If you're feeling outdoorsy, but don't want to sleep on the ground, Carolina Heritage Outfitters on the Edisto River has three treehouses just for you.
The treehouses can only be reached by a 10-mile canoe expedition down the river, a journey that'll take you a good three to four hours to complete. Their secluded location is perfect for privacy and romantic getaways. If you can afford the $150 per person fee ($75 per person after the first night, but only on weeknights), the land and water are magnificent and virtually untouched. And the owners of Carolina Heritage, Anne and Scott Kennedy, believe that the stay is well worth the price if you're looking for a private adventure. "Given that there are only three treehouses on 160 acres with over a mile of riverfront, included with two days of canoe rental, shuttle service, and secure parking at our outpost, the fee is really anything but hefty," Anne says. "Privacy and seclusion on private property doesn't come without investment and maintenance costs."
The construction itself adds to the environment and overall atmosphere of a treehouse getaway. Built by Scott and Anne beginning in 1994, they stuck firmly to the concept of using only simple and sustainable materials. "We use all-local pine, quite a bit that we cut from our property and milled with our sawmill," Anne says. "You'll find no plastic or artificial materials in the construction of the treehouses or on the property." The Kennedys have stuck to this idea throughout the last 18 years, serving as a reminder to their visitors of "how simply we can live and thrive."
Just a warning: Make sure you're good at canoeing. They actually say on their website that canoeing is unguided and you're paddling out at your own risk. The current is only between two and four miles an hour, so no need to fear white water whipping your canoe clean down the river. Paddlers still need to be able to go moderate distances downstream and they must be able to dodge fallen trees. Oh, and stay off the water at night. Carolina Heritage Outfitters states clearly in their information on paddling, "No river rescues of any sort are performed after dark by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, by the Sheriff's Department, or by Carolina Heritage Outfitters. Please be off the river by dark." We know your sense of adventure will be in full swing out at the treehouses, but don't be stupid.
Go after a heavy rain when the water is high and you can canoe through cypress forests. Canoes and kayaks, as well as a shuttle service, are included in the $150 treehouse price, but if you want to skip out on the treehouse and just camp on the land, the Kennedys rent out their kayaks for $30 per head and canoes for $35.
The treehouses aren't for everyone. As previously noted, perks of the stay are the privacy, breathtaking flora and fauna, peace and quiet, walking trails, waterfront activities, hammocks and indoor furniture, screens and windows, a small assortment of kitchen supplies, and outdoor grills. Cons for the city slickers include no electricity, no heating and air, no indoor plumbing — that's right, no running water, no toilet, no shower, nada. The location doesn't have an address, just GPS coordinates, so if you're bad with directions, you might have a tough time finding your way. Then there's the overabundance of potentially freaky insects and critters that creep indoors to watch you sleep. We're talking giant water spiders type of freaky. Arachnophobes beware.
There's also the element of toting all your belongings in a canoe to the treehouse. That means you're going to have to pack all the clothes, food, and booze you want to bring with you in the canoe. Hopefully you won't be the poor, unfortunate soul who capsizes. So all you rich bastards thinking about visiting a treehouse to get in touch with Mother Nature, you may want to rethink your trip before packing your five-piece set of luggage.
However, if you're a laid-back type of Daddy Warbucks and don't mind getting down with some grit and grime, this trip is well worth the price. The varied wildlife and diverse ecosystem are sights for any biology buff to drool over. And a treehouse getaway might be just what you need to recharge those urban batteries.
Carolina Heritage Outfitters