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How One Resort Turned a Helicopter into a Cottage

The accommodations of most hotels look more or less the same; one room can easily be confused for the next. But there’s no chance of that happening at the Winvian Resort in Litchfield Hills, Conn. Among the 18 themed cottages on its 113 acres are a treehouse, a log cabin, a lighthouse, a stable—and, awesomely, a structure that incorporates an actual helicopter. When we heard about this one, we had to ask Winvian how it was done.

The gorgeous cottages were designed by architect Malcolm Appleton, who created this especially unconventional accommodation as an homage to the Stratford, Conn.-based Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.

If you’re looking for an aircraft that you can incorporate into the building, it’s probably best to start at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG) in Arizona, home of the world’s largest airplane graveyard, where 4400 aircraft sit collecting dust. There, Appleton found a 1968 Sikorsky Sea King Pelican HH-3F Coast Guard helicopter. Just 40 of these long-range, amphibious search-and-rescue craft were made for the U.S. Coast Guard; introduced in the late 1960s, the helicopters were in service for decades before they were replaced by newer aircraft (the last went out of service in 1994 [PDF]).

The helo was towed east to Canaan, Conn., where it was refurbished and modified over a period of 12 months. While the pilot and co-pilot seats, switches, and gauges are all original, the interior of the fuselage was turned into the sitting area with a flatscreen T.V. and a minibar.

When the helicopter was finished, it was towed out to Litchfield Hills and wheeled into a hangar-like cottage constructed especially to house it. The rotor blades, which had been cut short, were embedded in the ceiling; once the Pelican was in place, the back wall of the cottage was constructed. Outside of the helicopter, Appleton placed a king-sized bed, a wood-burning stove, and a bathroom. For aeronautical enthusiasts, it will definitely beat staying at the Hilton!  

All images courtesy of Booking.com.

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Bob Ross’s Happy Little Menagerie Is Getting the Funko Treatment, Too
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Amazon

Back in August, the pop culture-loving toy fiends at Funko introduced a happy little Pop! Vinyl figurine of beloved painter/television icon Bob Ross, decked out in his trademark jeans and button-down shirt with a painter’s palette in his hand and his legendary perm (which he hated) atop his tiny little vinyl head. This Joy of Painting-themed addition to the Funko lineup proved to be an instant hit, so the company added a couple of additional toys to its roster—this time incorporating members of Ross’s happy little menagerie of pets, who were almost as integral to the long-running series as the painter himself.


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If you’re looking to score one of these toys before Christmas, it’s going to have to be a limited edition one—and it’s going to cost you. In collaboration with Target, Funko paired Ross with his favorite pocket squirrel, Pea Pod, which will set you back about $40. For just a few dollars more, you can opt to have the happy accident-prone painter come with Hoot the owl.


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On Friday, December 8, the company will release a Funko two-pack that includes Ross with a paintbrush and Ross with an adorable little raccoon.


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If you’d prefer to save a few dollars, and are willing to wait out the holiday season, you can pre-order Ross with just the raccoon for delivery around December 29.

So many happy little options, so little time.

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See How to Grow Snowflakes Inside a Soda Bottle
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iStock

While it's too soon to know what the real chances are of having a white Christmas, even if it's 70 degrees and sunny, there’s still a way to experience the seasonal beauty of snow without ever having to put on a winter coat.

In a video for Science Friday, Caltech physicist and snowflake expert Ken Libbrecht illustrated how to grow snowflake-like ice crystals inside a two-liter soda bottle. To start, you need to assemble your materials. Most of the items—including a plastic bottle, bucket, sponge, fishing line, paper clip, and pins—can be easily found around your home. The most important component, though, is dry ice—which also happens to be the hardest one to find (Libbrecht recommends checking your local grocery store).

The dry ice goes around the outside of the bottle, which is outfitted with a string hanging from a wet sponge on the inside. The warm air around the top of the bottle, where the sponge is, creates water vapor, which crystallizes around the string. Within an hour, you'll have cultivated a large, feathery crystal in the center of your makeshift snowflake machine.

Even though the final product resembles a snowflake, it's technically frost (snowflakes form in clouds from thousands of water droplets, not from vapor). Libbrecht has been growing his own snowflakes for years, though the system he uses in his lab is slightly more sophisticated. After learning how to grow a snowflake at home, be sure to check out some of Libbrecht’s own exquisite creations on his website.

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