By Kathy Montgomery | Photograph by John Burcham
Ann Masterson was 8 when she decided to eat her way across Europe. After she grew up, she did. That’s quickly apparent to anyone who sets foot inside the Alpine Inn Bed & Breakfast, where photos of those culinary adventures pepper the walls.
It’s also apparent from the inn’s breakfasts, which include made-from-scratch breads and muffins, as well as Ann’s unusual signature dish: flatbread spread with cream cheese and chives, and topped with smoked sausage, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, an egg and a sweet chile sauce.
Situated just off U.S. Route 180 in the remote White Mountains community of Alpine, the inn is an easy walk from the small town’s shops and restaurants. Built as a B&B in 2001, the two-story building was designed to resemble a 19th century home, with 9-foot ceilings, a porch and bay windows.
Ann and her husband, Burke, both retired Army vets, had no intention of becoming innkeepers. They were looking for a small seasonal cabin where Burke’s father could spend his summers. But every property they pursued fell through.
Their real estate agent insisted they look at the B&B. They loved the early 20th century post-and-beam barn and fruit cellar constructed with wood from historic Fort Bush. But the large, well-equipped kitchen clinched the deal.
The Mastersons still weren’t sure they wanted to run a B&B when they hosted their first paying guests — two returning couples who had met on a previous stay — on July 4, 2010. To their surprise, they loved it.
“We had the best weekend ever,” Ann recalls. “We said, ‘You know what? We’re going to do this.’ ”
The Mastersons remodeled the inn’s three guest rooms, updating the bathrooms and expanding the showers. They bought high-quality linens and towels, installed antiques they brought back from Germany, and spent several days in each room, discovering things that didn’t work and making changes.
Under their ownership, the inn developed a loyal clientele of mountain bikers, birders, nature photographers and anglers, even after the Wallow Fire devastated the Alpine area’s tourism during their second year.
The most popular guest room is the Noble Mountain Suite, overlooking the mountain for which it was named. The large, comfortable room contains a king-size sleigh bed, private balcony, writing desk and seating area with matching recliners.
Since hosting their first guests, the Mastersons haven’t looked back. Now, from April through Veterans Day, they host people from all over the world who enjoy the fruits of their labor — not the least of which are some of the best breakfasts in town.
Alpine Inn Bed & Breakfast is located at County Road 2053, No. 3, in Alpine. For more information, call 520-678-5043 or visit www.alpineinnaz.com.