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Summer Travel: Unique Hotel Accommodations

Summer Travel: Unique Hotel Accommodations
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BY MYRA FAYE TURNER

When making travel plans, do you sometimes look for unique attractions to visit?  I’m guessing you probably do. I’m also guessing you probably don’t give much thought to where you’ll rest your weary head at the end of the day— other than wondering if you can get a discount. For your next trip you could stay at a stale chain hotel, rent an entire house on Airbnb, or snuggle up on a friends’ pull out sofa. Or you can look for unusual hotel accommodations that are just as exciting as the attractions you’re visiting.

There are many quirky places to spend a night or two. Most are housed in structures originally built for other purposes but have now found a new life. You can find these gems sprinkled across the country. Here’s six to get you started.

Red Caboose Motel & Restaurant

When I was a kid, I lived near the railroad tracks and I often imagined jumping on a train headed to places unknown, living the life of a hobo. Fortunately, I quickly outgrew that fantasy, but I still think train travel is fascinating.

Myra - red caboose 2 Myra Red Caboose

If you’re a fan of trains and want to sleep in one without riding the rails, then you should check out the Red Caboose Motel. Located in Ronks, Pennsylvania, this themed hotel opened in 1970 with 19 red cabooses. Today, you can sleep in one of 38 cabooses, a baggage or mail car — all in various colors.  There are eight floorplans: large family, medium family, small family, couples, honeymoon, double double, baggage car, and farmhouse suite.

Rates start at $85 a night, with amenities including microwave, refrigerator, flat screen TV, free Wi-Fi, and private bathrooms. The cabooses aren’t handicapped accessible and you’ll have to leave your pets and cigarettes at home (or in your car—your smokes, not your pets!).

Casey Jones’ Restaurant is an onsite and serves trained-themed specials. For breakfast try the Hungry Engineer, Rio Grande, and Baily Yard Worker. For lunch grab a Caboose or Southern Rails burger. Dinner features hearty meals like chicken potpie, meatloaf, steaks, and turkey. A kids’ menu is also available.

Activities include movies in the barn, live entertainment, a petting zoo, and an Amish buggy ride.

The Liberty Hotel

While most of us are trying hard to stay out of jail, there’s an upscale hotel located in Boston’s Beacon Hill section that wants you to stay a night or two in the clink. The Liberty Hotel is housed in the former Charles Street jail, a national historic landmark, built in 1851.

The hotel features 298 rooms, five restaurants and bars, and 6,000 square feet of meeting and event space. The architecturally stunning hotel features a 24-hour fitness center, 24-hour in-room dining, a concierge service, and in-room bar. The Liberty is dog-friendly and offers seasonal complimentary bikes for guests to roam about town. There’s also live entertainment and weekly events to keep you busy.

Photo credit: Liberty Hotel

Photo credit: Liberty Hotel

Specials include Valentine’s Day and Winter Wonderland packages. They also offer a special where your room rate is equal to your birth year. Here’s how it works.  The first night’s stay starts at $299 and for the second and third night, you pay your birth year plus $100. I was born in 1964, so I would pay $164, for example.

Restaurants include CLINK, serving brunch, lunch, and dinner. Private dining is available. If you feel like getting your drink on, try Alibi housed in the old drunk tank.

The Shady Dell

Bisbee, Arizona is home to the Shady Dell vintage trailer park. You can sleep in one of 9 authentic trailers including a 1947 Tiki Bus and a 1949 Airstream.

Rates are affordable, starting at $85 a night but they are only open seasonally; they are closed during the summer and winter months. No pets or youngsters under 15 allowed. If you smoke, you’ll have to do it outside in designated areas.

Photo Credit: Flickr/Whitney H

Photo Credit: Flickr/Whitney H

If you want to rough it without being too close to nature, the Shady Dell is a good option. The trailers sleep two people and come equipped with a small refrigerator and coffee percolator (yes!). There’s no cooking inside, but there are grills outside. Some trailers have a toilet and sink but there are bathroom facilities onsite.

If you feel like venturing out, the surrounding areas offers activities like ghost and mine tours. There’s also a vineyard nearby.

Dog Bark Park Inn

If you love dogs, you’ll love this next accommodation. Located in Cottonwood, Idaho, this bed and breakfast is located inside a large beagle. The space is for one group only, so you’ll have the place to yourself during your stay. It sleeps four — there’s a queen bed on the main floor and two twin foldout futon mattresses in the loft area. Also included is a full bath, microwave, small refrigerator, breakfast, and coffee maker.

Photo credit: Dog Bark Park

Photo credit: Dog Bark Park

Myra - dog bark 2

There are no phones or televisions in the space but Wi-Fi is available. You can book accommodations between April 1 – October 31. Rates are $124 per night for double occupancy; $118 for single. There’s a $10 charge for each additional person. Pets are okay with prior approval and please no smoking inside or on the deck.

Dog Bark opened in 1997 by husband and wife artists Dennis J. Sullivan and Frances Conklin. Be sure to check out their gift shop. If you’re looking for local activities, there’s horseback riding, hiking, a drive-in movie, and a state park nearby.

McMenamins Kennedy School

Everything I know about Portland, I learned from watching NBC’s Grimm. Portland is definitely on my bucket list of places I want to visit (or retire to). If you’re passing through or visiting Portland, consider going back to school. The Kennedy School hotel is in a former elementary school and for once you can sleep in school and not get in trouble. Some of the 57 rooms are former classrooms, complete with chalkboards and cloakrooms. The remaining rooms are all literary-themed.

Photo Credits: McMenamins

Photo Credits: McMenamins

Myra Kennedy school 2

The rooms don’t have TVs but the hotel offers free Wi-Fi and your furry, four-legged friends are welcome. There’s a lot to do without ever leaving the hotel. There’s a movie theater, live entertainment, and special events. There’s also a brewery, gift shop, and pool. There are several restaurants and bars including the Boiler Room, a bar housed in the former boiler room and The Courtyard Restaurant, operating in the school’s former cafeteria (serving breakfast, lunch, happy hour and dinner).

You can find more quirky accommodations by doing a quick Internet search or check with your travel agent. Happy travels!

 

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