We headed to Winthrop and the North Cascades National Park for Labor Day weekend, exploring as much as we could of the surrounding area during our long weekend getaway.
Winthrop was our base once we got to the eastern side of the mountains, and while we didn’t spend a ton of time there, we did get to experience a little bit of the town before heading to bed each night.
We had skipped lunch and were a little off on our eating schedule so we decided to do a little pub crawl to whet our appetite before finding a place for dinner.
Everything in downtown Winthrop is designed to look like its part of an old western town.
We admired the townhall and a number of shops as we walked the elevated boardwalk to the Copper Glance, which was supposed to have the best cocktails in town.
We didn’t try them anywhere else to make the comparison, but the ones we had at the Copper Glance were very good! We grabbed a small table outside and shared a small and very tasty caprese salad while we enjoyed our drinks and the people walking by.
Across the street was the Old Schoolhouse Brewery, which I knew Brian wanted to try, but it was packed with an hour+ wait. We asked the bartender about live music, thinking if they only had a band that night we would stick it out, but he said there would be a band again the following night so we decided we would try again the next day and at an earlier hour so we could beat the crowd.
We skipped the brewery and walked a little way west of town to the Methow Valley Ciderhouse, which was a wonderful, unassuming little place packed full of people of all ages both inside at the bar and outside on the porch. As we approached we could start to hear music, and we quickly grabbed seats outside when we realized they had a guitarist set up in the corner of the porch.
We ordered a sampler of their ciders and a small bowl of popcorn and thoroughly enjoyed the music—the guy was an awesome guitar player. He was charismatic and performed a perfect balance of covers and originals. Everyone was singing and clapping along and having a great time.
We probably could have sat there all night but we were ready for dinner and didn’t want to stay up too late given everything we wanted to accomplish the next day.
Our last stop that evening was our hotel—the Duck Brand Hotel and Cantina—for dinner.
The place has super simple accommodations and with better management, it could really be something. The first floor has a large cantina with indoor and outdoor seating, and the second floor has several hotel rooms with balconies overlooking the cantina and town.
It’s a fun set-up—who doesn’t like being able to walk right upstairs to bed?!—and lots of people like margaritas and Mexican food.
The place was really busy, but our food and drinks weren’t great. There’s another Mexican restaurant in town so I’m a little concerned this place might not make it.
In any case, we finished our meal and turned in at a decent time so we could get up early the next day.
Our second day in Winthrop we woke up to a ghost town. We got ready and I spent a little time walking around on our balcony taking pictures of the town.
The sun was still coming up, it was a little bit cool out, and we walked around, checking out the shops and taking pictures long before other people were awake or making their way out to breakfast.
It was quiet and empty, and we were able to enjoy taking everything in without having to fight people or traffic before heading to Twisp for breakfast.
After a full day of exploring Twisp and hiking part of the Pacific Crest Trail we finished our second day back in town and checked out the Lost River Winery Tasting Room, which was right next to the cider house.
They were wrapping things up so we shared a quick tasting before deciding to purchase a bottle and a bag of their red blend, which we’ll need to enjoy some time when we’re hosting company. I don’t think I’ve ever had bagged wine, but they sold Brian on the packaging and price so pretty soon I’ll be able to cross that off my list!
After the winery we popped in Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe for some chocolates and then took all of our purchases back to the room. We did a quick change and then headed back out for our final evening on the town. The sun was just starting to sink toward the Cascade Mountains, which soaked the town in a beautiful light.
Our timing was much better this evening and we arrived at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery with plenty of time to order a sampler and put our name in for outdoor dinner seating while the band was still setting up. While we waited for a table, we stood on a small outdoor balcony with a great view of the stage and the people eating on the patio below. If we hadn’t wanted dinner, we probably would have just stayed up in that beer garden area and enjoyed the band—it was a great option.
Another couple was seated at a table for four and they asked them if they would be willing to share with us so we could all be seated and starting on dinner once the band was ready. Thankfully they said yes so we were able to make a couple of friends while we waited on our food.
It was fun watching the band get set up and we couldn’t get over how much one of the band mates looked like Brian’s brother (photo comparison below–Brian’s brother on the right).
It was such a fun place—the burgers really hit the spot and the band was excellent. I held out on finishing my fries for as long as possible, knowing we would get kicked out of our seats once we were finished, but appreciating that all good things must come to an end. It was the perfect way to end our last evening in Winthrop.