Ari and Brad Nicholson settle for the night in New Hampshire in the most luxurious setting they’ve enjoyed anywhere. Their penthouse is lighted with chandeliers and includes opulent touches like a martini bar and hot tub.
The ambience is very different where Lee and Laura Hockman are bedding down in Idaho. As dog lovers, the opportunity to stay in “the world’s biggest beagle” gave them no “paws”.
The Nicholsons’ plush penthouse is one of 16 themed quarters at the Adventure Suites in New Hampshire. Others include a deserted island room where guests sleep in a giant oyster shell-shaped bed and a jungle hut complete with thatch roof and waterfall. Learn more at adventuresuites.com.
And the Hockmans and other guests at the Dog Bark Park Inn B&B in Cottonwood, Idaho enter a 30-foot-high beagle-shaped structure which offers the usual hotel amenities. The inn, which is open April through October, is a throwback to the kind of roadside architecture that was popular in the early days of automobile vacation travel. See dogbarkparkinn.com.
These aren’t the only unusual accommodations available to travelers around the country. Opportunities abound for those seeking a unique experience when it’s time to check in and turn in.
Train buffs may want to check out the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel in Chattanooga, Tenn. Along with standard accommodations, there are 48 train car rooms lavishly decorated with Victorian furnishings, but with modern conveniences. See onto choochoo.com.
Accommodations are less luxurious (but intriguing) aboard a World War II submarine moored along the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The USS Cobia was launched in 1943 and saw action in the Pacific. Guests (bring your own bedding) get a guided tour and admission to the adjacent maritime museum the following day. See wisconsinmaratime.org.
You can rise above it all at TreeHouse Point in a forest near Seattle, where cabins are perched high in the trees. Accommodations are rustic but comfortable, and you access your room by stairs or a swinging walkway. See treehousepoint.com.
You can also get a room with a view at the Jersey Jim Fire Lookout Tower in the San Juan National Forest in Colorado. This tower has a cabin 55 feet (and 70 steps) above a meadow. Inside are the original furniture and ranger log book, along with propane-powered heating, lighting, refrigerator and oven. The tower is available from late May to mid-October. Call (800) 253-1616.
And if you want to get back to basics, check out the Shack Up Inn’s tin-roofed cottages in the Mississippi Delta, each furnished in what’s described as “a flea market lover’s dream. Mismatched furniture, walls adorned with old photographs and other period pieces are in keeping with the Inn’s motto, “the Ritz we ain’t.” See shackupinn.com.