantastic job. This is a must-do while in the valley!
(253 Riverside Ave, Winthrop, WA 98862 // 509-996-3919)
East 20 Pizza makes delicious Brooklyn style pizza. They even offer a fine gluten-free option. Their aesthetic fits right in with the Western theme of Winthrop, and their patio is divine on a hot summer day. They have several beers on draught and serve Lost River Wine. They toss all the classics, build-your-own, and some interesting topping blends.
(720 Highway 20 South Winthrop, WA 98862 // 509-996-3996)
Winthrop Tipi Dinners is a barefoot adventure to behold! Utterly unique, rustic, and if you ever wanted to walk in someone else’s footsteps, this is the place to try. The Methow Bite Award for Best Chef, to boot! The Tipi Dinners offer a 3-course, home-cooked meal and space for 8 guests, singles, couples, and groups.
Old Schoolhouse Brewery was voted best small brewery in Washington state in the 2013 beer awards! Do try the Ruud Awakening IPA, or the Uncle Big’s Brown. They offer locally sourced food when possible, and host local and far-flung musicians.
(155 Riverside Ave. Winthrop, WA 98862 // 509-996-3183)
Lost River Winery
In a beautiful location, this lovely winery is open for tasting Friday, Saturday and Monday.
(26 Hwy 20 Winthrop, WA 98862 // 509-996-2888)
Miniature golf, 40 flavors of homemade ice cream, candy, cinnamon rolls, coffee and an expansive patio makes Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe so sweet! With the largest outside patio in town, Winthrop locals and visitors alike enjoy the sweetness Sheri’s has to offer. Her ice cream was written up in Sunset Magazine, the Boston Globe raves about the cinnamon rolls (handmade daily), and the chocolates are loved in Chocolate Lovers Guide to the Pacific Northwest.
(207 Riverside Avenue Winthrop, WA 98862 // 509-996-3834)
Step into the past in this museum and witness what Winthrop looked like in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Preserved buildings illuminate a time when grit was necessary for living out west. An eye-opening experience.
(285 Castle Road Winthrop, WA 98862 // 509-996-2712)
Located in the heart of downtown in the historic electric co-op building, the Rocking Horse Bakery is among Winthrop’s favorite places to get together. Enjoy lunch here – they offer pizza, quiche, sandwiches or coffee and a muffin – and walk downtown.
(265 Riverside Ave. Winthrop, WA 98862 // 509-996-4241)
A lovely spot for finding inspiration for your home, specifically the kitchen.
(156 Riverside Ave Winthrop, WA 98862 // 509-996-2009)
Winthrop Mountain Sports
If you’re in the Methow for an adventure out of doors, be sure to stock up on any forgotten necessary gear here. It’s packed tight, so leave the big sunhat in the car.
(257 Riverside Ave Winthrop, WA 98862 // 509-996-2886)
Libraries and bookstores are my home-away-from home; I’m immediately comfortable in a place where collections of books rest. The staff at Trails End Bookstore are encouraging, gentle and helpful; they will also special order any book! The section on the Methow is right up front and includes small guidebooks to make your stay more informative. And, they sell plenty of children’s books and on-the-go supplies to make the best of your road trip.
(231 Riverside Ave Winthrop, WA 98862 // 509-996-2345)
The valley is small and often people wonder where to get things like socks, and the French Quail is the spot for these everyday staples with style. They are classic (lots of simple yet stylish duds) and even a little trendy! Their boot selection keeps Winthrop western.
(158 Riverside Winthrop, WA 98862 // 509-996-9935)
Robin’s Egg Bleu is a special antique store. Each nook and cranny is carefully stocked with collectables and fine pieces from the past.
(501 HWY 20 Winthrop, WA 98862 // 509-996-8297)
Mazama is teeny and country and wonderful, in the upper valley. The country store is right on the river and is the main attraction!
Mazama Country Inn is a quaint inn featuring comfortable rooms, renowned “family-style” dinners and occasional evening entertainment.
(15 Country Road | Mazama, WA 98833 // 509-996-2681)
Freestone Inn & Cabins are located in Mazama and nestled right in the mountains. This lovely lodge offers fine lakeside dining, an espresso hut, lake-view rooms, a spa, pool, local draught beer and wine, and is steps away from beautiful hiking trails! They also have full cabin/home rentals if you’re interested in doing it all yourself on vacation!
(31 Early Winters Drive Mazama, WA 98833 // 509-996-3906)
Eat // Shop // Do
This old time general store has it all. Eat pizza on their lovely rock patio. Order a coffee and slowly peruse with purpose every inch of the store. They offer bulk goods and groceries, kitchen wares, my favorite falcon enamelware, cast iron and Methow-made goods. I have yarn hand-carded, spun and dyed from this store. They also offer baskets to make any basket-lover smitten. An enchanted domestic dream of a store.
(50 Lost River Rd Mazama, Wa 98833 // 509-996-2855)
Kelly’s at Wesola Polana
Within the Rolling Huts venue, Kelly’s is a nice place for a quick bite as you’re driving into the lower valley, or a fine destination lunch as you joyride up to Mazama. Kelly’s is well-known around the valley for the wine selection. Come by for a drink with a view!
(18381 Washington 20 Winthrop, WA 98862 // 509-996-9804)
Within Freestone’s quarters, Jack’s Huts provides lunch, snacks, coffee, hot apple cider, cool brews, shopping for outdoor gear and local gear, trail passes, cocktails, beer and wine, wifi internet, and outfits for skiing.
(31 Early Winters Drive Mazama, WA 98833 // 509-996-3906)
The Mazama Country Inn uses fresh, local and organic foods. Serves breakfast and dinner. This lovely little respite on Country Road is sweet and simple.
(15 Country Road Mazama, WA 98833 // 509-996-2646)
Outdoor recreation is a big part of the tourist community in the Valley. Here are some resources for outdoor excursions:
Methow River Raft & Kayak
Wagner Memorial Pool
Pearrygin Lake State Park
North Cascades Fly Fishing
Methow Valley Wilderness School
Bear Creek Golf Course
Morning Glory Balloon Tours
Take the Valley Home
Bluebird Grain Farms
“From Plow to Package”
Winthrop // 509-996-3526
Booth Canyon Orchard
Take a box of Methow fruit home with you.
Twisp-Carlton // email@example.com
Misty Fjord Seafood
Wild salmon direct from fisherman to you!
Winthrop // 509-996-2382
Thomson’s Custom Meats
Local custom meats. (Chris and Diana are so wonderful.)
Twisp // 509-997-9353
Crown S Ranch
“Sustainable Farming & Animal Husbandry”
Between Twisp and Winthrop // 509-341-4144