Jessica Miguel is manager and caretaker of the Mansion Inn in Lake Stevens. Olivia Vanni / The Herald

Jessica Miguel is manager and caretaker of the Mansion Inn in Lake Stevens. Olivia Vanni / The Herald

A puzzle inspired this Victorian-style bed-and-breakfast in Lake Stevens

By Sara Bruestle

Despite its majesty, it’s likely you don’t even know it’s there. On the north shore of Lake Stevens, near Everett, WA, a Victorian beauty reigns.

About a 15-minute stroll from downtown, the Mansion Inn is an award-winning bed-and-breakfast with lake and mountain views on all three floors.

The rambling 10,490-square-foot home features six rooms for rent, a grand staircase in the lobby, two dining rooms, a great room with fireplace, an 11-foot bar, a chef’s kitchen and a pool.

The B&B has earned six Booking.com’s Guest Review Awards, the latest from 2021, but out of nearly 500 guests who booked a room within the last year, only about 20 were from the area. It’s a Lake Stevens secret.

“We have found that 90 percent of the locals don’t know this is here,” said Jessica Miguel, who keeps the inn. “That’s basically nobody.”

While built in the Victorian style, construction of the Mansion Inn at Lake Stevens dates closer to the current king than the former queen. The history of this royal retreat, its exterior draped in cerulean blue and chestnut brown, spans only about two decades.

Most of the rooms boast views of Lake Stevens and the Cascade Range. Olivia Vanni / The Herald

Most of the rooms boast views of Lake Stevens and the Cascade Range. Olivia Vanni / The Herald

The Victorian aesthetic boomed from 1837 to 1901 amid Queen Victoria’s reign in the U.K., with the trend hitting the U.S. about 50 years later.

Nineteenth century architects sought to create complex roof lines — with towers, turrets and dormers — that would pull the eye to the top of the house. These ornately decorated homes are characterized by high pitched roofs, wraparound porches, bay windows, stained glass, decorative trim and bright paint colors.

If you want the house to yourself, you can rent all six rooms — just know that the innkeepers will still be there. The Mansion Inn isn’t run like a vacation rental.

Hosts Jessica and Aaron Miguel live on the third floor and in the carriage house above the garage, whereas the bed and breakfast comprises the first and second floors. The owners’ quarters has five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a kitchen, family room, living room and a jetted-tub room.

The Miguels have been trying to piece together the history of the house since 2021. The thing is, Snohomish County property records tell only so much.

Here’s a piece of the puzzle: The Mansion Inn at Lake Stevens, according to Jessica, was inspired by a puzzle – literally.

Brad and Sherri Whitsell wanted to own a bed-and-breakfast, but the husband and wife couldn’t find a house that they liked in Snohomish County. While shopping in the toy aisle at Fred Meyer, Brad saw a puzzle featuring a Victorian home that looked like the Lake Stevens inn.

The house was exactly what they’d been searching for, so Brad bought the puzzle, took it home to Sherri and said, “Honey, I found our house.”

After purchasing a half-acre lot on Mitchell Drive, the Whitsells hired a father-and-son contractor to design and build the inn. The garage with carriage house was built in 2000, and so the owners lived there, while the bed and breakfast was under construction. Four years later, the Lake Stevens inn was open for business.

Whether historical restorations or modern reproductions, there’s one thing these Victorian homes have in common — there’s no lack of character.

“It’s perfect for a weekend getaway,” Jessica Miguel said. “Maybe you just need a night out. Relax in your room, enjoy a nice hot breakfast, take in the views.”

Jessica’s father, Stephen Tracy, purchased the inn in 2021, the latest of about 10 who’ve owned the house, according to property records.

“I was curious about it for about a year and a half,” Tracy said. “I fell in love with it the moment I walked through the doors. When I found out that it was for sale, and that it was a running business, that’s when I realized I had to have it.”

Looking northeast from the Mansion Inn toward Lake Stevens and the Cascades. Olivia Vanni / The Herald

Looking northeast from the Mansion Inn toward Lake Stevens and the Cascades. Olivia Vanni / The Herald

It just so happens that hospitality is Tracy’s line of work. He also owns the Creekside Alehouse & Grill in Lake Stevens and Chan’s Place, with locations in Woodinville and Issaquah.

Tracy, of Woodinville, asked the Miguels to move from Las Vegas to Lake Stevens to run the B&B. He wanted his daughter, son-in-law and grandkids to live closer to him — and this was a business opportunity for all of them.

Just as Tracy hoped, the Mansion Inn is a family-run business. While Jessica, 45, and Aaron, 47, are the innkeepers, their kids, Cody, 25, and Adelaide, 15, help them prepare the rooms for guests each day. The four split the long list of chores — they’ve learned to specialize their cleaning and maintenance tasks.

“It’s a busy life, but it’s a good life,” Jessica Miguel said. “I mean, look out the window at that view. It really is nice.”

From the home’s many windows, you can see the blue expanse of the city’s namesake – the largest natural lake in the county – rimmed by beaches and boat launches. If not the activity from canoes, jet skis, sailboats, surfboards, rowboats and windsurfers, you can take in the grandeur of the Cascade Range.

After taking over the inn, the Miguels bought all new mattresses, bedding and towels. They also moved the laundry room to the second floor so no stairs are involved between loads of sheets and towels.

Though she’s no chef, Jessica whips up a hot breakfast from the chef’s kitchen. Breakfast is served at 9 a.m. every day.

“I cook old-fashioned breakfasts like my grandma used to make — biscuits and gravy, fruit, scrambled eggs and the like — and our guests tend to love it,” she said.

If you don’t want to take breakfast in one of the dining rooms, you can find a seat at one of three patio tables on the wraparound porch. It’s a favorite breakfast spot among guests.

Can’t make the 9 a.m. breakfast? The inn also offers a to-go menu with toast and jam, bagels and cream cheese, muffins, etc.

Tracy said the Miguels’ job is to make you feel like you’re staying in a quaint B&B even though the house itself is, well, massive.

“We try to keep it homey,” he said. “They’re doing a beautiful job. The place is beautiful all the time.”

If you go

The Mansion Inn, 1513 Mitchell Dr., Lake Stevens, is a bed and breakfast in a Victorian-style inn at Lake Stevens. Six rooms are available for booking, all with their own private bathroom, TV, fan and a hairdryer. Visit mansioninnlakestevens.com to book your stay in one of six available rooms. Check-in is at 3 p.m. and check-out is at 11 a.m. Breakfast is served at 9 a.m. Please BYOB — the bar is stocked with everything but the liquor. The pool isn’t open to guests at this time.

Call 425-610-4746 or email info@mansioninnlakestevens.com for more information.

Sound & Summit

This article is featured in the spring issue of Sound & Summit, a supplement of The Daily Herald that invites you to explore Snohomish and Island counties with each quarterly magazine.

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