Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fern Forest Fall

I'm ever amazed when couples book the treehouse knowing the temps will dip into the twenties. While I was in Louisville at Spalding's MFA in Writing residency, H hosted Mike and Ivania. Mike is from Minnesota and Ivania is San Salvadorian, and they met in Korea, where they taught English. They had just landed stateside and were looking for a bit of adventure before figuring out the next path to take. They arrived around dinner time on Thursday, which meant H had to miss hockey night with the guys. Mike felt so bad that he and Ivania took him out to dinner at the Bobcat. They slept soundly in the treehouse and in the morning Ivania padded up the forest trail in slippers and pajamas, her sleeping mask dangling around her neck. She helped H serve the continental breakfast, and afterward they cleaned up the dishes together.

The second night was colder, and the couple hung out in the guest room until the wee hours before heading out to the treehouse with flashlights. H said they were very sweet. It was his first time hosting solo, and John wrote that he and Ivania "had a fantastic time in the treehouse" and really enjoyed H's company. "We managed not only to climb a nearby mountain on a beautiful November afternoon but also visited three of H's personal favorite restaurants in nearby Bristol. Great conversation, hospitality, breakfast." H says Ivania was so impressed by breakfast that she took a picture of it. They left Lincoln for New York City and then planned to go on to see Mike's family in Minnesota, but I have a feeling the Fern Forest Treehouse will hold a special corner of their hearts.

John and Amber are two of the bravest people we've ever met. They drove up from New York,
where John coaches cross country at St. John's and Amber is a casting assistant at Princeton's McCarter Theatre, and arrived in the thick of a fierce nor'easter. After dinner at the Bobcat, they settled into the creaking and rocking treehouse with moaning wind and pounding rain. John kept thinking about H's promise that the treehouse was secure, and Amber slept through the torrent. In the morning they drank an entire carafe of coffee and huddled by the wood stove.

The following day they visited Burlington and had dinner in Warren at FlatBread, where Amber's father is friends with the owners. They returned with two growlers of Magic Hat, which we helped them finish off, and topped off the evening with leftover pumpkin pie and great conversation about best and worst movies we've seen. Luckily the next night was quiet and they were rested enough for a jaunt up Mt. Abe before they climbed into the car for the trip back to NYC. I have a feeling we'll see these two adorable people least I hope so.

Someone just wrote to ask if she and her boyfriend can rent the treehouse for four months. Four months? Straight? I'm exhausted just thinking about it. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go do a load of sheets and towels.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fern Forest Romance

A few love birds have nested in the Fern Forest Treehouse, beginning with Karrie and Isaac, who came up from Mystic CT to celebrate their third wedding anniversary. Karrie is a vegan, and in the morning we had a basket ready, decorated with anniversary ribbons and filled with vegan scones, vegan yogurt and fresh fruit. They took the basket back to the treehouse and had a picnic on the deck while they watched the sun rise over Mt. Abe.

Newlyweds Ryan and English wife Jacqueline spent a night of their honeymoon with us and left us with wedding favors of British tea, which was delicious. H tried really hard to get the eggs soft-boiled just right for Jacqueline so that she could dip toast "soldiers" in the runny yolk, but, alas, his culinary skills where soft-boiling is concerned are in the embryonic stages. But he's practicing for Jacqueline's next visit. We didn't have egg cups, either, but Jacqueline taught us to perch the eggs in shotglasses, which we do have. Need you ask why?

Justin and Kristin are two of the sweetest and most creative people we've met and the only guests to make a return visit. On their first trip, they drove straight from Buffalo towing their motorcycle on a trailer. They landed, unpacked, and unloaded the bike for an hour-long ride to Burlington. When they got back to the treehouse, they crashed in the loft and slept twelve straight hours. After breakfast, they left us with homemade jars of grapefruit marmalade, strawberry jam and dill pickles with cukes from their garden. We were thrilled to see them again this fall, and Kristin gifted us with her homemade granola (which was delicious and we gobbled up in two days). Justin is a graphic artist and Kristin a web designer. Check out Kristin's original, one-of-a-kind baby booties. Kristin, comment with the link to your site, svp!

Steve works for the Clinton Foundation and brought his new wife Jessica up from Boston for a night at Fern Forest Treehouse. Oh, and Sparky and Brutus came, too...our first treehouse canines. Jessica is finishing up her practicum to become an elementary school teacher. Usually I google guests to make sure they're not serial killers and found most of the posts for Steve showed him as a professional wrestler. Now, I have nothing against pro wrestling, and Steve's muscular enough to pass for one, but I was relieved to find that he's an accountant doing the good nonprofit work to help rid the planet of AIDS and stop global warming. Still, I guess a side gig in the ring now and then wouldn't be a bad thing.

If you're interested in trying a night at Fern Forest Treehouse, visit and look for us in Vermont.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fern Forest Treehouse

Thought you'd like to meet a few of the folks who've visited Lincoln, Vermont, to stay in H's treehouse. It took three summers to build the treehouse with son Will:
They picked a grove of tall maples and started with the platform. As you can see from the picture, there's a ramp to the building, but the property falls off so that the treehouse is 30 feet in the air. The sleeping loft is another nine feet over the living space. Thank goodness Will used a harness to hammer the metal roof on. The treehouse is insulated and has heat and electricity so that it's cozy even when the temp dips below freezing. And because it's in the trees, it stays cool in the summer.

Our first guests came in June '09 from Germany. Frank is a doctoral student in comparative literature and his girlfriend Friederike studied in the states and works for an American company in Stuttgart. They speak impeccable English and Frank's 6'5" frame fit nicely in the treehouse loft. Sorry not to get a picture of them. They took a pic with their camera and I'll try to get a copy.

We were a little worried about six-year-old Cai, who came with her parents Ron and Bobbie, but Cai loved the treehouse and didn't at all mind being so high up. She ate Cheerios for breakfast and afterward we built fairy houses out of limbs and branches we found. Ron teaches music at Wesleyan and Bobbie is restoring an old wooden boat. They were a sweet family, and it took me days to get over their leaving.

Melissa emailed at midnight on a Friday asking to come the next herself. We accepted and are glad we did. She works long hours for Paul Farmer's international health organization in Boston and was looking for a brief escape. She found it at the treehouse and hung out on Saturday reading and taking in the fresh Vermont air. What a brave soul to stay alone out there with the critters. The picture is of Melissa with Meryl Streep, who came to Boston for a fundraiser, Ophelia, the director, Dr. Paul and his wife DeDe.

My friend Amanda came up from the Jersey shore in October to spend a few days and give me some yoga pointers. When H and I had to go into town, and she spent her final night alone in the treehouse. In the middle of the night she hiked back to the main house sans flashlight to use the bathroom. Brave women like Amanda give me courage.

Claire and John came all the way from Perth, Australia, to see some good American blues. John plays mandolin in a blues band in Perth and brought a DVD of one of his gigs to share with us. I had book group the night they came, so H went to the Bobcat Cafe with them for a bite of dinner. They shared outrageous outback adventures like catching gowandas barehanded. After they left, they sent a text message from New Orleans, where they were sipping cafe au lait at an outdoor cafe. Wish I'd been there.

Stephanie and Jeff are philosophy profs at Stonehill College in Boston. The temp got down to 22 degrees that night, so they watched a movie on their laptop in the guest room before heading out to the treehouse to sleep. Stephanie said it got so warm during the night that she turned off the heater. After breakfast they went out to climb Mt. Abe on a sunny crisp November day.

Robin and Hazel were visiting from London. They took a tour of Burlington and then came back to hang out with us for a few riotous games of tiddlywinks and several bottles of the local brew. Hazel works for a mobile phone app company during the day and plays in an all girl rock band at night. Robin designs games for Facebook. Cool.