As a professor, I’m pretty much a professional nerd so I enjoy nerd things like researching for fun. During one of my research sessions, I came across an article listing a treehouse campground here in Maryland. Treehouse campground, here? Why have I never heard of this?! After a fun experience a couple years ago at the Caboose Motel, we were ready to check out another eccentric vacation spot.
However, The Treehouse Camp at Maple Tree Campground in Rohrersville, Maryland is not so much eccentric as it is magical. Though it’s just over the mountains from Frederick, you feel transported far away.
Nestled in the mountains, the Treehouse Camp is not a commercial campground with countless amenities and activities and people whizzing around on golf carts. Though it’s 20 acres, it feels like a small place, an intimate place on a very human scale. People stay there to unplug, savor nature, and enjoy each other.
Sited in the forest, they offer a trio of camping options: treehouses*, tent sites, and the Hobbit House. The treehouses range from very rustic (one has a tree growing through the center of it!) to more polished (with wood stoves, mattresses, and a kitchen table) and can accommodate groups from 4 to 12. All sites have their own porch/deck, picnic table, fire pit, and charcoal grill. With the exception of the Hobbit House, none of these options include electricity. The camp road is gravel and does have some rough and narrow spots so you should be cautious if driving a new or large vehicle. (*Note: The camp offers treehouses and tree cottages but I’ll refer to both as treehouses for the sake of simplicity.)
As far as camp amenities, they offer bathrooms, a camp store, a dish washing station, and portapots throughout. The bathrooms are well lit and are cleaned frequently. One of my favorite experiences of our weekend was taking an outdoor shower, feeling the warm water on my skin while looking up at the bright sky and soaring birds.
The campstore stocks food items, including local farm meats, snacks, basic camping supplies, and gift items. Our girls both got Treehouse Camp tshirts and my husband surprised me with a campground coffee mug proclaiming “May the forest be with you!” While our daughters examined the gift items and my husband chatted with the caretaker about bands and zombie movies, I enjoyed leafing through their scrapbook that details the history of the camp. It was designed to be a place to connect with nature from the very beginning.
The vibe at the campground is definitely laid back, families and groups of friends. During the day kids run around with their dogs in tow, but in the evenings you can hear little other than the crackling of your fire and chirping insects. Even the big group of college kids in the treehouse across the road from us enjoyed their evening fun quietly. The Treehouse Camp just has that effect on people, apparently. Within the first hour of arriving, we were already planning to return.
The campground is on South Mountain, around the corner from Gathland State Park and is close to Antietam, Harpers Ferry, and Shepherdstown. Its location assures diverse fun nearby for people who want to hike, bike, get on the river, check out history, shop, and eat locally.
We arrived late on our first evening there and managed to get the grill and campfire going as the light faded. I made flatbread pizzas, herby chickpeas, and grilled vegetables along with a salad. I also attempted to make popcorn in a foil packet, which was a spectacular failure. Thanks a lot, Pinterest!
After relaxing by the fire we headed in to our treehouse and set up our gear. We stayed in the Falcon treehouse which has capacity for up to 12 people. It has a very high ceiling with bunks that go all the way up to the ceiling on one side. A window up high was stained glass and the floors were nice smooth wood. Three windows and the screened porch door offered plenty of cool air and we all slept well.
The next morning birdsong and sunshine woke us up and we ate a quick breakfast at the picnic table. We had planned to go tubing on the Shenandoah River at Harpers Ferry but a migraine struck and prevented me from going so my husband took our girls around to some historical sites and out for ice cream while I rested. Thankfully I felt better in time for dinner, cheese quesadillas with grilled veggies, rice, corn, pico de gallo, and guacamole. It was so delicious, I forgot to take pictures!.After dinner, the girls enjoyed ice cream cones stuffed with smores fixings, wrapped in foil and heated in the coals of our campfire.
On our last morning, we packed up and headed to Shepherdstown for lunch at a cafe with a stream running through their outdoor sitting area. The food was just okay but the wait staff was nice and the girls enjoyed their food. We drove around the town a little bit, deciding to come back and explore more at another time and headed home to our dogs.
The Treehouse Camp is a wonderful place to get away to without a long drive or expensive rates. We all fell in love with it pretty immediately. Even my husband, who proclaims that “camping is not for brown people,” had a fantastic experience and ordered us sleeping bags when we got home!
Visit their website to learn more about the campground and the different camping options they offer. Read the descriptions of each treehouse carefully; depending on where you are staying you may or may not need certain gear like air mattresses. If you have any questions, definitely give the camp office a call; the caretakers are warm, funny, and happy to help.
Though it’s only July, I have a feeling that our weekend at Treehouse Camp will not only be one of the highlights of our summer but also a cherished family memory for years to come. It’s just a magical place.
Have you ever camped in a treehouse? Would you be willing to try? Let me know in the comments.