6 Weekend Getaways With Unusual Lodging

Most times, lodging choices are simply means to an end -- they are the jumping-off and sleeping places for fantasy and adventure. Yet it's possible they can be the ends in and of themselves; they are the journey and the destination.

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Rose Island Lighthouse (Rhode Island)

Out on Rose Island, beyond the reach of the utility lines of Newport, RI, is a restored lighthouse that was home to keepers and their families for more than a century. In 1993, after years of disrepair, the light in the tower was relit. Now listed on charts as a private aid to navigation, as well as on the National Register of Historic Places, the historic Rose Island Lighthouse attracts overnight keepers from all walks of life.

Rose Island Lighthouse (Rhode Island)

Everything in the lighthouse, even down to the pitcher pump at the pantry sink, has been painstakingly restored. The lighthouse, which serves as a museum during the summer, is fully furnished with pots, pans, dishes and utensils -- just as if its keepers still lived there.

Mars Desert Research Station (Utah)

Ever wonder what it would be like to travel to and stay on Mars? Well, then, look no further than the Mars Desert Research Station, a simulated martian habitat in southern Utah.

Mars Desert Research Station (Utah)

Each pod contains 6 tiny bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining area, a communications center and a research laboratory, all squeezed in to about 1,000 square feet of space.

Cedar Creek Treehouse (Washington)

Cedar Creek Treehouse is situated high in the canopy of the lush temperate rainforest surrounding Mount Rainier National Park. A mammoth tree trunk grows straight up through the floor of the kitchen, and disappears through the ceiling of this Earth-friendly mountain retreat. Cedar Creek also boasts a 100-foot-high observatory in a nearby fir -- accessed by a rainbow-colored bridge that leads to an 82-foot spiral stairway.

Under Canvas in Yellowstone (Montana)

It's like a tent, but not at all. Under Canvas has created high-style camping retreats in three national parks - Yellowstone, Moab and Glacier. At the retreats, you can collapse on plush beds after a full day of hiking. If you've been itching to go glamping, aka glamorous camping, Under Canvas is the place to try it.

Castle Hotel & Spa (New York)

The Castle Hotel & Spa is an oasis on this side of the Atlantic in Tarrytown, NY. Built between 1897 and 1910 by General Howard Carroll, the castle was originally called Carrollcliffe. In 1997, it was transformed into the lavish hotel and spa it is today.

Castle Hotel & Spa (New York)

With its 40-foot vaulted ceilings, Gothic stained-glass windows and crystal chandeliers, the Great Hall at the Castle Hotel & Spa is available for weddings and other events. Your guests will be glad to take in a massage at the THANN Sanctuary before diving into their goose-down beds.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area (Minnesota)

For centuries, yurts have been the dwelling of choice for natives of the Mongolian plateau, and for good reason. The round, peaked-roof canvas-covered huts are warm and cozy. For a long-weekend yurt experience much closer than Mongolia, but every bit as remote, trek to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota. Here, yurts dot the Banadad Ski Trail, a 27-kilometer groomed ski trail through rugged wilderness.

Boundary Waters Canoe Area (Minnesota)

Each yurt is equipped with a wood-fired stove, dishes and utensils, pots and pans, gas stove with oven, dining area, sleeping bags, and bunk beds. The Tall Pines yurt even has a wood-fired Finnish sauna. You choose the level of self-sufficiency; your yurt can be staffed by a hut host, who tends to the cooking and camp chores. Or you can yurt on your own, in perfect solitude, providing your own meals and firing up your own sauna.

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