This time of year, with graduations, weddings, and family reunions, many Evergreen and Conifer residents call on Vicki Bock, innkeeper of the historic Bears Inn, for help with their out of town guests. The Bears Inn, built in 1928 and formerly part of the Marshdale Lodge Resort, holds the distinction as Evergreen’s oldest lodging facility with continuous operations. Vicki bought the Inn in 2002 and has been dedicated to maintaining the structural integrity and charm of the building while updating it for the modern traveler. This can be a rather daunting task with a building that is almost a hundred years old.
Under Vicki’s stewardship, the entire Bears Inn has become an amazing work of art with beautifully appointed antiques and tastefully chosen objects gathered during her extensive travels throughout the world. She has the rare knack of making her living spaces rustically beautiful but genuinely comfy and cozy at the same time. Her love of the building and the surrounding grounds are continuously displayed in the tone of her voice and the sparkle in her eyes as she gleefully describes her newest decorating project for the Inn.
Over the years since she bought the Inn, Vicki has hired many Evergreen and Conifer teenagers – particularly young women – to help her staff the Inn. She counts this as an unexpected blessing of her new career. Often working at the Inn is one of their first part-time jobs. She carefully tutors them on her requirements (and she is pretty exacting!) for excellent customer service, cleanliness and attention to detail. Vicki gets a lot of enjoyment out of the opportunity to mentor these teenage girls, guide them on proper business practices, and give them a listening ear as they process their typical teenage issues. Even after they go to college, many of them come back during holidays and summer after summer to hone their skills and learn more about the hospitality business.
Prior to obtaining the Inn, Vicki was a very successful business woman working in the insurance field as a manager for State Farm. Although she initially enjoyed her success and the fast-pace of corporate live, she began to yearn for quiet, a simpler life and an opportunity to express her considerable artistic skills. She took the plunge and bought the Bears Inn. At first she also continued working because she had to keep the money coming in, but eventually decided to focus entirely on her role as innkeeper extraordinaire. She has never regretted that decision, and all the locals who count on her to make their out-of-town guests at home are grateful she was courageous enough to follow her dream. Customers rave about her famous delicious breakfasts and she knows just how to make people at home while giving them the privacy they desire.
Vicki is one of those rare people with an exquisite, unfailing eye for color, fabric, texture and unique uses of materials. She is passionate about “repurposing” objects she finds at antique stores, second-hand stores, the dump, and out in the woods. Both her home and her inn reflect her commitment to environmental concerns as she would rather take a discarded container and transform into a delightful pot for plants or quirky umbrella stand than buy something new.
Vicki’s creativity is also demonstrated in the wonderful artistic way she dresses. She is also likely to “repurpose” a familiar, ordinary object and turn it into a piece of jewelry. All her friends eagerly await her at parties or Rotary club meetings because she’ll often come in with a sassy new hat (her signature look) and her unique, and casual rendition of current clothing trends. It’s great fun to have Vicki as a part of our Evergreen community.