Happy 20th Birthday

Twenty years ago the Outside Inn opened its doors and welcomed folks to check out the new and improved Airway Motel.  The motel has had a lot of history, but when my mother, Evans Phelps, took ownership of the property in the winter of 1997 she had a lot of work ahead of her.  After months of renovations and construction, the Inn opened for business in June of 1998.

My sister, Megan Michelson, remembered looking back, “Why was she trying to buy this dumpy motel? But she had such a vision. She saw its potential when nobody else did. And they worked so hard to turn it around, gutting everything but somehow keeping its historical charm. It was like Field of Dreams. If you build it, they will come. People showed up and loved it. And it was such a family affair from day one. Mom teaching me hospital corners to make beds, how to fold fitted sheets, and how to clean windows with newspaper so they didn’t streak and vinegar to clean the floors. She hired all my high school friends, even though we were terrible cleaners. We needed summer jobs. I remember roll practice in the pool for local kayakers, bike washing station and outdoor shower for mountain bikers, the big wall sized map with all the trails, so people could find their way and have an adventure all their own. It wasn’t so much a motel, a place to sleep, but a gathering spot for people who wanted to experience what Nevada City had to offer – the shops, the restaurants, the river. It still is that today, thanks to you.”

I’m honored to be able to continue the family legacy of business for the last 7 1/2 years.  I love that people feel at home when they come to visit us, whether it’s the unique furnishings in the rooms, to the ceramic coffee cups or the local photographs on the wall.  I love seeing the families grow, from the couple who got engaged while staying at the motel, who returns years later with their children, to the grandparents who come to come for the 1st birthday all the way through to the high school graduations.  I feel honored that the Outside Inn has touched so many people’s lives, whether it was the first place they stayed when they came to Nevada City, or they visited with us for a family member’s wedding or their annual summer vacation.  So thank you, to all of you, for being a part of this journey.  My mother had the vision, but it has taken countless people over the years to be a part of the larger Outside Inn family, so thank you. 

© 2018 InnSide Nevada City, Photos © by Erica Rewey and Evans Phelps

5 replies
  1. Elenita Duelo
    Elenita Duelo says:

    Happy Anniversary!
    My husband and I stayed with you in 2011, Christmas time and loved everything about our stay. Little did we know that in July of 2014 we would buy a house in the area. In May of 2015 we moved in full time, couldn’t be happier!

    I love your blog and how you promote both Grass Valley and Nevada City (and the whole area). We are truly blessed to call Nevada County ‘Home’.

  2. Virginia Lee
    Virginia Lee says:

    It means the world to your mom, Evans, that you have embraced the spirit of the Outside Inn. Do glad you are carrying the torch, Erin. Thanks for your eloquent and heartfelt words, as well as your amazing photographs. Each one is worth at least 1,000 words.

  3. Lisa Johnson
    Lisa Johnson says:

    Kudos to all of you for your unique style and to all you contribute to our community. ❤️

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