The History of the Inn at Penn Cove

Inn at Penn Cove buildings


In historic Coupeville, Washington (founded 1853),on the southern shore of Penn Cove in the heart of Whidbey Island, many homes dating to the late 19th century found renewal and new purposes in the last quarter of the 20th century.  Among these were the Kineth House (at left in the image above, which dates to 1995) built in the Italianate style in 1887 for John and Jane Kineth, and the Coupe-Gillespie House (on the right, above), built in 1891 for Keturah Coupe, daughter of Coupeville's namesake, Capt. Thomas Coupe, and her new husband James Gillespie). 

The Kineth House was lovingly restored during the 1980's by a local couple, the Harveys.  At the end of that eventful decade it was purchased by a couple seeking to escape the hectic life of Southern California, Jim and Barbara Cinney.  The Cinneys also bought the Coupe-Gillespie House, which then resided at the corner of 4th and Kinney in Coupeville, and moved it several blocks to take up its current location.  As the new and promising decade of the 1990's began (literally: it was New Year's!), Jim and Barbara opened up a Bed & Breakfast Inn in these two sister buildings, and called it The Inn at Penn Cove. 

Three years later, the Cinneys sold the Inn at Penn Cove to
Gladys and Mitchell Howard, who moved to Coupeville all the way from Providence, Rhode Island, with their then-five-year-old son, Theodore.  Gladys and Mitchell, General Partners in the Howard Limited Partnership for the Inn at Penn Cove, carried on as the innkeepers for fourteen years, before retiring from active roles in the hospitality world at the end of 2006. 

Prior to coming to Coupeville, Gladys had lived in Alaska, Japan, Missouri, Georgia, New Jersey and Rhode Island as well as the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York she grew up in. She has been a museum docent, special educator, church organist and music tutor, and, during her Whidbey Island years, has also been involved in local musical groupings, playing the recorder.  Gladys and Mitchell, though they met and married in Upstate New York, were both born in the same Manhattan hospital, so they are native to the island life.  

Mitchell has been a parish minister, a church conference center director --even bass player in a country band!  Pre-Coupeville, he has also lived in California, Georgia, New Jersey, Rhode Island and the Adirondack Mountains of New York State.  He has a published volume of poetry, Always Seeking the Edge (available online from Barnes & ).  During his Coupeville years, he served ten years on the Central Whidbey Chamber of Commerce board (two as President), and was elected to two full four-year terms on the Coupeville School District board, serving one year as President). 

Their son Theodore graduated from Coupeville High School in 2005 after many eclectic parts in the plays put on by the WolfPAC Theatre Troupe at the school, and went off to attend  UC Santa Barbara.  The Howards, early in 2006, sold the Kineth and Coupe-Gillespie Houses, which are now the core of the Blue Goose Inn of Coupeville. They now live not far from Coupeville, near the western shores of Whidbey Island.  The Howard Limited Partnership for the Inn at Penn Cove now owns the Jenne House, nearby to their old Inn, which houses The Cove Thai Cuisine, where Janjira and Aroon creates a special dining experience for locals and visitors, and four guest rooms, which are managed, since January 2009, by Mike Diamanti.