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Abel House to close its doors — at least for now

David Haerle | The Vidette  Jerry and Beth Reeves stand outside the historic Abel House, which they have run as a bed and breakfast for the past 14 years. They are retiring and moving to Peoria, Ariz.
David Haerle | The Vidette Jerry and Beth Reeves stand outside the historic Abel House, which they have run as a bed and breakfast for the past 14 years. They are retiring and moving to Peoria, Ariz.
David Haerle | The Vidette  The Abel House is on the real estate market. Current asking price is $388,000.
David Haerle | The Vidette The Abel House is on the real estate market. Current asking price is $388,000.

The Abel House, one of the county’s few successful, long-running bed and breakfast inns, has ceased operation and will close its doors in a week or two.

Owned and operated by Beth and Jerry Reeves for the past 14 years, the Abel House bid adieu to its final guests of their tenure here in mid-September. The couple is selling the 5,000-square-foot, six-bedroom mansion and retiring to Peoria, Ariz. Current asking price is $388,000. It’s been on the market since April.

The Abel House was built in 1908 by prominent local attorney William H. Abel. He was born in Sussex, England, in 1870 and came to Montesano in 1892 and began practicing law here in 1894. The Montesano public library was named in his honor. The exterior of the house is made from sandstone quarried locally and the interior is carpentered with old-growth lumber and includes lots of ornate built-in woodwork. The house sits on a half-acre lot dotted with mature fruit trees.

Originally, the house cost William Abel a whopping $8,000.

Whether it will ever open again as a bed and breakfast, the Reeves said that will depend on the buyer. They are leaving the house furnished for now. They are hoping the house will be sold by May and plan to return then to possibly auction off the remaining contents of the home after a moving sale this past weekend.

They said business was good this past tourist season, but it’s simply time to retire to warmer climates and better golf courses.

“I’m 71. That seems like a darn good reason (to retire) to me,” said Beth Reeves. “The older I get, the harder it gets to keep the quality up here.”

They are moving to a 1,450-square-foot home nestled between two golf courses.

Beth plans to take yoga and eventually graduate from that into something more rigorous — like tap dancing.

Jerry plans to play a lot of golf and catch up on his reading.

“It’s been ages since I’ve just been able to sit down and read a good book,” Jerry said. “I’m really looking forward to that.”

And they are looking forward to the layout of their new, much smaller home.

“There’s not a single stair in that house,” said Jerry Reeves with a sigh of relief. The Abel House has 37 stairs from first to third floor and another 14 down to the basement.

“We do these stairs all day long, every day,” he said.

They may not miss the stairs, but they will sorely miss Montesano and their loyal guests.

“I love the community and I love the people we met here,” said Beth. “And our guests have just been superior.”

“I’m going to miss Montesano,” said Jerry. “I’m going to miss the people here.”

How did the inn’s many loyal customers take the news?

“They’re distraught,” said Jerry. “It’s the end of an era … But I think we’ve had the cream of the crop as far as clients go. They loved it here. It a very safe town and it’s centrally located. You’re really no more than two hours to anywhere in Western Washington.”

Jerry said that over 14 years of operation, there has never been any sort of incident that had to involve police or a single problem with a guest’s credit card. Rooms at the Abel House cost $100 to $130 per night this past season. Besides renting rooms, the Abel House has also been a destination for Election Day parties — for both political parties.

“Montesano is a much better location and destination than most people realize,” Jerry said.

Both Jerry and Beth are hoping new buyers will re-open the bed and breakfast, but that’s out of their hands.

“We’re setting it up to show as a bed and breakfast or home, and we’ll likely be back in May to auction off what’s left. Hopefully it will be sold by then,” said Beth. “It’s just a lovely, lovely home.”

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