Air Force veteran Dan Shaw just wanted to drink cold beers with his flying buddies. Safe to say, his 1989 man cave project got out of control.
Today, the patriotic, masculine rental property in Geneva, Fla. draws travelers from around the world for what they see as “a genuine American experience” — for only $60 a night, according to Shaw.
Shaw, a former plumbing contractor and inventor, built the 1,000-square-foot man cave with corrugated metal salvaged from an old fence. He turned scraps into a living space with a loft, running water and air conditioning. He even built in a urinal and a hatch to throw empty beer cans out the window.
“With most art forms, like a painter, you have a canvas. With my art form, there is maintenance. I have to mow the grass,” joked Shaw.
Beer signs, Uncle Sam posters, American flags, a canoe and a stoplight cover the walls. Engines, motorcycles, model airplanes and an actual fireplace hang from the ceiling. A chair on a pulley allows guests to hop in and raise themselves up to the ceiling.
“I also hang things because they’re fun or have past meaning. The Honda motorcycle was my wife’s. I remember when my wife and I used to go to state parks and ride together,” he reminisced.
The bar is built on a fuel tank from an F4 Phantom plane and is covered with a shatterproof top, filled with “the important things my wife and I have done,” he said, including Disney World tickets, his Air Force insignia and trinkets from when he was stationed in Alaska. Military guests often add their patches to the collection, he said.
Outside, guests can enjoy a fire pit with keg end tables or cook on the grill — a good thing, since there is no kitchen, oven or even a stovetop in the man cave. Guests are always most shocked by a four-foot alligator who lives in the pond just outside, though.
Shaw said he’s in it to provide an experience, so he takes guests on Segway tours, to the shooting range, or out on rides in his airplanes. Shaw has his own airplane hangar, with Cessna 172 Skyhawk and Piper J-3 Cub planes, along with a few cars, like the AC Shelby Cobra, a 1972 VW Bug and a 1999 Plymouth Prowler.
“They see Americana when they look at us,” said Shaw.
Sarah Paynter is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @sarahapaynter
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