In 1976 Bill Nickell and Lauren Bauman (that’s us) arranged to rent one of the rustic cabins, were married, and shortly had the good fortune of purchasing the property. Our two children, now adults, were born and raised here. For many years Bill and I commuted to Yosemite and the surrounding communities, working at whatever jobs we could to provide us the income necessary to purchase this extraordinary property. Bill generally worked in construction and carpentry, honing his trade doing side jobs while also doing construction for the government in Yosemite and elsewhere. I worked and learned the hotel business, including housekeeping, front office and hotel management, and eventually ended up in the professional kitchen where my true passion for cooking blossomed.
Much time was devoted to improvements which allowed for year round occupancy of our property. Establishing an effective system to provide indoor running water, including the winter months was one of our first tasks. Next, foundations under the main house as well as the cabins were in order. All the structures had been sitting right on the dirt. The foundation projects entailed the grueling job of digging under buildings, jacking them up, and then pouring concrete.
Many years have passed. The multitude of restoration, renovation and construction projects Bill has performed are miraculous. His expert craftsmanship and attention to detail are evidenced throughout the architecture of all three of the cabins as well as in many areas not seen. An incredibly talented master carpenter/ craftsman, Bill has put his heart and soul into Sunset Inn.
For 6 years, beginning in 1993, I operated an out-of-the-way, bakery in what has later become the “bungalow cabin”, catering to many of the local eateries, and also creating custom designer wedding cakes for innumerable weddings in the Yosemite area. This provided the rare opportunity for me to work at home when our children were young, while developing my culinary baking skills. I loved it!
In 2014 our daughter, Amelia opened her own bakery just outside Groveland! Imagine that! Tangled Hearts Bakery is a great spot to stop on the way to Yosemite, for fabulous baked goods as well as breakfast and lunch items, 8 minutes east of Groveland, 20 minutes west from Sunset Inn, right off Highway 120 at the east end of Ferretti Road.
We reestablished the “Inn” in 1998, and have since thoroughly enjoyed welcoming guests from all over the world to this unique spot. We have continuously worked on upgrading and improving Sunset Inn. In 2000 we finally managed to convince Pacific Bell that we needed an actual phone line. This turned out to be a very worthwhile investment after so many years with no phone connection to the outside world.
Much remodeling as well as constant maintenance has ensued over the years. The bungalow cabin, Meadow Lark was remodeled completely transformed into a beautiful and very comfortable cabin. We were so inspired, the following winter we also remodeled our secluded Sugar Pine Cabin. The kitchen was enhanced and the bathroom enlarged with a beautiful, full size granite-look shower and 2 skylights. Thanks to guest comments (we do listen) we also enhanced the Larkspur Cabin with a stunning hardwood floor and pine ceiling as well as beautiful lighting. Recently we have had the pleasure of engaging a master stone mason to build beautiful, natural stone stairs and walkways, and rock walls, as well as a stone patio, enhancing the BBQ area for the Larkspur Cabin. We are so pleased and proud to share these beautiful cabins with our guests and friends. We hope to some day redo our own house so expertly.
Sunset Inn has become our home and our heart. The beauty, the tranquility and the peace only found in nature have inspired us to be totally dedicated to our incredible home. Knowing what a wondrous place this is, we thoroughly enjoy sharing it with others.
We hope you too will make the journey and find out for yourself what so many others have treasured in Sunset Inn.
Lauren & Bill Nickell
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