Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Oregon Road Trip: Trail to The Treehouse Hotel

Photos by Nicole Holt

Prior to leaving for Massachusetts, my wife and I went on one last Oregon adventure: a road trip down to Southern Oregon so that we could stay at the Treehouse Hotel in Cave Junction.

We got off to a fairly good start from Eugene heading down I-5 smoothly until we hit some traffic which was caused by a high-speed chase. Two disabled vehicles with shredded tires and used spike strips littered the side of the road, and rubbernecking caused the slowdown. As per usual, the human body knows just when you can’t pull over on the freeway to relieve yourself, and mine chose this time to insist on bladder relief. We decided to take the next exit that appeared to have even the slightest promise of a restroom.

Fortunately for us, the next exit had a Pilot gas station. Since we knew that it would have a clean restroom and, most likely, a pinball machine, we figured that this was a pretty safe bet.

Much to our surprise, this exit (148, Oakland) is home to a picturesque slice of Route 66-style nostalgia. There was a drive in made out of two trailers that served up decent milkshakes, a garage with an original Michelin Man standing out front and another garage with a sign on the roof that read simply “GAR”. Best of all, there was a motel that was comprised of a large triangular shaped building next to a row of several smaller triangle structures; each smaller triangle was a room. This motel reminded us of the Cozy Cone in Pixar’s animated feature Cars.

For all of its charm, I’ll forgive the modern motel and adult shop that also populate the area. After utilizing the restroom at the Pilot station and spending a few quarters on a couple games of pinball, we picked two chocolate milkshakes and returned to the highway.

Nothing of note occurred until just before we entered Cave Junction, OR. We approached a field and saw a sign that proudly advertised “SWEET CRON”. Unfortunately, the sweet cron stand was closed as we did not visit during cron season. I’m still trying to decide if this was an honest mistake or marketing genius. I would have quickly forgotten about a sign for “SWEET CORN”, but I’m still talking about sweet cron.

The Treehouse Hotel is a collection of tree houses situated in a remote part of Oregon that was supposedly chosen as the ideal place to ride out a nuclear holocaust. Being that we hadn’t yet had a need for a nuclear haven, the owners of the property, who happen to be tree house enthusiasts, decided to create a unique B&B experience.

I had first heard of this property years ago on the Travel Channel and I thought it would be a fun place to visit should the opportunity present itself. As it turns out, for my wife and myself, it was not a fun place to visit.

I had imagined a romantic getaway high above the ground in a tree house with the comforts of a B&B: clean sheets, comfortable beds and fellow guests of the non-creepy variety. What we found was that the Treehouse Hotel takes all of the best parts of camping and the best parts of staying at a B&B, and it avoids them at all costs. Bedding was uncomfortable and of dubious cleanliness; the "cleaning fairies" to which the generally invisible staff referred to in the information sheet left in our room definitely did not visit our treehouse during our visit. In addition, children ran wild in the morning and visitors from Portland drank cheap beer and bad rum around the campfire well past 2am.

Security is not a concern at the Treehouse Hotel as there are no locks on the doors; I had to bar the door with a piece of plywood that I found in order to have some sense of security. The windows had no screens on them, so while in theory you could open them to cool down the rooms, it wasn’t practical because you’d let bugs in. We were uncomfortable as soon as we arrived, and it was a relief to be on our way away from the Treehouse Hotel.

The only redeeming quality of the Treehouse hotel was its proximity to Taylor’s Country Sausage in Cave Junction (30 minutes by car). Here you can find all kinds of meat and meat-related products, and you can even sample their products in their dining area. I had the most amazing steak sandwich; it was marinated in something a little sweet, and it was was burnt around the edges yet still remained juicy. If you ever make it out to Cave Junction, OR, I highly recommend stopping by Taylor's.

While spending a couple nights in a treehouse wasn’t exactly what we expected, it was great to go on one last road trip in Oregon before moving across the country to Massachusetts. Some things you just have to try. They may be terrible, but you’ll never know if you don’t give them a shot. The Treehouse Hotel sounds great on paper, but in reality, left much to be desired.

Have you ever visited a novelty B&B? Were you disappointed? Please comment below.

If you've enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to the RSS feed.


  1. Yes, my family and I stayed at the Red Caboose Motel in PA. What a hoot it was. Each room was a train car and in the dining car if the children ate all of their breakfast the owner let them push a button that rocked the dining car to feel like a moving train. Loved the Sweet Cron signs and now where you live it is called sweet con!

  2. All are the great views, different eye catching, beautiful vistas and splendid destinations.

  3. I am with you on the Sweet Cron sign, which now has a board covering the "Cron"... but there is another sign on the property that says "Cron Produce" ... could possibly be the family name and maybe they got a bunch of sh*t about it! Who knows. Guess we'll just have to stop one of these days and ask! The farm and sign are in the town of Kirby. Was just by there yesterday.

  4. The Treehouse Hotel is really grand. The location is completely incredible. The staffs are friendly and very accommodating. They are knowledgeable the surrounding areas. The tree house we stayed in was unbelievable.