Connecting with Nature at a Tiny Treehouse in Lincoln
April 29, 2016
The treehouse in the backyard of Harrison Reynolds and Ellie Bryant’s home earns rave reviews on Airbnb.
Perched 30-feet above ground and anchored by four maple trees, the treehouse stands in the shadow of Mount Abraham in Lincoln. Nearly every weekend of the year, visitors looking to reconnect with nature are finding the treehouse on Airbnb.com and traveling for miles to stay there.
A decade ago, Harrison and the couple’s son, Will, began building the treehouse using wood, mostly pine, spruce, and cherry, as well as recycled materials—palettes, hockey sticks, and skis—and completed it over the course of three summers. They never dreamed the 95-square-foot structure would become such a sensation, but it didn’t take long. Their first guest arrived from Germany in 2009, and about 1,000 people have stayed there ever since. These days, accommodations are booked until 2017.
Harrison—who goes by “H” —and Ellie have been married for more than 20 years, and they never expected to become innkeepers. But it turns out they love their job. Guests who stay in the treehouse are typically easygoing and enthusiastic about such a unique experience, making H and Ellie’s job relatively easy and very fulfilling.
“People like to be treated special, and I want them to feel special,” says Ellie, an author and retired English teacher from Mount Mansfield High School. “That sense of joy in making people happy is something I’ve never felt before.”
The treehouse is open to guests on weekends and sleeps three. Accommodations include heat, electricity, a small refrigerator, and outdoor deck. Guests are treated to a complimentary breakfast, wine and cheese in the evening, and an outdoor hot tub under the stars. Inside the main house is a dining area, private bathroom for guests, as well as an extra bedroom in case of inclement weather or a change of heart.
Inside the treehouse are two beds (a queen and single), a small desk, two chairs, and plenty of windows to see the incredible view of the Green Mountains. What makes the treehouse extra cozy are the personal touches—including Ellie’s books, a Rory Jackson painting, an autographed photo of Norm Abram from This Old House, and a stained glass window handcrafted by H—to make guests feel right at home.
An Idea Takes Root
The couple first came up with the idea of building a treehouse back in 2004 when they stayed in one while traveling in Australia. Following the trip, H, a woodworker and retired hockey coach, took a treehouse building class at Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield with his son, Will, and the two began building the treehouse soon after. At first, the project was nothing more than a way for the father and son to spend time together. For a while, Will even lived in the tree house. When he moved to Boulder, the couple made some cosmetic improvements to the treehouse and listed it on Airbnb.
Over the past few years, the treehouse has been featured in magazines, blogs, websites, and on television programs. Guests who have stayed in the treehouse have included grandparents, mothers and daughters, couples, and even a bride and groom. Activities for guests include hiking in the Green Mountain National Forest, swimming at Bartlett Falls, strolling along Main Street in Bristol, or heading north to spend the day in Burlington. Guests are also welcome to sit back and enjoy the beauty of H and Ellie’s 15-acre property.
“There’s something about staying in a treehouse that makes you feel young, and it’s all about being closer to nature,” says Ellie, explaining why the treehouse is so popular. “For us, the best part is giving back and sharing what we love. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
For more information about the treehouse or to make a reservation, visit Airbnb.com.