On the third day of our West Coast Road Trip, Don and I spent the night on a paddlewheel riverboat.
The Newport Belle was docked in the South Beach Marina, in Yaquina Bay.
The 97-foot boat looked like something you'd see on the Mississippi, 100 years ago.
The 3-story boat was built as a floating B&B, in 1993. Originally it did travel on the Coquille River, but now it stays put in the harbor.
Don and I used to live in St. Louis, so we've seen many paddlewheel riverboats over the years. We've dined in a couple, on the Mississippi. And we slept in one, on the Sacramento River.
The Newport Belle just like the others, had the paddles in the stern of the boat.
Above the Paddles
The stern of the boat had an enclosed sundeck.
The floor to ceiling glass, gave us stunning views of the Yaquina Bay and Bridge. If we'd been moving, it would have been fun to watch the paddlewheel turning, below.
Bow of the Boat
The front of the boat faced the east. There was a nice little sitting area on the second level.
You can see the how close we were to shore. We parked in an assigned area, then rolled our bags past some fishermen cleaning their daily catch. We continued over the ramp, that took us right to the boat.
The sun deck was bright in the morning and offered a view of the nearly full moon, at night.
The B&B offered 5 rooms. An upper room would have had slightly better views.
But it was a treat to roll right onto the boat and find our door just steps from the dock.
There was no need for "checking in" since we had a code. We stepped right in and grinned at our beautifully renovated room.
The bed (with memory foam mattress & pillows) looked heavenly. The white wood ceiling and wainscotting looked fresh and clean.
The view of the fishing boats and Yaquina Bridge was a nice surprise.
I grinned out the window, then turned to take in the rest of the room.
As I took in the sweet space, "Martini Music" played on satellite TV. What a nice TV, by the way.
The Beachy-Boat theme was carried right into the bathroom. Gotta love a shell nightlight!
The bathroom was a decent size for a boat and the newly renovated space felt fresh and fun.
I love a theme and our floating hotel had an obvious one. There were seahorse lamps and anchor coasters.
I loved the sea turtle mugs and octopus pillows. The table with bottled water and Keurig coffee was handy. And below the glass table, we found books related to boats.
Life Jacket Props
I spotted the life jackets above the "closet" and chuckled. What a clever decorator prop! Then I realized these were probably required, even if our boat wasn't going anywhere.
I love dressing with the theme, when staying at a fun hotel. I could have packed a sailor cap for this stay, but didn't need to. I just popped on the orange jacket and posed for a photo, outside our door.
Finding Happy Hour
Just before arriving at 4:30, I spoke with the owner Paige, on the phone. She gave me parking instructions and reminded me that Happy Hour was at 5.
We didn't want to miss, so up we went to the second floor. We entered the "Main Parlor" and walked towards the stern.
Drinks with a View
Three other couples had already arrived. We were invited to join them in the enclosed sundeck, or we could have found a table in the parlor area.
These Covid Travel Days are tricky, but this felt safe and spaced out. The door was propped open with a fan. Plus this was a great bunch and we had good conversations about being vaccinated. Yay for that!
Owners Paige and Randy took good care of us. We were handed a drink menu and our own platter of cheese and meats.
I kind of loved the little bar counter behind us, with the pennies under the glass!
Randy and Paige treated us like guests in their home. They jumped up to refill drinks, then joined us with their own.
Randy and Paige told us how they purchased the boat right before the pandemic and threw themselves into renovations. What an adventure and now they live on the third floor, with a view like this every day.
Wandering the Marina
By 6:30, our group broke up. Some headed for dinner, but Don and I needed to explore.
We wandered up and down the docks, studying the boats. I was surprised to see the "Life Jacket Loaner Station" nearby. What a nice thought.
Some Odd Ones
I dreamed of taking off in one of the sailboats.
I studied the commercial fishing boats and I especially wondered about this very odd, wooden boat. What stories might that boat have to tell?
Don and I could have driven into Newport for dinner, but we didn't want to leave the boat. We only had one night.
We headed up to the Main Salon, which was available to all guests. We brought a few more nibbles and drinks and lounged near the wood burning stove... which would be nice in the winter.
Books and Art
We checked out this fine colorful fish and some of the other artwork and knickknacks.
There were lots of books and we found one about the Delta King, the boat we stayed on, in Sacramento.
We would have missed the sunset if a couple playing Cribbage in the sundeck room, hadn't alerted us.
I ran up to get a picture or two, through the glass.
Then I stepped out to the tiny walkway and got the best view of the sinking sun. Finally the sun was down and the old Yaquina Bridge from 1934, looked very impressive.
Glowing Green and Purple
Whenever we spend a night at a notable hotel, I make a point of getting a nighttime photo.
Sometimes there's a fun neon sign or a spotlight. But the Newport Belle had the best nighttime costume of all! Glowing colors!
After taking photos of the Newport Belle, I turned and caught the moon, glowing above the boats.
When we headed inside we had another lighting surprise. The lights behind the headboard were glowing and changing color!
I hadn't even noticed the lights before, but in the darkened room they came alive. How fun is that? I was sad to turn them off, but I knew that glow would make me too giddy for sleep. I turned on the mounted fan and slept well with the hum.
In the morning we headed upstairs, for our 3-course breakfast.
There were lots of options for seating, which was nice. We chose a table beside the window and began with juice and coffee.
The first course was yogurt, with toasted pistachio and apricots poached in cardamon and local honey. Then came a big warm slice of blueberry coffee cake.
My expression looks a little embarrased about my waffle choice. It came with bananas and big fat walnuts, plus 2 slices of bacon!
Don went for the breakfast burrito with bacon and avocado. We swapped plates and sampled each others. What a decadent feast!
Relaxing Until Checkout
After breakfast, we had a nice chat with Randy and Paige. They were an amazing team and we couldn't thank them enough.
We should have walked off breakfast, but we did some sitting instead! What a lazy, relaxing morning!
We stayed on a boat that felt luxurious and comfy for less than $200. ( I do see some higher rates now) And that included happy hour and our 3-course breakfast.
There was a nice balance between socializing and privacy. We enjoyed sharing the boat and happy hour, with others. The conversations were enjoyable. But we also felt like we had the boat to ourselves when we went our separate ways. Perfect!
Best of all, we had a view of boats and water, without being trapped on a boat! No seasickness and no claustrophobia! I would do this again!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!