Living on Liberty

I’ve just left the Investigative Reporters and Editors annual conference in Boston, and not only was the entire affair inspiring, informative, and fun. I got to stay on a tall ship in Boston Harbor, instead of a regular hotel.

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It might sound a tad sexier than it was, but I’d do it again in heartbeat.

“How did you swing that?” people kept asking. Really, all I did was google for hostels in Boston, and the Liberty Clipper came up because the company describes itself as offering “hostel-like” accommodations. They rent out cabins on the 125-foot, gaff-rigged topsail schooner (a replica of the Baltimore Clippers of the mid-1800s) while the boat is docked for the night. The crew, who also sleeps onboard, runs up to three pleasure cruises a day.

Renting out the cabins, for them, is a pretty clever way to monetize the downtime. For me, it sounded more interesting than staying in a cheap motel, and the price was just about equal.

Here’s the view in a small slideshow. I even had seals from the Boston aquarium’s outdoor tank as neighbors …

The conference kept me so busy, I didn’t get to take full advantage of my maritime motel. I was off the deck before coffee was served every morning and returned well past “quiet time” each night. Still, a slight scent of sea, waking to a gentle rock on the water, the tongue-and-groove ceiling mere inches from my pillow, and the greeting of blue sky as soon as I opened my cabin door every morning — living on the Liberty Clipper while immersing myself in the power of a free press made a meaningful conference all the more memorable.

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(all photos by Hilary Niles)

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