Sometimes you just need to try something a little bit different, unique, or even wacky when road trippin’ across the country. One of the latest trends in travel is staying in quirky accommodations that are often far off the beaten path.
During an assignment for Travel Iowa – the state’s tourism office, I was tasked with checking out some of these fun places to crash for a night.
The Gas Station
The first was a replica Sinclair gas station in Pleasantville, Iowa. Ivan McCormick greeted me near the refurbished gas pumps that sit outside the two story rental property. Mr. McCormick is a car nut and loves building, and repairing them. The lower level is a garage where he (or his guests) can work on automobiles. The upstairs has both an apartment with kitchen, bath and laundry, while a secondary “man cave” area sits at the top of the stairs, with a TV and twin beds.
Inside you’ll find lots of cool memorabilia that Mr. McCormick has collected over the years. His father once owned a Sinclair station in town and many of the items were saved when that store closed.
The caboose has long been the favorite train car of all ages. Jim Dotzenrod decided to take one that was sitting in a field and turn it into a fun place for travelers.
About 15 minutes outside of Decorah, Iowa – the caboose has bunk beds, a queen sized bed on the top level, small kitchen, a seating area, running water and heat/AC. It has an indoor bathroom, and hot water (though the hot water tank is small, so plan for a short shower!) An attached deck is quite spacious with views of horses and beautiful Iowa country scenery.
The Grain Silo
Just next door to Jim Dotzenrod’s caboose is a refurbished grain silo that sleeps two. (Twin sized bunk beds.) It’s considerably smaller than the caboose but still an interesting place to crash for a night. There’s a TV, bathroom, shower, and a windy staircase up to the top. The silo rental also has a deck area that can be used for cooking or relaxing while watching the sun set.
The Field Of Dreams House
Thirty years after the Kevin Coster film became a hit, baseball fans still make the trek to visit the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa. With new meaning to the term “in the middle of nowhere” – the house was used in the movie – both inside and outside.
Guests can stay in the home and have use of the field (and lights) for a cool $2,000 a night. The high price tag has kept a lot of travelers at bay, but some have already forked over the dough for the unique experience. (They just started renting it out this spring.)
The Art Church
In the southeast section of the state, Art Church is a unique spot in the town of Malvern. Artist Zack Jones welcomes guests into the restored church building where he houses his art studio. The beautiful artwork, along with the vibes of sleeping in a historic church building make it a place to consider!