That's the sound of opportunity along downtown St. Paul's riverfront. Specifically, it's the sound of a towboat turned B&B, which can be yours for $499,000.
Before it was the Covington Inn, the 300-ton boat scooted up and down the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, assisting barges for three decades following its 1946 christening. In 1993, after discovering the boat dry-docked in a Louisiana scrapyard, the River Valley Preservation Company purchased it for $7,500, transported it to Harriet Island, and transformed it into the Covington Inn.
That's where current owner/innkeeper Liz Miller worked as a waitress at the onboard No Wake Café. She bought the Covington Inn outright in 2004, and now she's ready to sell.
"Life is so great on the river," Miller says, "[but] the plan is to move to some beautiful, tropical beach somewhere."
What's included in the sale? The 3,200-square-foot boat, with its four suites, kitchen, dining room, and 2,000-plus-square-feet deck. Potential buyers would be acquiring just the boat, as its current space at 100 Harriet Island Rd. is leased through the city. Make that two boats: Miller is willing to toss in her 1973 Trojan Yacht cabin cruiser.
"All the rooms have private bathrooms, heat, and WiFi, so it's open year-round," Miller says of the Covington's suites, which range from $140 to $265 per night.
The Covington Inn first hit the market two years ago; it's since been discounted $50,000.
Miller thinks its future owner could take the Covington in several different creative directions -- literally and figuratively. The boat could be dry-docked and converted into a full-on restaurant, she says, or become a bonus space for current riverside businesses like Psycho Suzi's in northeast Minneapolis. Or, considering recently unveiled plans to dramatically reimagine the downtown riverfront, maybe the boat stays anchored where it's at.
In the meantime, the Covington's innkeeper keeps loving her current gig.
"Most everyone who walks through my door is happy, on vacation, and in love," says Miller, an ordained minister who's married dozens of couples aboard the Covington. "I’m very proud of the business and my impact on my guests; making people happy and making a good living is what it’s all about for me."
Here's a photo tour of the Covington Inn, courtesy of Coldwell Banker Burnet and CovingtonInn.com: