According to a story by Lee Thomas-Mason for Metro in the UK, a recent study conducted by the University of Derby and The Wildlife Trusts provided a prescription of spending time among nature curative. Whether we seek reliving our childhoods or simply the ideal experience of pristine nature, we all need a real escape sometimes. And what could be more “escapist” than treehouse living for a spell (or forever)?
Woodsman’s Treehouse – Dorset, UK
The aforementioned study performed by Dr. Miles Richardson, head of psychology at the University of Derby, the “research evidence shows that exposure to nature can reduce hypertension, respiratory tract and cardiovascular illnesses; improve vitality and mood; benefit issues of mental wellbeing such as anxiety; and restore attention capacity and mental fatigue” (BBC). The recent research ads credence to what Guy Mallinson, the brains and brawn behind The Woodman’s Treehouse in Dorset knew all along. The “the treehouses of your youth” are a hard wire natural curative to the effects of our mundane and repetitive lives these days.
Mallinson’s treehouse stay was once dubbed “England’s most luxurious treehouse” for its chic luxury additives, but today the visionary has actually created a community around the concept including; ‘glamping’ pods, kitchen buildings and crafting workshops all interlinked by wooded walkways and the occasional rope bridge.
The overall therapeutic effect is a disconnect and a reconnect at once. Lee Thomas-Mason encapsulates the experience staying at such a natural haven by expressing her own feeling of, “harboring the animalistic urge to quit my job and move into the countryside to build my own home and live off the land.” The treehouse for two is designed to be a romantic getaway, one for “glamping” in the most Utopian of settings. This UK treehouse and the science attached set’s the stage for two newer treehouse developments….
Serenity Treehouses – Asheville, North Carolina
A first of its kind in North Carolina, the Serenity Treehouse development sits atop Baird Mountain just northwest of the Blue Ridge’s most popular city. Mike and Caroline Parrish’s dream vacationing getaway sits inside the larger Serenity residential development that incorporates the same sustainability-naturist ideas. The Serenity Treehouse offers accommodation for four in the idyllic mountaintop setting. If the Woodman’s Treehouse is the most luxurious in England, this Asheville fantasy is the most ethereal one in America.
The Parrish’s vision of eco-friendly living is a synergetic mutation of modern living transplanted into pristine nature. Serenity Treehouses does not offer “glamping” pampering. Instead, the effect here is one of “campsuburbing” – or a fascinating mix of modern community morphed into primeval living. The best way of understanding the experience here might be to imagine transporting your suburban home into the Hobbit of Lord of the Rings fame. In fact, the Parrish’s inform me there’s plans to include “Hobbit” type underground in the eco-friendly resort complex of the greater Serenity community.
This development envisioned by the NC couple was brought to fruition with the help of building contractor Robert Anderson, and the help of “Treehouse Guys” stars James Roth and Chris Haake of the DIY Network. I reported on this NC development some months back. Today the vacation aspect has gone live via Airbnb, and the first houses atop Baird Mountain are being sold, quickly I’m told. So, the therapeutic effects of nature would appear to be secret no longer.
The Mohicans Treehouse – Ohio, US
Designed by Kevin Mooney and Pete Nelson, this small village of treehouses were featured on Animal Planet and The Discovery Channel, as well as other high profile shows. Built to be ultimately sustainable, the “Mohicans” come in natural flavors; the White Oak, the Little Red Tree Houses, the Moonlight and Old Pine include elements of passive solar, radiant heat, on-demand hot water, reused and repurposed materials, and the use of local materials etc.
This Loudonville, Ohio nature stay is a bit more remote than the typical ones I’ve looked at. About 1.5 hours outside Akron, The Mohicans is a bit more like a year-round “summer camp” from your childhood. Besides the treehouses, there’s also four types of cabins, and an events center. This “glamping” development is one of the most advanced, in terms of being fully developed, concept resorts in the US. Fox 8 New Day Cleveland recently visited the fantastic Mohicans (The Grand Barn Wedding Center at The Mohicans) – a center we actually heard the Parrish’s discussing for the NC community.
The Mohicans’ newest tree house, Old Pine, is made out of 100 percent reclaimed materials, including 100-year-old barn siding and hand hewn beams. I mention this because sustainability is all about exacting and economic uses of materials and energy. These treehouse communities are edging into being truly green via their emulation and integration of nature. My oldest brother Frederick built a house in the forest of North Georgia made of heart pine from ancient barns. This was almost 40 years ago, and the place fitted perfectly into the moutnain landscape. I mention this because all developments will eventaully have to turn back to nature. This begs the question; “Why not now?” I hope you enjoyed these developments, let’s hear of your finds too.