“A treehouse, a free house, a secret you and me house…” wrote the famed poet of childhood, Shel Silverstein. If you are lucky enough to have childhood memories of playing in a treehouse or fort, you know the value of these secret hideaways. If you don’t, there is still time – adults and children can share in the joy of a treehouse. In fact, given the current state of the planet and the lack of outdoor play in the typical American child’s day, I am quite certain that the world needs more treehouses.Discovery Forest Treehouse at the Chattanooga Nature Center
Unbeknownst to my husband, I have grand plans of building a treehouse at our house in the near future. Given that we met in the arms of a 200-year-old overcup oak tree while collaborating to build the 750-square-foot Discovery Forest Treehouse at the Chattanooga Nature Center, we just have to build one of our own. I was the center’s director and he was the artist/contractor who made the center’s treehouse dream come true. It didn’t take long for love to sprout, and we were married in the treehouse in April of 2001.
If you haven’t seen The Treehouse Book series by Peter and Judy Nelson and David Larkin, you will be amazed at how far treehouses have come. These books feature photographs of magical treehouses, ranging from artistic bungalows to castles in the sky, located all over the world. Check it out in my new Blog Bookstore (see tab), which highlights books that are meaningful to me or that have been recommended to me by family and friends.A neighborhood treehouse I have admired for years.
If you have the need to sit in the branches of tree for a few hours or overnight, there are treehouse rentals all over the globe. The following is a list of some that can be found in the United States:
Tennessee: The Discovery Forest Treehouse at the Chattanooga Nature Center in Chattanooga, Tenn., is not an overnight facility, but it’s a great spot for picnicking, reading a book with kids or simply enjoying the quiet of the woods. It is also wheelchair friendly. Just down the boardwalk is an overnight rental facility, the Paddler’s Perch, an elevated cabin set on the banks of Lookout Creek, which is part of the Tennessee River Blueway canoe and kayak water trail.
South Carolina: The Edisto River Treehouses are part of the Edisto River Refuge near Charleston, S.C. Rental of a treehouse includes the use of a canoe and a shuttle to put-in. Paddle in on Day 1, spend the night in a treehouse and paddle out on your last day.
North Carolina: Fire Mountain Inn, Cabins and Treehouses is a private mountain retreat just outside of Asheville, featuring streams, waterfalls, hiking trails and views of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Maryland: The Treehouse Camp at Maple Tree Campground backs up to the Appalachian Trail on South Mountain in Rohrersville, offering hiking, rafting and tubing in the area.
Arkansas: The Treehouse Cottages in Eureka Springs, AK, offer seven treehouses for rent; however, they only allow adults to stay as guests.
Missouri: River of Life Farm Treehouse Cabins are located within the Ozark Mountains in Missouri, offering hiking and fly fishing opportunities on the North Fork River.
Washington: Cedar Creek Treehouse, located near the entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, is a bed and breakfast cottage situated 50 feet up in a 200-year-old Western Red Cedar tree. The Lothlorien Woods Hide-A-Way Treehouse in Snowden offers mountains, streams and hiking paths bordering the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
Oregon: The Out ’n’ About Treesort is a treehouse wonderland nestled in the southwest corner of the state among the Siskiyou Mountains, outside of Cave Junction and just below the wilderness headwaters of the East Fork Illinois River. Vertical Horizons Treehouse Paradise is a a bed and breakfast located in southern Oregon, near the Redwood Forest, the Oregon Caves and the beautiful coast of Oregon.
Wyoming: Teton Tree House is a bed and breakfast lodge (open from May to September only) located in fabulous Jackson Hole, Wyoming.