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Bird’s-Eye View

Bird’s-Eye View

Tree House Takes Glamping to New Heights

In a scenic region of Vermont known as the Northeast Kingdom, a labor of love sits high above the landscape. The enchanting Stone City Treehouse (available for short-term rentals through Airbnb) went from pipe dream to reality thanks to owner Heather Davis.

Davis envisioned building a tree house on her Hardwick, Vermont property for respite and additional income following a divorce. “I had a lot of work that needed to be done around the house and I had a small budget, so I felt very stuck,” says the single mother of two. “I began collecting tools and learning skills.”

Her peaceful, twenty-acre property served as a muse for the dreamlike structure she helped construct after The Treehouse Guys—Vermont-based team who had a show on the DIY Network—built the platform and attached it to four trees. Another local builder installed the walls, windows, doors, and roof. “I did the railing, the drywall, and the ceiling insulation,” says Davis, who also had some help from her boyfriend. “It came from being fed up and determined, but it’s been really satisfying,” she says about the construction process, which included her work on the siding, decking, flooring, and more.

Davis describes the vibe of the rentable retreat as “an eclectic but natural aesthetic that’s a bit bohemian.” It was important for her to incorporate local, natural, and recycled materials that contribute to the casual environment. From accessories like artwork to functional finishes like tile, every addition was resourceful. Hodgepodge shingles combine a mix of old and new elements and vintage windows from a local schoolhouse add to the charm. Excess tile from another project covers a countertop. Secondhand doors from a friend’s yard sale and maple flooring from Davis’s boyfriend’s property give it the markings of a community project. But not everything is salvaged; eco-friendly bath products by Public Goods and aromatherapy shower steamers by Ani’s Market elevate the glamping experience.

Stairs lead the way to the stilted structure where a deck overlooks a stream and another outdoor area beckons from below. “On a rainy day, it creates a covered space to be outside,” says Davis, who stays there on occasion and invites friends to do the same after a cancellation. One night she slept outside in a hanging bed with mosquito netting, which is now a seasonal fixture. “It was amazing,” she says.

Short-term rentals are available all year round. In winter, a propane stove keeps the tree house toasty. “You get the ambience of fire, but you don’t have to deal with wood,” says Davis. Cozy quarters include a sleeping loft with a full-size bed, living room, kitchen, and half bath with a composting toilet. “There is no running water—[guests receive a refillable container of water for their stay]—but there is electricity,” she says.

“Having limited water makes you realize how much you don’t need and how much you’re using. It brings more awareness.” At the main house, where Davis lives, a full bathroom with a washer and dryer is available for guest use too.

People have traveled from all over the world to stay in this woodsy escape; however, since the start of the pandemic, Davis has hosted more locals. “Most people call it magical,” she says. “It’s really nice to bring peace into peoples’ lives for a bit. I’m hopeful they take that with them. People appreciate the simplicity and the quiet time.”

Leaning into rustic respite, amenities like a landline and Wi-Fi access are only available on the main house porch. But why would you need modern connection with a sweet sitting area, hammock, and campfire space all on-site? You also don’t have to go far to source local products. A welcome stand on the property touts honey, maple syrup, art, and—very now—hand sanitizer. If you want to explore the area beyond the tree house property, hiking, biking, and skiing are popular activities that will help you see the landscape.

Ultimately, the Stone City Treehouse experience is meant to be restorative and informative. “I want people to have a connection with nature in order to preserve it and conserve it. It’s more effective that way,” says Davis. “I want them to take the positive experience of being there and bring it . . . with them to bring more positivity and love and goodness into the world.”

Stone City Treehouse:

Facebook & Instagram: @stonecityvermont

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