You (And Your Beagle) Can Spend the Night in This Beagle-Shaped House

Whether you're staying in a treehouse in Atlanta or a seashell-shaped house in Mexico, Airbnb offers some of the world's most unique rental properties. But how about booking a place that's adorable, too?

In 2003, artists Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin opened the Dog Bark Park Inn B&B (a.k.a. Sweet Willy), a beagle-shaped home in Cottonwood, Idaho (pop. 900), which is located four hours from Boise. The house became a popular stop for sightseers, so a few years ago they started renting it out via Airbnb.

"Stay in a giant dog," the Airbnb listing reads. "That's right, it’s a beagle-shaped one-unit inn where being in this doghouse is a good thing and comfortable to boot!" But it’s not just any "giant dog"—it’s the world’s biggest beagle. In the late 1990s, the couple built a 12-foot beagle named Toby on the property. Then they decided to build a bigger beagle—a 30-foot tall one—and use it as a guest house.

“Toby got some attention, but Sweet Willy put us into the stratosphere,” Conklin told Roadside America. “People just are fascinated when you build a big dog and invite the world to stay in it.”

The five-star-reviewed home looks just like a beagle, right down to the brown and white coloring, realistic eyes, and dog collar. The couple even built a replica of a fire hydrant near Toby and Sweet Willy. To access the house, guests must climb up to the second-story deck. The home fits four guests and has two bedrooms—one in the dog’s belly’s and a loft in the dog’s head—and one bathroom, conveniently located in the dog’s rear. You’re allowed to bring your own dog as long as it’s “responsible” and its humans are “well-behaved,” and the dog must get along with a golden retriever who lives on the property.

Next door, Sullivan and Conklin operate a visitor’s center, their artist studio, and a gift shop, where they sell their chainsaw-cut wooden dogs. (Those same dogs appear on one of the headboards inside the house.) The couple doesn't live in the house—they live up the hill, in a house that looks nothing like a pooch. Since Sweet Willy doesn’t have a kitchen, Sullivan and Conklin provide all their guests with light breakfast foods, like homemade muffins.

There aren't many other houses in the area, so you could eat muffins, gaze out into the prairie and distant mountains, and read the provided in-house dog books in total privacy. But for those guests who do want to leave the house, you can go jet boating on the Salmon River, visit Hells Canyon, or learn about indigenous history in Nezperce, Idaho, a mere 20 minutes away.

The current rental price is $132 per night, but the house is booked through April 17, 2020, and Airbnb stats say the home has been viewed more than 500 times in the past week (so you'd better book soon). But, as Insider points out: If you're determined to find some sort of offbeat lodging in Idaho, you could always crash at Boise's Big Idaho Potato Hotel, which—you guessed it—is shaped like a giant potato.

When Should You Book Your Thanksgiving and Christmas Flights? Right Now!

zoff-photo/iStock via Getty Images
zoff-photo/iStock via Getty Images

For many people, paying for distressingly expensive airline tickets is just part of life when it comes to traveling for the holidays. And, while you might think you’ll get the best deal by checking fluctuating prices obsessively from today until the day before Thanksgiving, you’re probably better off booking your flights right now.

“Once you get within three or four months, the chance of something cheap popping up for Christmas or New Year’s is not very likely,” Scott Keyes, the founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights, told Travel + Leisure. “Certainly don’t wait until the last week or two because prices are going to be way higher.”

This is partially because airlines devise algorithms based on last year’s ticket sales and trends, and they know many travelers will fork over some serious cash rather than decide not to go home for the holidays—and there are always plenty of people who wait until the last minute to book their flights. In fact, so you know for next year, the absolute best time to book holiday travel is actually during the summer.

Scott Mayerowitz, the executive editorial director of The Points Guy, admits that it is possible to save a little money if you’re extremely diligent about following flight prices leading up to the holidays, but he thinks your mental health is worth much more than the pittance you might (or might not) save. “The heartache and headache of constantly searching for the best airfare can drive you insane,” he told Travel + Leisure. “Your time and sanity [are] worth something.”

If you’re not willing to throw in the towel just yet, you could always track the prices for a little while, and give yourself a hard deadline for booking your flights in a few weeks. Mayerowitz says buying your seats at least six weeks in advance—or earlier—is a good rule of thumb for holiday travel. That still leaves you several weeks to periodically scroll through flight listings and get a feel for what seems like a reasonable price.

To minimize your travel anxiety even further, try to fly one one of these dates, and check out eight other tips for a stress-free holiday trip.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Welcome to Cool, California. Population: 2520

Alan Levine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Alan Levine, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

It’s not hard to find U.S. towns with some pretty weird (and sometimes depressing) names, so we shouldn't be surprised that people have the option of settling in the tiny town of Cool, California.

Initially named Cave Valley, due to the limestone formations nearby, the town popped up around 1849 during the California Gold Rush. The population eventually grew to 4100 people.

It's unclear when the town went from Cave Valley to being Cool. One legend suggests that a beatnik named Todd Hausman bequeathed the name after passing through in the 1950s, but the veracity of that story is doubtful since the Cool Post Office was founded as early as 1885. According to Condé Nast Traveler, records show that a reverend named Peter Y. Cool came out to pan gold and settled in the town in 1850, possibly serving as the source of the change.

Whatever the origin of its name, the town of Cool has ample branding opportunities. There’s the Cool Grocery Store and the Cool Beerwerks brewery and restaurant, which specializes in Hawaiian-Japanese fusion cuisine. Cool has held the Way Too Cool 50K Endurance Run every year since 1990.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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