Thursday, August 16, 2018 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

Do Ordinary Hum-Drum Vacations Have You Seeking New and Unique Options?

In 2017, just in Orlando alone, Disney’s Magic Kingdom enchanted the hearts of 20.45-million eager visitors while Epcot took another 12.2-million on a virtual trip around the world. Yogi and Boo-Boo welcome 350-million sightseers a year to Yellowstone National Park and the number of passers-by who gaze in wonder at the Grand Canyon is impossible to count.

These are but a few of America’s most well-known attractions and they are everything they are cracked up to be. But only for those who like these sort of things. Not everyone wants to follow the huddled masses yearning to be entertained in the most traditional of ways. Some people would prefer losing an eye to doing anything resembling the norm. What some find exciting, they consider mundane.

The biggest problem for these lone-wolf adventurers is finding new places to pacify their unquenchable thirst for uniqueness. You have to hunt them down. If you’ve ever given any thought to breaking the monotony by trying something different, you might want to consider one or two of the following. Or, if being different has always been your style, here are some ideas you may not be aware of.
 
Jules’ Undersea Lodge – Key Largo, Florida

How about spending the night 21-feet underwater on the bottom of a lagoon in the only underwater hotel in America, or perhaps the entire world? The hotel offers all of the comforts of home with a fully stocked kitchen including a refrigerator and a microwave. There is a lounge room with music, reading material, and movies. Each bedroom has its own bathroom with a shower and the plush beds are below a window for watching the watery world swim by.

There is one catch. Since the hotel is underwater, guests must be certified scuba divers. Don’t let this stop you if you aren’t.  Jules’ offers diving classes which are loads of fun and they’ll have you certified in no time. Then you’re free to explore on your own. Don’t worry about purchasing expensive dive equipment, it’s all part of the package.

Even if you don’t want to spend the night, you may want to try their three-hour mini-diving adventure. The water is clear and the views are amazing.
 
Jules' Undersea Lodge   Key Largo, Florida
 
Hicksville Trailer Palace and Artist Retreat – Joshua Tree, California

Surrounded by lush landscape sits 11 small trailers all decorated in different themes. The Pioneer Trailer is western themed while ghouls and ghosts await guests in the Integrotrailor. If leisure suits and knee-high boots suit anyone’s quirky taste, they can always ask for the 70’s disco decorated trailer called The Sweet.

All of the trailers feature fresh linens on comfortable beds, a workstation, and they are heated and air-conditioned. A community bathroom is shared by all. Since most of the guests spend a great deal of time outside, there is a solar heated pool, a rooftop deck on the clubhouse, BBQ pits, a bistro, a firepit for mingling and roasting marshmallows, archery, table tennis, and minigolf. Pets are welcome and there is even an area called Fort Dog.
 
Hicksville Trailer Palace And Artist Retreat   Joshua Tree, California
 
Rancho Loma – Talpa, Texas

If wide open spaces and lots of breathing room sounds like the ticket you’d most like to have punched, look no further than Rancho Loma. Located on a scenic 300-acre ranch dating back to 1878, there’s plenty of room to roam. The original farmhouse has been converted into an intimate dining room which seats 32 people, and as one might assume, the freshest Texas meat and vegetables are on the menu.

Attached to the restaurant is a five-suite luxurious boutique style hotel with hardwood floors, plush beds, high ceilings, and large sliding glass doors opening to panoramic breathtaking views. Other room features include Italian linens, in-room espresso service, and free wifi. For the ultimate, try an upgraded room with an outdoor tub and shower.

There’s an onsite swimming pool and further outdoor recreation is available at nearby Flat Rock Park and Hordes Creek Lake.
 
Rancho Loma   Talpa, Texas
 
Rolling Huts – Winthrop, Washington

Rolling Huts is a campground. Sort of. No one sleeps on the ground or gets attacked in the night by a swarm of hungry mosquitoes. Designed by architects Tom and Olson Kundig, guests at Rolling Huts sleep in… you guessed it… huts. But they aren’t just any huts.

Each hut is equipped with modern amenities and affords magnificent views of the nearby mountains, and each one has a platform style bed for two with a sleeper sofa for two more. Cozy fireplaces for the chilly Washington nights and limited kitchens with refrigerators and microwaves top off the furnishings. Wifi is free.

The main bathroom facilities with hot showers are located in a converted barn but portable toilets are located outside of each cabin. For large parties of eight or more, a turn-of-the-century beautifully preserved and maintained farmhouse is available.
 
Rolling Huts   Winthrop, Washington
 
The Shady Dell – Bisbee, Arizona

There’s just something about the old west and trailers that seem to always go hand in hand. The Shady Dell is another cool place where individual restored trailers, as well as campervans, offer guests the ultimate in quirkiness and comfort in a beautiful setting

All trailers come with comfortable beds and fine linens, a small refrigerator, and get this, old style coffee percolators. For safety reasons cooking is not allowed inside the trailers but outside grills come with each one and the weather is seldom an issue in Bisbee. A few upgraded trailers have their own toilet and shower but most guests share a community bathroom.

Important note; The Shady Dell only allows children 15-years and older.
 
The Shady Dell   Bisbee, Arizona
 
Red Caboose Motel – Ronks, Pennsylvania

Located in the heart of Amish country, guests stay in converted train cars which are designed to accommodate both families and individual travelers. All are equipped with cable TV, full bathrooms with showers and tubs, refrigerators, and microwaves. Some have balconies for outrageous views of the serene picturesque countryside.

The onsite restaurant serves old-fashioned family-style meals using only the freshest of produce and ingredients sourced from local Amish farms, and they serve up some heaping portions. All sorts of activities await nearby to include the Sight and Sound Theater and Dutch World. And who can resist shopping for Amish crafts and wares?
 
Red Caboose Motel Ronks, Pennsylvania
 
If you’re looking for a break from taking normal vacations like everyone else, you may be surprised by how many unique and relatively unknown options are available. You may never follow the crowd again.
 

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