Top 7 Reasons To Go Glam-Camping AKA Glamping On Your Next Vacation.

Planning your next vacation? Make certain you consider glamping as an option.

Here are 7 reasons why.

1.  Glamping locations tend to be located in the most beautiful parts of the country,  often in spots where hotels and resorts can’t go.

Imagine Waking Up To These View?

Rockwater Secret Cove Resort and Spa offers unique Tenthouse Suite accommodations on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia Canada.  Nestled in the arbutus trees, overlooking Secret Cove, each suite opens onto an endless expanse of Pacific Ocean.

2.  Return to a a simpler way of living.  You are practically one with nature, almost living outdoors, yet without giving up luxury creature comforts.

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River Dance Lodge On The Clearwater River

River Dance Lodge in Idaho, features luxurious glamping tents and a  range of  outdoor adventures including horseback riding, rafting, biking, fly-fishing, hiking and simply being in nature.

3. Glamping isn’t limited to traditional “out of the way” campsites.   New glamping areas feature stunning beachfront locations,  guest ranches, mountain retreats.

The Resort At Paws Up Montana

Pinnacle Camp situated on a bluff overlooking the confluence between the Blackfoot River and Elk Creek is a truly special camp that offers its guests one of the most spectacular views around.

5.  Glamping is about the experience –  it’s a way to truly experience the best of life.  The best that nature has made and the best luxuries created by man.  Glamps tend to offer you the amenities of 5 star resorts, some even including your own Glamping Concierge.

Beautifully Appointed Interiors 

Glacier Under Canvas is located in one of the most breathtaking spots in the world. 7 miles from Glacier National Park, where peaks reach to the sky, glaciers move the earth, waterfalls carve rocks, and the wildlife roam free, as they always have.

6.   Privacy and connection to the rhythm of nature.   Luxury in nature, amongst the trees,  hearing the sounds, sights and smells, that are missed when staying at a traditional resort.

Treehouses designed by Kevin Mooney and Pete Nelson. Animal Planet and The Discovery Channel filmed the building of one of the tree houses and it was shown on a show called Tree House Masters.

7.   No setting up shop.   Camping typically brings to mind tents, hard grounds, uncomfortable nights,  wet sleeping bags, chilly feelings, annoying insects,  dirt,  hauling equipment and getting a fire started.   Gone are those days. Glamping is about sleeping in a world-class bed,  in a warm and beautiful accommodation, surrounded by the healing sounds of nature.

Siwash Lake Guest Ranch

Perhaps the worlds premiere, luxury dude-ranch experience. Personal yet sophisticated, Siwash is dedicated to the most discerning travelers, adventurers and active travelers seeking freedom, and a life-enriching experience.

Things to consider when going glamping.

There is no “one size fits all” definition for glamping.   Different locations offer varying services.   Where you sleep will also vary depending on the glamp.   Some glamping resorts features canvas safari-style tents, others yurts, to teepees, trailers and tree houses.

Experiential travel comes alive at El Capitan Canyon situated minutes from Santa Barbara. Just bring you and your bags and experience the Californian Riviera at this beautiful glamping resort.

The one thing that is the same is that these offerings are designed to be comfortable and luxurious. Structures typically are very sturdy,  set atop platforms, keeping you and your guests off the ground.   Amenities vary, though often include:  high quality beds and linens,  beautiful bathroom facilities,  heaters,  down duvets,  rugs, pre-made fires,  morning coffee service and built at the best locations in the most beautiful parts of North America.

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Romantic Getaways That Light Up Your Nights

Imagine you and that special someone admiring millions of stars along with bright dancing lights in a glass igloo above the Arctic Circle, in the Northern corner of Finnish Lapland.
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You get to choose from either a snow or glass igloo to stay in.

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Completely surrounded by snow you’ll start to notice the silence becomes enchanting while the lights mysteriously begin to shadow your interior walls.  

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Moreover you’both have the opportunity to admire what’s known as the “Aurora Borealis”.  These lights are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earths atmosphere and is considered to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

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No need to worry about the cold. These igloos are made with thermal glass walls that insulate the interior and keeps it cozy enough for both of you. You don’t have to worry about the views staying clear even when the temperature dropping to -30 degrees Fahrenheit as you’re glass igloo won’t smog up your views as there built with modern technology.

Besides the romantic nights you’ll enjoy watching the best ice sculptors in the world come together at Kakslauttanen’s Arctic Resort to participate in the international ice-sculpting week at Igloo Village.  Their marvelous ice creations remain displayed during the rest of winter for viewing.

There creations include a Bar made of Ice, an Ice Chapel and the World’s Largest Snow Restaurant.

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What do you think?  Could you stay in an igloo tonight just for two?

Vacation off the grid in an “Earthship.”

“For 35 years Architect Michael Reynolds has been experimenting with radically sustainable living in New Mexico’s desert…. he believes that progress evolves through making mistakes…but not everyone sees it his way.”

~ Garbage Warrior

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When it comes to the planet, renegade architect Michael Reynolds,  believes that humanity is like “herd of buffalo and stampeding  toward a 1,000 foot drop-off,  and … we are just running off the edge….and he’s not going down that way.”   To Reynolds this is not an option.

2323Photo of Michael Reynolds thanks to Earthship Biotecture

“We know that in the future we are rendering this planet….uninhabitable” says Reynolds.  So he’s dedicated his life to devising methods of living that allows us the ability to take care of ourselves.

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Photos thanks to Earthship Biotecture

Known as Earthships,  Reynolds’ homes take “every aspect of life and put it into your own hands.”  His buildings are made of natural and recycled materials  – including earth-filled tires, beer cans and water bottles.

Each is designed to work as autonomous building, and off-the-grid to minimize reliance on public utilities and fossil fuels.    Based out of Taos, New Mexico, Reynolds’ “Earthship Biotecture”  has created a self-sufficient, off-the-grid community where design and function seem to converge in eco-harmony.

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Photos thanks to Earthship Biotecture

Today,  after much battle with the law, Reynolds’ Earthships are “taking flight” and inspiring people around the world to do the same.  Reynolds’ is sharing what he has learned through sessions, offered at his Earthship Academy, where he instructs people on “an owner builder approach to creating self-sufficient Earthships and Earthship communities.”

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Photos thanks to Earthship Biotecture

Reynolds is also spreading the word by offering anyone looking for an eye-opening vacation, the opportunity to stay in one of the most versatile and economical building designs in the world.

When you stay in an Earthships no luxury is given up.   Each is a fully furnished homes with modern amenities that provide an experience of living in a sustainable home with Wifi Internet, TV, growing food, and the ultimate in green buildings.

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Photos thanks to Earthship Biotecture

This is one vacation where you will discover what it’s like to live in a carbon zero, sustainable, green building and an experience that is certain to change the way you view the need for a new approach to housing.

Pleas visit Earthship Biotecture to learn more about Earthships,  Michael Reynolds and his team at:

 website |   facebook | rentals

As you can guess, this hasn’t been a smooth journey for Reynolds.   The renegade with big ideas to save humanity during this journey has defied state standards resulting in much conflict with authorities.  For more on the story to get to where he is, watch the following  video, Garbage Warrior, and see how Reynolds and his crew have attempted to work with authorities in anyway that they can to ensure that they lend their pioneering skills to ensure that we don’t go off that cliff.

The “Onion House” – a Kona home inspired by a dream to live in a work of art.

Artist Beth McCormick at play.   Photograph from OnionHouseHawii.com

Artist Beth McCormick at play. Photograph from OnionHouseHawii.com

“The Onion House was a combination of two people who had a passion — my aunt’s passion for Hawaiiana tradition and Ken Kellogg’s passion for creating structures that placed living spaces in harmony with nature.”

                                                                                         — Beth McCormick

The year was 1959 and Elizabeth Von Beck,  known as Auntie Dofeen – had a dream of living in a work of art.   So when Auntie Dofeen met Ken Kellog she “met someone who was like a kindred spirit” and the two of them created what became known as the “Onion House.”

Hand built by Kellog, today the “Onion House” is a landmark in the organic architecture movement, a term coined by Frank Lloyd Wright, and a philosophy of architecture that promotes harmony between human habitation and the natural world through design approaches that are so highly sympathetic and well integrated with the environment, that buildings, interiors, and surroundings become part of a unified, interrelated composition.

Photography thanks to onionhousehawaii

According to Beth McCormick,  Auntie Dofeen’s niece,  the home at the time of construction caused quite a controversy amongst the local residents of Kona, who couldn’t appreciate the strange design.  So when a woman was overhead saying, “The damned thing looks like an onion!,” it was given the most appropriate name – made even more so by the fact that the house was, in part,  financed by the sale of dehydrated onions, as Auntie Dofeen so happened to be the niece of the founder of McCormick spice company.

Photography thanks to onionhousehawaii

“The house was as outrageous as it is now,” says Beth McCormick.  Kendrick Kellog wanted to create a “true Hawaiin house” where the residents could “live with nature.”   Kellog was inspired by the nature all around – as is seen from the palm trees, that were transformed into concrete arches over the fireplace to the lack of formal walls, made possible because of it’s location.  “The house … is designed for the weather of Hawaii on the Kona Coast, … [where] air temperatures range from 70 to 80 degrees, all year long” says Kellog.  It, “takes advantage of the natural breezes that come from the ocean in the day and from the lava-laden mountains at night.  It was built for the joy of living in the tropics.”

True to the philosophy of organic architecture, while you’re inside the Onion House there is a sense that you aren’t inside at all – something that the artists working with Kellog wanted to and were able to achieve, by brilliantly capturing the beauty of the outside and pulling it inside using intricate and beautiful artwork.

It is the scalloped shaped domes, however,  that rise over the pool, and gardens, that define the house – and give it the “Onion” look.   And true to Aunt Dofeen’s desires,  living in the house is like being inside a work of art,  with the light during the day streaming through the  translucent arching roof panels and resulting in spectrums of colours splashing throughout the house.

Photography thanks to onionhousehawaii

Photography thanks to onionhousehawaii

While inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, it was with the “Onion House” that Kellog rightly became known as an innovator of organic architecture – his work being described as “the Sydney Opera House meets Stonehenge.”

Photography thanks to onionhousehawaii

Sadly, during the 1970s the house and gardens fell into a state of disrepair, as Auntie Dofeen and her friends, lived their care free lifestyle.   It was in 1984 that Beth stepped in, having been involved with the house from a young age, saved it from foreclouse and completely restored the home to its present day magnificence.   Her Auntie Dofeen passed in 1987,  leaving Beth and the Kona with a home that encapsulates her free-flowing,  soulful, nature.

It’s no surprise to Kellog that Beth is an artist.  He says that children that have grown up in many of his living spaces have gone on to become artists.   The Onion house has most certainly nurtured the growth of Beth’s unique art form of elaborate designs of luscious color that are executed in the shimmering palette of bird feathers.

Visit “The Art of Beth McCormick” and you’ll discover stunningly gorgeous feathered shields and sculpted porcelain masks that appear to come from an obscure and colorful civilization that has yet to exist.

Photography thanks to onionhousehawaii

Photography thanks to onionhousehawaii

Photography thanks to onionhousehawaii

Should you feel compelled and have the  desire to experience a vacation where you won’t want to leave you vacation home, and when you do, your soul will likely be forever transformed then contact onionhousehawaii.com for rental details.


Mesmerizing Treehouse Community in the Jungles of Costa Rica

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Photograph by Allison Shelley.  Source FincaBellavista.com

It’s pretty common for surfers to seek out Costa Rica’s incredible waves.    The story usually continues, as it did, when Mateo, in 2006 went on a surfing trip to Costa Rica,  fell in love with the beauty and serenity of the Southern Zone, and called his wife Erica to return and look for a getaway to escape to during the colder months up North.

The couple decided to finding a getaway in the tropics.   After much searching the two discover what would later become Finca Bellavista.  A property, located at the end of a steep gravel road, in the middle of the jungle.  To seeit they had to macheted a path through the jungle, to the edge of Rio Bellavista, where they explored some of the property’s river frontage.  That evening, they began brainstorming ways that they could afford the 62-acre property.

1Photograph by FincaBellavista.com

Recalling that the properties’ trees were spectacular, Erica tossed out the idea to build a treehouse.   Knowing that the property was much bigger than what they wanted, or needed,  Erica  wondered  if friends or other people might be interested in going in on the property, and perhaps build treehouses too.   “And wouldn’t it be cool if the treehouses were connected with ziplines and bridges? Kind of like the Ewok village in Return of the Jedi…”

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Photograph by Anders Birch. Source FincaBellavista.com

The idea turned into  what Finca Bellavista (FBV) is today –  a sustainable treehouse community, on 600 acres,  in the mountainous South Pacific coastal region, with seven treehouses and cabins available for rent.   FBV now includes a peninsula of rainforest mountain, frontage on two whitewater rivers and many majestic trees.  True to the original plan there are parcels of land now available for sale on the property.

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Photograph by Anders Birch. Source FincaBellavista.com

The stunning beauty of this Costa Rican coastal region means visitors are immersed in nature.   There are waterfalls, natural pools, hiking trails, wildlife and in true Costa Rican style, a zip line course.  FBV is an adventurous travelers’ dream destination.

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Photograph by Anders Birch. Source FincaBellavista.com

Pictures of FB,  capture the essence of what Erica and Mateo have created far better than words will ever however there is only one true way to experience this extraordinary spot, and that’s to visit.

To connect with  Erica and Mateo visit them on:  their Website,  Facebook page, or Twitter.

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Photograph by Geoff Gillstrom.  Source: FincaBellavista.com.

“Since 2007, the couple has sold 51 parcels of land and built 25 structures, including a community center, base camp, and five true treehouses. It’s a perpetual work in progress”   Source: Business Insider

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Photograph by Allison Shelley. Source: FincaBellavista.com.

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Source FincaBellavista.com

A Hidden Paradise Away From the Crowds.

A hidden piece of paradise along the Portuguese coastline, about an hour south of Lisbon…Comporta.  This stunning area renowned for magnificently white sandy beaches,  delicious wines, fresh fish and beautiful rice paddies, is now home to Cabanas no Rio, a romantic hideaway that sits alongside the Sado river.

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Here, away from the crowds, the essence of nature connects to one’s soul. It’s a spot to relax, unwind and take in the sounds and sights of a gorgeous, natural reserve.

Your accommodations – –   two recovered and restored, old fisherman huts, designed by award winning architects Aires Mateus.

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This dwelling project was developed with their usual poetry and sensibility. The huts are built of recycled wood and the accommodations  so sensibly integrated into the breathtaking Portuguese landscape that guests have the feeling that the huts have been here for as long as the river and countryside, themselves.

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“Wood, as a material that is highly corruptible by weather, plays a fundamental role in the project of the huts, as they are totally exposed to it and therefore they will change with time. Moreover, it is a constant reference to nature, the river, the wharf and the world of sailing, establishing relations between the cabanas an the landscape.”

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The project is a rural refuge that allows visitors to spend some time by the river. The minimum spaces include a living and cooking area and a sleeping room with a toilet. These functions interact with the slope of the roofs, a shape that responds to the archetype of a house.

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“The wharf is medieval and assembled with wood. Its identity is kept long beyond the material’s resistance. An identity that allows to change, to replace, keeping all the values.”

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There is also free wi-fi, an a iPod dock and canoes. You can stay at this idyllic spot with breathtaking views for $270 p/night.

Exquisite Tree House Vacations

Treehouse memories linger in my imagination.   We’d build them over the weekend and by Sunday evening the few wood slats that remained would dangling from limb to limb.  Perhaps the rapid growth in treehouse accommodations has been caused by a nostalgia for childhood days, a calling back to nature,   to experience a simpler life, or maybe it’s in part our environmental consciousness.  Whatever the reasons, today’s tree house vacation accommodations are available to suit practically any budget, and come in unbelievable shapes, sizes and locations.    Here are a few that may intrigue you.

Tree House Lodge,   Limon Costa Rica

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Built on tall stilts, this back-to-your-childhood house is submerged by the forest. There’s enough room for a family, however it is also very romantic and suited for a couple.  Located on a 10-acre beachfront property,  in the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge on Costa Rica’s southern Caribbean coast,  the tree house is a sustainably built home made from fallen trees, with solar heating, two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a shower.   It is a bi-level cottage built around the trunk of a rare sangrillo tree. Inside features a  bamboo-walled shower and an elevated master bedroom that is reached via palm-thatched suspension bridge, making it ideal for watching howler monkeys play in the treetops.

The Exotic Treehouse, Kilauea Hawaii near  Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

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Built 20-ft. up, this exotic rental is integrated into 5 living ohia trees and hidden away on four quiet acres of pristine, native Hawaiian rain forest!   The treehouse has large windows and decks all around for spectacular 360-degree nature viewing. Commune with birds and other tree creatures on their level.

If you want to be outdoors, a unique skywalk and deck stretches out into a forest canopy of giant tree ferns.  There is a queen-sized bed, cedar hot tub on the lanai, outdoor shower and more. It is built mid-canopy in the forest, overlooking tree ferns and almost eye-level with the upper canopy. The treehouse is less than five minutes from the gate to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Volcano Village is a short walk, with restaurants and galleries.   It has one bedroom and sleeps two people; prices start at $200 per night.

Into the Woods Tree House, Whippingham, UK

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Come and stay in a cozy and exciting little house in the trees. Experience the privacy and peace of living right in the heart of nature. Fantastic for families, but equally wonderful as a romantic break for couples, or a unique treat for groups of friends. The treehouse is divided into two separate pods – the Living Pod and the Sleeping Pod and joined by smart decking. The Living Pod includes one lovely timber clad room with kitchen area, dining table and benches, and sofa – and is heated with a cozy logburning stove. French doors lead out onto a sunny decking area for al fresco eating and relaxing.  Our little house in the trees is perfect for adventurous families, romantic breaks for couples or a quirky treat for groups of friends.  The treehouse has been newly built to extremely high standards, is fully insulated and is cosy, warm and comfortable.

Ngong House, Nairobi, Kenya

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Combine  luxurious treehouse,  a location on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya,  fresh, locally prepared food,  and you have the most idealic start or finish to any Kenyan safari.   Set on a 10-acre private estate, Ngong Housei  is near many of Nairobi’s top attractions, as well as the airport for departures to most of the countries’ game reserves.  The risk: you may not want to leave your treehouse. 

Casa Margarita, jungle tree house at Playa Negra, Guanacaste, on Costa Rica’s “Gold Coast”

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Built on steel and concrete platforms 30 feet above the jungle below, the house is over 4000 square feet of living space with amazing Pacific Ocean and jungle views.  The living and dining areas are open to the vistas below – no walls, you become part of the jungle in a safe haven. Just minutes from some of the world’s best surfing at Playa Negra and the broad Pacific beaches of Playa Junquillal, La Casa Margarita is situated in a 250-acre ocean view eco-community known as La Pura Jungla, an amazing jungle refuge from the hustle and bustle of “everyday” life.

This 3 bedroom 2 bath luxury tree house offers all the amenities of home in a relaxed jungle setting where howler monkeys and exotic birds are your neighbors and yet you’re just close enough to everything – dining, shopping, beach, ocean, activities and resorts – to make your stay EXACTLY what you want.  This unique retreat is two beautiful homes under a single roof, separated by a 60 foot walkway high over the jungle floor.  The Guest House has two bedrooms and the Master Suite has one bedroom.  You may either occupy the Guest House alone or both Guest House and Master Suite.

Free Spirit Spheres, Vancouver Island, Canada.

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Set amongst the forests of Vancouver Island,  the 3 Free Spirit ultra-unique Sphere shaped treehouses,  Eve, Eryn and Melody are suspended, giving the appearance that they are floating. Beautifully crafted, the joinery is yacht-style with brass trim, varnished wood and cane doors. Even the smallest, single-person-sized Eve, provides a spiritual connection for guests to the forest, swaying in time with the trees to encourage creative thought.  Each sphere is wired for power and has built in speakers for those who wish to bring their own music… the perfect opportunity to experience true surround sound.

 Cedar Creek Treehouse,   Mt. Rainier, Washington

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Wake up to the music of a mountain stream flowing by your cabin that sits 50 feet up in a giant cedar tree with a view seen only by the birds and the bees.    At Cedar Creak treehouse you’re accommodations are adapted to the tree canopies of a lush evergreen forest. You can see for miles.   A skylight in the cabin illuminates a mammoth tree trunk that is growingthrough the floor of the two story treehouse and  through the ceiling. Cedar Creek Treehouse is an Earth-friendly, privately owned and operated mountain retreat, located one mile as the crow flies, 10 miles by car, from the Nisqually River Entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, and bordering the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Edisto River Treehouses, South Carolina, located between Charleston, Columbia and Savannah

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If climbing up a tree to reach your accommodations isn’t enough when it comes to staying at a treehouse,  Edisto River Treehouses are set in one of the more pristine destinations that getting to them entails paddling 13 miles through the willows and cypress of the Edisto before reaching the Edistor River Refuge.  The three treehouses  are set apart from one another nestled in the trees on the river’s edge.    None have electricity or hot water, though each comes with luxuries, such as a grill on the porch and a rope hammock. You also need to bring your food.  The largest Private Wildlife Refuge on the Edisto River accessible by canoe offers their guests unparalleled privacy and stunning views from world-class treehouses.

 Tree Sparrow House Tree Sparrow Treehouse, Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall

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Perched in an ash tree with sweeping sea and countryside views, our tree house accommodation offers a cozy and unique holiday adventure.  Tree Sparrow House has one  comfortable room with a mezzanine double bed and seating/kitchen area. The tree house has been lovingly constructed with careful attention to detail and is around two metres from the ground. Access is via a wooden staircase. It is fully insulated with double glazed windows and has heating for chillier nights. From your lofty position enjoy water views of Falmouth Bay and spectacular sunsets over the fields and orchards of Tregaminion. The beautiful beach of Porthallow is an easy, ten minute walk away. At night, enjoy the peace and quiet of this secluded location and fall asleep to the rustling of leaves in the trees. You might find you don’t want to leave….

A Treehouse Poem

A tree house, a free house,

A secret you and me house,
A high up in the leafy branches
Cozy as can be house.

A street house, a neat house,
Be sure and wipe your feet house
Is not my kind of house at all-
Let’s go live in a tree house.

Shel Silverstein