Guest Columnist

10 Acre Treehouses

Photo courtesy of Curt Swarm

Ginnie and Curt stayed in the “Captains Quarters” at Ten Acres Treehouses.
Photo courtesy of Curt Swarm Ginnie and Curt stayed in the “Captains Quarters” at Ten Acres Treehouses.

Ginnie and I went to sleep with the rain falling gently on the roof of the two-story tree house (sorta like being in heaven) and slept like a babies.

We awoke gently in the morning to soft light filtered through dense, tall trees. It was 7 a.m., late for us. “Where is the sunrise?” I wondered. “Ah, ha! The trees are blocking the glare.” It was so quiet, except for birds calling to one another — cardinals and jays. I stepped out onto the deck to a world of green mist, and rat-tat-tat of woodpeckers. “This is Eden,” I thought. Even on the second floor of the “Captains Quarters” tree house, we were barely a third as high as the trees. They grow tall and slim here, because of the denseness of the forest — oaks, maples (both hard and soft), and walnuts — then branch out at the top, like a wig on the head of a giraffe. “I’ll bet it’s roll-your-socks-up beautiful here in the fall,” I hollered in to Ginnie.

Ginnie slipped out onto the deck and put her arm around me, “It’s beautiful right now,” she said.

Not about to pass up the experience of an outdoor shower (with hot water) on the deck, we partook of the wonderful experience of bathing in the privacy of Mother Nature. How refreshingly natural, semi-primitive!

Bob Hopp is the 57-year-old, tall and slim (also good-looking and friendly), confirmed bachelor, who owns and built “Ten Acre Treehouses,” in rural, historic, Nauvoo, Illinois. He grew up a couple of miles from the property, and bought the 10 acres of heavily wooded rolling hills and creeks in 1989. It started with a zip line he built to have fun with his friends and family. When his property owners’ insurance company put the kibosh on the zip line, he decided to reconstruct the platform into a tree house, a man-cave, so to speak, once again to entertain friends.

When one of the friends said, “Hey, you know what? You could rent this out,” the seed was planted. Bob listed his tree house on Vrbo.com (Vacation Rentals by Owner) and, voila, the first rental was procured in less than 24 hours. It was a couple from Chicago, and their three dogs, who just wanted to get away from the city on the Fourth of July.

The rest is history. Bob had worked construction for 11 years, so had the skills to build most anything he wanted. That first tree house is called the “Whitetail Lodge,” because of his brother’s whitetail-deer head hanging on the wall.

Then Bob thought, “If one is good, two ought to be better.” However, this time he built the tree house with a rental in mind, and put a little extra into it. Bob had been in the Navy, so the second tree house, called the “Captains Quarters,” has a nautical theme. (His sister does the artwork.) This is the tree house that Ginnie and I stayed in. “Rustic adorable,” she calls it. Unique getaway. Cozy. We’ll be back!

Some visitors from Moberly, Mo., said that they had a hand-hewn, 1830s log cabin that they weren’t using. Bob purchased it, took it apart, and relocated it to the 10 acres. It’s called the “Fort Henry Log Cabin,” and has a fireplace. Bob transitioned from watching “Tree-House Builders” to “Barn Wood Builders,” on YouTube to get tips.

Bob has two dogs, Paris and London (don’t ask which is which), that are great ambassadors to the forest hideaway. We brought Buddy, and all got along fine. Also, there are two goats, Oreo and Rango, that act as watch-goats.

For reservations go to: vrbo.com, and search Nauvoo, IL. Enjoy.

BTW: cellphone reception is iffy. Yeah!

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com or visit his website at www.empty-nest-words-photos-and-frames.com.