News & Politics

Joe Manchin’s Houseboat: 5 Things

Photo via Third Way Think Tank's Flickr account.

Susan Collins won’t support Neera Tanden’s appointment as OMB director, Politico reported Monday. Collins, like her fellow US Senator Joe Manchin, has put the Center for American Progress president’s nomination in even more peril and, Politico reports, she and Manchin have chilled on his houseboat, Almost Heaven, which is where he lives in DC and has entertained moderates.

Here are a few facts about the apparent flagship of the centrist Navy:

  1. It’s not a yacht. Republicans tried to paint Manchin as yacht-owning “Washington Joe” during his 2018 reelection campaign. Mmmm, not quite: “The vessel is listed as ‘recreational’ on documents,” PolitiFact wrote in a fact-check. “However, a less confrontational—but similarly accurate—description could be ‘houseboat,’ since it is Manchin’s residence in Washington.”
  2. Its value is relatively modest for a DC residence. Manchin bought the boat at a fire-sale price of $220,000 but insured it for $700,000, PolitiFact reported. Assuming it’s still insured for around that amount, Manchin’s got one heck of a deal: The median sales price for single-family homes in DC passed $1 million last year.
  3. Manchin lives on a boat because he doesn’t like living here. Yawn to performative Washington-hating, but chagrin about where he’s docked seems to be part of Manchin’s shtick: “‘My worst day as governor was better than my best day as senator,’ ” he told GQ in 2018. He fantasized to reporter Jason Zengerle about the possibility of sailing home on Almost Heaven, though he conceded that would take several weeks. (It’s about a 5 1/2-hour car trip.)
  4. Senators like to party on Almost Heaven. Pizza, beer, and merlot are often served on the boat, Time reported in 2014: “Manchin routinely invites Senators from both parties out for evening cruises. ‘Like a Tom Harkin and a Ted Cruz—when would you ever get them together in a room, O.K.?'” Better optics than Cruz’s last vacation, too. Chuck Schumer “thinks it’s his boat,” Manchin told Time.
  5. “Almost Heaven” is a Washington reference—sorry, Joe Manchin. While the song “Take Me Home, Country Roads” is one of West Virginia’s four state songs, its roots are here in DC. The inspiration for Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert’s anthem was a road trip to…Gaithersburg.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.