Join the Family

March 2022 Rent By Heather Magda Serrano Web Exclusive

If you’re planning to take your next houseboat rental vacation at the beautiful Hendricks Creek Resort on Dale Hollow Lake in Burkesville, Ky., chances are you’re probably going to get a hug.

Patty Brendel and her brother Frank Brendel III are the third generation to manage the marina since their grandparents founded it in 1953, and Patty has come to be known as the Happy Hugger II of Hendricks Creek.

“My dad originally dubbed my mom the Happy Hugger of Hendricks Creek because everybody that came into the store got a hug,” explained Patty. “I’ve kind of taken over that job since my mom isn’t well and I’ve always been a big hugger anyway.”

The marina has 175 slips that are rentable to private customers and they’ve got 18 of their own private houseboat rentals. Patty has managed the marina with her brother for the last 10 years and during that time she’s seen an upswing in the popularity of renting houseboats.

“The houseboats are very popular for renters,” shared Patty. “I’m beginning to see a trend where there are more new people coming—people that have never houseboated before—which is exciting because it was stagnant for a while.”

Hendricks Creek Resort welcomes everybody from new houseboaters to seasoned veterans to come get a hug at their fun marina and enjoy the wonder of houseboating.

Everything You Need

When you rent at Hendricks Creek Resort you won’t have to worry about anything because your houseboat comes equipped with everything you need. They have four different styles of houseboats that range anywhere from sleeping six to 12 people. Every houseboat includes everything you need to cook food along with propane gas grills right on the boats.

The two bigger styles of houseboats (the Plan 90s and 70s) have private bedrooms with two full-sized bathrooms that include full-sized showers. The kitchens have everything from a full-sized stove to refrigerator to microwave. Plus, the dining table is large enough for everybody on the boat so they can all sit and eat together.

“As a rental business,” added Patty, “we pride ourselves on our units being clean.

When you rent a houseboat at the marina, you have to rent for three nights at minimum, but Hendricks Creek Resort is one of few marinas in the area that offers to let you stay as many nights as you want beyond three. Typically, other marinas will rent houseboats out for three, four or seven nights because those are easy numbers to work with for reservations. However, Hendricks Creek will rent you nights for three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or whatever you want.

Something else to keep in mind is that Hendricks Creek Resort requires you to have a small boat alongside your rented houseboat, whether it be a boat with around an 8 to 12 horsepower motor or a regular runabout.

If you don’t have a smaller boat to go along with your houseboat, never fear because Hendricks Creek Resort can rent those to you as well. Some of the more popular options for small boat rentals to go alongside the rented houseboats are pontoons and double-decker pontoons.

Enjoying Friends And Family

One of the best aspects of houseboating is getting to enjoy the company of your friends and family without any distractions. Patty pointed out that the country is in a state where it’s hard to just sit down and have dinner with your family since your attention is being pulled in so many different directions all the time.

“Houseboating gives people an opportunity to be with the people you love,” mused Patty. “You can put your cell phones away—the Wi-Fi doesn’t work too well around here anyway—so you can get to know your family again. We love to see that happen.”

Patty shared a story of a gentleman who rented six of their houseboats over Labor Day weekend. He celebrated his 70th birthday with his family and friends on the boats, and it was his 34th or 35th year that he had celebrated his birthday down on the lake with Hendricks Creek Resort.

This stands as a testament to how people fall in love with renting houseboats at the marina, and probably around 85 to 90 percent of their customers become repeat customers just like this gentleman.

Patty loves managing the marina so much that she insists that she doesn’t “work” there because she enjoys doing what needs to be done. “When you love what you’re doing it’s not working,” reiterated Patty. “When my dad asked me to come and help run the marina, I was ready to make a change in life and I never regretted a minute of it.”

Seeing people enjoy their houseboats is part of what makes Patty and her brother Frank love their jobs so much. Every year they put out a brochure with their rates and information about the boats and cottages (they rent cottages as well), and Patty started a request-for-photos from all of their family members and customers that visit. Now when you look at their brochure, you’ll see lots of pictures of Hendricks Creek Resort customers having fun with their friends and family, which is what houseboating is all about.

Freedom and Beauty

With 620 miles of shoreline and 30,000 acres of water, you’ll find Dale Hollow to be the perfect playground for your friends and family. Your houseboat will offer you complete freedom.

When you rent a houseboat at Hendricks Creek Resort, they’ll help you get all packed up and loaded onto the boat and then they’ll give you instructions on how to drive it. After that, you’re free to explore the lake. Most houseboaters like to find a nice cove to park their houseboat in so they can use it as a base. Then they can do whatever their hearts desire—swimming, fishing, skiing, or just cruising around the lake.

The whole area is beautiful and Dale Hollow Lake is one of the cleanest bodies of water in the country. Hendricks Creek Resort proudly flies the Clean Marina flag, and you’ll also find a grocery store and souvenir shop with live bait available at the marina.

New Retreats

Hendricks Creek Resort is always looking at new ways to grow, so next year they’ll start offering to host retreats. They’ve done a music festival for the last several years where they bring in songwriters from places like Nashville, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio and Kentucky. Then they rent rooms out on their houseboats and renters spend four or five days just listening to the songwriters sing the music they’ve written.

“It’s a phenomenal weekend,” described Patty. “We’re thinking about doing some of that sort of thing for Christian retreats and work retreats for companies that want to spend some time and reward their staff with a trip.”

Of course, Patty emphasized they would offer these retreats during their slower season so it wouldn’t interfere with their regular customers coming in June, July and August.

Part Of The Family

One of the unique things about Hendricks Creek Resort is their exemplary customer service and how they treat you like part of the family once you arrive. They do a lot of things other marinas don’t when it comes to boat rentals. For example, they’re one of the only companies on the lake that’ll take all your gear, drinks, food, and luggage to your houseboat when you arrive.

“We like to think that when you pull over the hill to our marina, you feel like part of the family,” explained Patty.

Stop on by Hendricks Creek Resort sometime to rent a houseboat and get a hug!

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