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Five offbeat places to stay, near and far

Seattle Times, Travel/Outdoors, June 11, 2011

On your next holiday, stay somewhere surprising. Here are five out-of-the-ordinary options.

1. Kokopelli's Cave Bed & Breakfast, Farmington, N.M. Not far from the Four Corners where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah converge, you'll find this underground sanctuary originally created as a one-of-a-kind office for a geologist.

Creature comforts include a waterfall-style shower and whirlpool tub. Southwestern-style furnishings fill the 1,650-square-foot lodging carved into sandstone 70 feet below the surface. The entrance is a 10-minute hike from the parking area. Recommended for children 8 and older. Get details at

2. A "plane hotel" in Costa Rica. No boarding passes are required when checking in to this refurbished Boeing 727 fuselage at Hotel Costa Verde, in Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica.

Located in the jungle, minutes from the Manuel Antonio National Park, the unique lodging once was a South African Airways plane. The aircraft now rests atop a 50-foot-tall pedestal, offering views of the treetops and ocean in the distance. Sleeps six in two air-conditioned bedrooms.

3. Big Bay Lighthouse, Mich. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this lighthouse in Michigan is run by three avid preservationists eager to share local history. Their goal is to maintain the romance of an era when mariners relied on the skill of a lightkeeper to bring them safely through this challenging stretch of Michigan coastline.

Today, visitors enjoy the pristine location on Lake Superior. Hiking, biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are available on 40 acres of trails. (More lighthouses that welcome overnight guests,

4. Houseboat holiday, Boston. Book the 58-foot-long Cuckoo's Nest houseboat docked in Boston's Charlestown Navy Yard to begin your floating holiday. Relax on the rooftop sun deck, then hop aboard a free shuttle bus, water taxi or water shuttle and head into the city for sightseeing and dinner. (Also includes houseboat accommodations in Baltimore, Annapolis, Md., and Philadelphia.)

5. Mary Jane's Farm, Moscow, Idaho. Check into a stylish tent on Mary Jane Butters' farm, and the worries of the world melt away.

Gather your own eggs for breakfast. Pick vegetables you'll enjoy for lunch. Burn calories helping with farm chores. Go for a hike or play cards. Later, wash up in the outdoor tub or showers.