201. Thinking Outside the Staycation

Portland certainly has nice hotels, pleasure towers that have provided us with downy king-sized overnight escapes so many times in the past. So that’s naturally the first place we focused our frantic lodging search last week when a sweet and generous friend offered her overnight babysitting services. This would be, after all, our first full night away from our son since he crashed the party 19 months ago. Better make it count, we said.

Put off by the $200+ per night holiday weekend rate for our go-to downtown hotels, Amy took to the high risk-high reward database of Airbnb and found—bobbing amongst the usual clutch of bungalows and mother-in-law apartments—a tugboat, converted to a house and docked in a marina on the Columbia River.

Seems ridiculous in retrospect but we engaged in about 48 hours of our trademark travel indecisiveness upon discovery of said tugboat, which involves each of us taking turns talking ourselves into and out of a decision even though we both ultimately know that we’re going to stay on this tugboat because C’MON MAN IT’S A FREAKING TUGBOAT THAT IS 10 MINUTES FROM OUR HOUSE. Reservation secured: Commence several days of tug and nautical-themed innuendo and questions like, “Where will the toilet flushes go??”

On arrival, the setting for this getaway made it feel like we’d left the city entirely, immersed in the sounds and open horizons of waterfront living. The excited race through every amazing space in this home was capped by the top deck jewel of the boat, equipped with two lounge chairs and an unobstructed view of weekend boat culture swarming all around us. Sure, there was the frequent roar of jets taking off overhead (the tugboat is “near the airport”) and yes the view of the riverbank is pocked with bits of industry and the knowledge that a new Target lurks just beyond the first thin stand of cottonwoods. But that those things were so easily and readily forgotten speaks to the transportive magic of being on water–any water. The breeze that lulls you to sleep, the gulls and ducks that nudge you awake and the sound of the lapping waves in the cool barefoot morning beg you to close your eyes for a night and imagine you’ve traveled so much further than you actually did.

If you live in or around Portland,  here is the listing for this tugboat on Airbnb. Digging around a little bit, in Portland or anywhere that has water nearby, will reveal a number of other options for houseboats or even just stationary sailboats and yachts that you can rent for the night.