Treehouse offers rest, canopy views in Freeland

Like a small sentinel among the towering trees of this Freeland forest stands the Whidbey Wellness in the Woods treehouse.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Like a small sentinel among the towering trees of this Freeland forest stands the Whidbey Wellness in the Woods treehouse.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

The smell of cedar in the treehouse is a prominent sensory appeal of Whidbey Wellness in the Woods.

The woody, sweet scent fills the lofted treehouse cabin 13 feet above the needle-covered ground. As wind rushes through the verdant canopy and swirls around the treehouse, it almost sings. Not like co-owner/operator Ken Berry sings, but almost.

Having people discover and rent his and wife Lynn Berry’s vacation house is a sweet song to them, and one that persists. They met not long ago through music at Trinity Lutheran Church and their relationship bonded and strengthened over music and eventually became a marriage, and that marriage created a 33.5-foot long treehouse rental just off Lancaster and Wahl roads in Freeland.

After one of her first visits to Ken’s home, located on the same property as the treehouse, Lynn said she was revitalized by the forest surrounding his house.

“I felt an incredible energy of healing in the woods,” Lynn said.

Soon after they married, friends of Lynn’s contacted her for an extended visit. In the course of their conversation, they told her they were selling their Woodinville home and its treehouse. Sensing a tinge of providence, Lynn put her feeling for the trees and their on-the-market treehouse together. Ben Watanabe / The Record | This small shower house sits on the forest floor about 15 yards from the tree house. Owner-operator Lynn Berry explains much of the trimming is from an old alder tree that her husband, Ken Berry, cut, sanded and finished for the detached shower and toilet room.

“It was a divine order,” she said. “It was unmistakable.”

Its single-bed, octagonal living area (excluding the protruding queen-size bed’s extra angles) offers a place for people to rest, think and dream. And this treehouse is a sweet dream realized for the Berrys.

Staying in the canopy cabin for between $95 and $120 per night affords lots of space at 250 square feet and plenty of ways to avoid cabin fever. At most, three adults can stay in the treehouse, with two on the bed and one on the hide-a-bed sofa. Windows on all but one wall create a near 360-degree view and when the cabin, complete with a TV, DVD player, CD/radio/iPod player, wireless internet, a hide-a-bed sofa and electric fireplace, is insufficient, there are woods to be walked, a grassy meadow to be played in or laid upon and other forms of wellness. Lynn also offers massages and cooking classes. Ken, usually busy with his day job at Whidbey Telecom, leaves most of the treehouse work to Lynn.

That’s not to say that Ken, even after a long day’s work, won’t entertain guests. During a recent stay, a family with two boys was treated to an impromptu archery course with Ken instructing them how to hit the targets. There’s also a sport court with a basketball hoop and a pickleball net, though those aren’t necessarily always available to the Berrys’ temporary treehouse tenants.

“It’s great to have all these resources,” Lynn Berry said.

Much of the materials and furnishings in the treehouse and its detached shower house are reused items. Lynn, the self-titled queen of thrift store shopping, used old roofing shingles as the pathway from the road to the treehouse stairs and to the shower house, which has a composting, no-scent toilet, a repurposed shower and gooseneck showerhead. Even the trim around the massive mirror and window is from an old alder tree that Ken finished into usable wood. The structure itself is an old 8-by-12 shed.

“It’s community energy,” Lynn said.

Ken is in the process of cleaning and preparing an 18-foot teepee to erect in the grass near the treehouse. Once ready, the teepee will be used as a sleeping space for children when families rent the treehouse, though it’s likely to only be available in the summer.

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