NEWBURYPORT — It was two years ago when the first rentable houseboat tied up on the Newburyport waterfront. And now there are three.
Michael's Harborside general manager Matt Kirk manages the three Aqua Lodge houseboats for New England Development. Two of the domestic vessels are docked side by side at Hilton’s Marina and one at Newburyport Harbor Marina.
Kirk said the premise of Houseboats at Newburyport is very simple.
"It's a floating hotel room," Kirk said. "You are on the water and you open your front door and you can't get much closer to the water."
The three houseboats were built in Tennessee and each was brought in on a trailer.
The first houseboat docked at Newburyport Harbor Marina in June 2017 and was an instant hit, according to Kirk.
"That one went well and we wanted to do two more," Kirk said. "So, we figured we would get two of them and put them together."
Although many customers are local, Kirk said he has seen plenty of visitors from southern New Hampshire and Canada.
"We have guests from Montreal and Quebec and I believe we had a guest from Switzerland also," Kirk said. "Then we get people who live just two blocks away and want to experience it. You get to see the boats coming in and out and get to see the Coast Guard do its drills every once and awhile."
Houseboat season typically runs from mid May to mid October.
"We started online reservations at the beginning of the season and then it really picked up," Kirk said. "We have all three booked on several nights."
Kirk said rates start at $179 a night and customers can stay as long as they like.
Each houseboat can sleep six and also features Wi-Fi, cable, satellite TV and air conditioning.
"We rented the two of them together to one family recently," Kirk said. "It's a great staycation."
Resident Maureen Daley recently spent a couple of nights in a houseboat at Hilton's Marina and said, "It's fabulous."
"We got this from the (Firehouse Center for the Arts) auction, so it was a donation and now we are enjoying it," she said. "The full moon on (July 16) was spectacular."
According to Daley, sleeping on a houseboat is a unique experience.
"You get lulled to sleep," Daley said.
Kirk admitted the houseboats do move "a little bit more than normal" during choppy weather but their interior dock placement helps to minimize any potential seasickness.
"On days when the river is really busy with boats, they do move a little bit more, because of the wake and everything," Kirk said.
Houseboats at Newburyport on the web: www.houseboatsatnewburyport.com.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.