10 wild and wacko lodgings


TripAdvisor lists 10 quirky U.S. properties, selected from review by their editors. Whether it’s waking up in jail, cozying up in a train car, or sleeping in a shack, these unique properties offer travelers outlandish accommodations and extraordinary experiences.

Over the past few months there have been lists of unusual lodges presented by journalists as part of Top 10 series or just to fill space. This list was created first by travelers who submitted their reviews to TripAdvisor. If anyone has visited any of these places, I sure would appreciate comments. Heck, I’m planning on going to more of these places myself if I get the chance. I have been to the Taos property — when you are there, you are there; the lodgings are fascinatingly quirky, but not much is happening other than hanging out and sleeping.

Are there Web connections or cell phone service? Who knows? Some yes and some no. Check before you go.

1. Jailer’s Inn Bed and Breakfast, Bardstown, Kentucky – Average Nightly Rate: $105
For nearly 200 years, this establishment served as the Old Nelson County Jail but now offers a more enjoyable way of “doing time.” Travelers can stay in one of seven guest rooms in this sturdy structure composed of limestone walls 30 inches thick. Each guest room boasts fashionable antiques and heirlooms, while one room still resembles an actual cell and includes two of the original bunk beds. One TripAdvisor traveler noted, “Just spent two nights in the jail cell room and loved it. This really is a jail cell, don’t think it isn’t!”

2. Earthship Biotecture, Taos, New Mexico – Average Nightly Rate: $120
Part accommodation, piece of art and science project, these unique desert dwellings are made from recycled and sustainable materials and utilize natural elements to provide a comfortable experience for guests. Although each pod is powered solely by the sun, wind, and rain, guests still have access to modern amenities including Wi-Fi, television, and on-demand movies in their rented pod. A TripAdvisor traveler said, “The structure itself is just beautiful, the creativity combined with science is truly amazing.”

3. Out ‘n’ About Treesort, Cave Junction, Oregon – Average Nightly Rate: $90
Travelers can branch out during their stay in one of 14 tree houses located among southwestern Oregon’s Siskiyou Mountains. With some of the structures soaring to heights nearly 40 feet off the ground, a sense of adventure is required to sleep among the woodland canopy. Travelers can enjoy al fresco adventures, as they can traipse across swinging bridges and zip line courses and later cool off in the property’s freshwater swimming pool. One TripAdvisor traveler commented, “This is something you must experience for yourself, keep in mind that these are real and true tree houses.”

4. Northern Rail Traincar B&B, Two Harbors, Minnesota – Average Nightly Rate: $87
Seated on 160 acres on the North Shore of Lake Superior, this B&B offers travelers the opportunity to stay off the beaten track in one of 17 train cars outfitted in diverse decor. Upon arrival, travelers collect their room key at the depot-style check-in before making their way to their train car suite equipped with central air, television, and, in some rooms, even a fireplace. One TripAdvisor traveler commented, “The rail cars create such a unique atmosphere that you won’t find anywhere else.”

5. Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, New York – Average Nightly Rate: $132
Located on a serene shoal along the Hudson River, this lighthouse once served as a landmark and home for the building’s keeper until its closure in 1954. Decades later, the lighthouse reopened as an inn with the purpose of hosting travelers passing through the Catskill Mountains. Open Thursday-Sunday year-round, travelers are able to enjoy the lighthouse’s two rustic guestrooms and stunning views of the river and surrounding mountains. One TripAdvisor traveler commented, “Had a wonderful weekend staying in the lighthouse. Breathtaking views and great hosts.”

6. Shack Up Inn, Clarksdale, Mississippi – Average Nightly Rate: $65
Boasting the slogan “The Ritz we ain’t,” the Shack Up Inn provides a laid-back and rustic setting. Each shack offers a touch of comfort while maintaining the authenticity of the former Hopson plantation, located near the Mississippi Delta. Travelers can soak up the site’s history as they walk among sharecropper shacks, the original cotton gin and seed houses located on the property. “The rooms may not have a high-def TV, but they do have vintage musical instruments and more character than I could accumulate in a lifetime,” said one TripAdvisor traveler.

7. Treebones Resort, Big Sur, California – Average Nightly Rate: $189
Atop a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, travelers can enjoy the sound of waves crashing on the shore during a stay in one of 16 yurts. Inspired by Mongolian architecture, the tent-like structures offer travelers a luxurious alternative to traditional camping. Each domed dwelling is furnished with polished pine wood floors, French doors, electric lighting, and a waterfront porch where guests can enjoy spectacular seaside sunsets. A visitor said, “Overall, this place is truly unique and so amazing! It is a great place to escape the business of your life and will allow you to truly relax.”

8. Palm Springs Rendezvous, Palm Springs, California – Average Nightly Rate: $139
Travelers yearning for a retro stay can step back in time at this Californian retreat. Each of the ten guest rooms features mid-century decor, with themes ranging from Pretty in Pink, to Route 66, to Hawaiian Surf. Throughout the day, travelers can splash in the pool surrounded by blue artificial turf and pink lawn flamingos, or even borrow one of the property’s vintage bikes and go for a desert ride. At sunset, complimentary cocktails and savory appetizers are served by the vinyl lounge. One TripAdvisor traveler remarked, “Kitschy, cool, quaint, comfy – this is where you want to stay in Palm Springs.”

9. The Peabody Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee – Average Nightly Rate: $240
This opulent hotel located in the heart of “Blues City” is known for more than its Southern hospitality and lavish guest rooms. Since the 1930s, the marble fountain located in the hotel lobby has hosted flocks of feathered travelers. Staying for three months at a time, the resident ducks certainly earn their keep; at 11 a.m. daily, “The Peabody Ducks” march along a red carpet from their rooftop Royal Duck Palace to the fountain in the Grand Lobby, where they splash and play until 5 p.m. “The marching of the ducks was so fun and the hype matched the actual show,” commented a traveler.

10. Kate’s Lazy Meadow Motel, Mount Tremper, New York – Average Nightly Rate: $200
On nine magnificent acres in the Catskill Mountains, travelers can stay among nine cozy cabins adorned with dazzlingly retro decor. With each one boasting a multi-colored kitchen equipped with a Frigidaire, stove and restored cabinets, together with an array of vintage finds from across America, guests may feel like they stepped back into the 1950s. A TripAdvisor traveler said, “The room was so cozy and comfortable, with great furnishings.”

“For travelers looking for a unique experience, these properties offer peculiar but pleasant stays, and stories to tell for a lifetime,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications at TripAdvisor.

Photos: Earthship Taos courtesy TripAdvisor
All others courtesy of the properties.