Shelly and Keith Bolyard recently splashed their new Harbor Cottage houseboat in Lake Ouachita, Ark., and they couldn’t be more excited to experience their new vacation home with their kids and grandkids.
The houseboat has five bedrooms and two baths, so there will be plenty of room for the Bolyards’ four young adult children ranging from ages 21 to 35-years-old and their three toddler grandchildren known as “The Littles.”
The Bolyards named the boat Retreet, which holds a special significance to them since it’s a play on the word retreat, as in “a place to get away,” and the word tree, as in “family tree” or “tree of life.” Obviously, family is the Boyards’ number one priority, and as such, the houseboat was fashioned to serve as a multi-generational retreat for the entire family to enjoy. The boat even has some minimalistic, mid-century décor and a few tree-themed decorations.
Shelly and Keith live in Booneville, Ark., just an hour-and-a-half away from their houseboat docked at Mountain Harbor Resort on Lake Ouachita. They were both born and raised in Booneville and have been together since they were 15-years-old.
The Bolyards have been visiting Lake Ouachita for about 12 years now. They started out at the lake with a doublewide trailer and then later purchased a four-bedroom lake house. Then one day while they were down at the dock, they noticed an old houseboat for sale. Instantly smitten, the couple bought it that same day and started restoring it.
“We liked being down on the water so much that we ended up selling the big house and staying down on the water in the little old houseboat,” laughed Shelly.
Eventually the Bolyards outgrew the small houseboat as their children grew up and started to get married and have children. They knew it was time for an upgrade, so that started doing some research.
They found Harbor Cottages online and they flew out to Kentucky to tour the display boats. Shelly said the team at Harbor Cottages was a delight to work with and they made the entire process easy. She particularly liked the customization that came with building their boat.
“You get to go through the whole thing just like you’re building a house,” explained Shelly. “You pick out your flooring materials, your wall colors, your cabinet colors, your bathroom and light fixtures, the siding, the roofing—all that stuff.”
Now that the Retreet is officially in the water, the entire family has lost no time having fun on it together, even now in the winter months.
“I like it better in the winter time than I do in the summertime,” described Shelly. “It’s nice and quiet and cozy.”
No matter the season, it’s the perfect getaway for their family. After all, to the Bolyards, it’s ALL about family.