Unusual lodgings for family vacation include houseboat

April 2011 News Lynn O'Rourke Hayes - The Dallas Morning News

On your next holiday, stay somewhere surprising. Here are five out-of-the-ordinary options.

1. Kokopelli's Cave Bed & Breakfast, Farmington, N.M. - Not far from the Four Corners where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah converge, you'll find this underground sanctuary originally created as a one-of-a-kind office for a geologist. Creature comforts include a waterfall-style shower and whirlpool tub. Southwestern-style furnishings fill the 1,650-square-foot lodging carved into sandstone 70 feet below the surface. Oatmeal, fresh fruit and muffins are provided for breakfast. You'll also find plenty in the cave fridge to create a picnic lunch. Bring your own food to grill and enjoy cooking on the balcony while enjoying sweeping views of the surrounding landscape. The cave entrance is a 10-minute hike from the parking area. Recommended for children 8 and older.

Contact: 505-860-3812; bbonline.com/nm/kokopelli

2. Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica - No boarding passes are required when your family checks into this refurbished Boeing 727 fuselage at Hotel Costa Verde. In the jungle minutes from the Manuel Antonio National Park, the unique lodging once served as a transport for South African Airways. The aircraft now rests atop a 50-foot-tall pedestal, offering magnificent views of the treetops and ocean in the distance. Kids will love telling their friends about being on the deck and communing with toucans, squirrel monkeys and sloths. Sleeps six in two air-conditioned bedrooms.

Contact: 866-854-7958; costa verde.com/727.html

3. Big Bay Lighthouse, Big Bay, Mich. - Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this lighthouse is run by three avid preservationists eager to share local history. Their goal is to maintain the romance of an era when mariners relied on the skill of a light keeper to bring them safely through this challenging stretch of Michigan coastline. Today, visitors enjoy the solitude of the pristine location on Lake Superior. Hiking, biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are available on 40 acres of trails. A full breakfast is included. For safety reasons, children must be 16 or older.

Contact: 906-345-9957; bigbaylighthouse.com. More lighthouses that welcome overnight guests: uslhs.org.

4. Houseboat holiday, Boston - Book the 58-foot-long Cuckoo's Nest houseboat docked in Boston's Charlestown Navy Yard to begin your floating holiday. Fall asleep to the sounds of waves lapping in the harbor. Relax on the rooftop sun deck, then hop aboard a free shuttle bus, water taxi or water shuttle and head into the city for sightseeing and dinner. Children and pets are welcome. Explore houseboat getaway options in Baltimore, Annapolis, Md., and Philadelphia.

Contact: 413-652-1400; sleepafloat.com

5. Mary Jane's Farm, Moscow, Idaho - Check into a stylish wall tent on Mary Jane Butters' farm, and the worries of the world melt away. Gather your own eggs for breakfast. Pick vegetables you'll enjoy for lunch. Visit the library housed in a barn. Burn calories helping with farm chores. Relax in the outdoor living room nestled in a grove of plum trees. Go for a hike or play cards or board games. Later, wash up in the outdoor tub or showers.

Contact: 888-750-6004; www. maryjanesfarm.org


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