Cue music, “I’m on a Boat.” If you’ve ever wanted to have a proper vacation on a boat, but without being stuck out to sea, then here’s your chance. Best of all, you won’t get seasick. And HomeAway can make it happen.
Welcome to the Boat & Lighthouse, which is just that, a boat and lighthouse vacation rental in Sarasota, Florida that you can actually stay in. Pulling up, it feels a bit like stumbling upon a vintage beach home amidst the Caribbean jungle, as lush vegetation surrounds the property, giving it a retreat feeling that you can’t just find anywhere on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Best boat vacation ever?
As property owners Elwin and Diana Lissone told me, the Boat & Lighthouse were both built in 1933 by Oliver Blackburn, considered one of the top boat builders in the region at that time. It was built as the dream house for well-known captain Arthur Rowe, who captained a number of boats, including the yacht of John Ringling (yes, as in the circus magnate). Naturally, being a captain’s house, it had a number of boat details, such as stateroom-like compartments on the interior, which have since been removed by consequent owners.
However, the exterior has largely stayed the same, especially since the property’s historic designation in 1984. The boat shape, stern patio, bow patio, and exterior lifesavers give it the appearance of a boat like no other home you’ve probably ever stayed in. That feel continues inside with features like a spiral staircase that connects the two levels of the home.
While owners Elwin and Diana have lived in the home for several years, they wanted to give others a chance to experience the Boat & Lighthouse themselves. After all, people were frequently stopping by the home to admire the architecture and take photos of it. So they wanted to give visitors a similar experience that they’ve had. According to Elwin and Diana, "We've experienced a special sense of history and added our own story to its 83 years of history, and wanted to give other people a chance to experience this unique place and add their own stories." It’s not every day that you can not only stay in such a unique home, but also stay in a home that has such a rich history.
The property is really a destination in and of itself. It’s so very “Old Florida,” according to Elwin and Diana, in how the beautiful oaks and palm trees surrounding the property give it a sense of seclusion. Yet it sits in the middle of Sarasota, with downtown Sarasota mere minutes away. A number of restaurants, shops, and the Sarasota Opera House are all within walking distance of the property. Meanwhile, the closest beach is 10 minutes away by car.
While the home itself is more than 80 years old, the inside is largely contemporary, featuring modern furniture and amenities, including a flat-screen TV, Wi-Fi, washer and dryer, and all the kitchen appliances you’d hope to find in a vacation rental. The boat has one bedroom and bath on the top floor and another on the bottom floor. Outdoors includes the stern's screened porch and the bow's unscreened porch, with an outdoor dining area just beyond the steps of the boat.
Your boathouse vacation awaits. Seasickness not included.