Ocean platform takes bed and breakfast to another level

Jenny Adams

One of the best things about traveling is the unexpected moments of discovery. When I was traveling the Internet a few days ago, I came across an article on Garden & Gun magazine’s website about this gem of a getaway and just had to investigate further.

The Frying Pan is a bed and breakfast like no other. Perched on an old light-and-weather station platform that was built in 1964, it’s a full bed-and-breakfast operation that invites guests to make the journey and experience living on the ocean in a whole new way.

Creator/owner Richard Neal bid on the platform when the U.S. government put it up for auction in 2010. What inspires a mild-mannered software engineer to build a bed and breakfast 100 feet above the ocean, 25 miles from the coast of North Carolina? We have no idea. However, once he started the project, others jumped in with donations on his website to make sure it actually happened.

“We’ve had guests since last summer and have been holding our prices down as we gain attention,” explains Neal. “We’re open year round but waves prevent many trips from January to March each year. Helicopter access is available year round and is only a 20-minute trip from the mainland. Boat rides take 1.5 to 2 hours depending on which port.”

Most people choose to depart from Southport, N.C.

“Landing on the top by helicopter is always a rush and being on top at night with all the lights off … it makes the Milky Way jump out like no city dweller has ever seen,” he says.

Your home-at-sea features things that many dusty landlocked B&Bs don’t, like HDTV, Wi-Fi, hot showers and twin bed cabins in 1960s-designed Coast Guard motifs. Your meals are provided, and you can spend days fishing and diving with the assurance that there won’t be any other tourists around.

“You can actually fish from the tower without bait,” Neal says. “These crazy fish will bite a bare hook. But many big game fishing guests will want to charter an additional trip to the Gulf Stream. There you can hook everything from tuna to Mahi Mahi, to marlin or wahoo.”

Your end-of-day activities? Check out the skeet range, play a game of pool or kick back with a cold beer and hit a round of golf balls on the world’s best driving range. Neal posted floating targets and his biodegradable golf balls are filled with fish food.

Price: $498 per person includes three days and two nights, plus meals and boat transportation. The Frying Pan was booked through most of August at publishing time, with limited bookings available in September.