“How different would the world be if everybody slept in a tree?”
That’s the question Will Beilharz pondered in 2011, after spending the night in a hammock securely suspended some 250 feet above the ground in the canopy of a redwood tree in Occidental.
Beilharz had come to Sonoma County to work on the construction of the Sonoma Canopy Tours zipline course (now Sonoma Zipline Adventures) on the Alliance Redwoods Conference Grounds. That experience, and especially the overnight stay in the trees, made a lasting impression.
13 years later, Beilharz’s company, Artistree Home, makes sleeping among the trees an easy — even luxurious — feat. And, for tree lovers, there’s an added bonus: 10 percent of business profits support forest restoration and stewardship projects in Sonoma County and beyond.
Co-founded with his mother, Amy Beilharz, Artistree designs and builds treehouses and tiny homes for customers around the world. The company, headquartered in Occidental, has constructed two treehouses in Sonoma County that can be booked for one-of-a-kind overnight stays in the redwoods.
The Spyglass Treehouse offers an elevated Wine Country experience. Along with a king bed, kitchenette and floor-to-ceiling windows, it has a bathroom with an infrared sauna and a deck with a cedar hot tub. (Nightly rates from $555.)
The Compass Treehouse is more like a glamping tent suspended in the trees, with walls made from canvas-like, semi-permeable fabric. Amenities include a queen mattress pad and a battery to power some lighting and charge a cellphone. A composting toilet and hot shower are located a short walk from the tent, on terra firma. (Nightly rates from $150.)
The two treehouses are situated on 20 acres of third generation redwood forest in Occidental, owned by the mother-and-son duo. Both accommodations offer a dreamy place to relax and unwind. But the treehouse stays in Sonoma County are just one small component of the Artistree business.
The company was conceived to develop and operate so-called eco-resorts and is currently working on one in Texas. Sonoma County is another potential location for an eco-resort, if Artistree can find land that is the right fit for the project.
Will Beilharz, a self-described “regenerative real estate developer,” says the company’s goal is to use the hospitality side of the business to fund land conservation.
“We’re interested in developing hospitality-type experiences in partnership with land conservation that help restore land and ecosystems, but also engender a sense of place and a cultural and ecological refuge for people to experience the beauty of the world,” he says.
More Above Ground Getaways
Two other properties in Sonoma County, one in Bodega and another in Occidental, offer overnight stays among the trees.
Eagle’s Nest Treehouse Farm Stay at Salmon Creek Ranch
Located on a 400-acre working ranch on the Sonoma Coast, Eagle’s Nest treehouse is accessed via a 30-foot spiral staircase. It features a queen bed, full bathroom, coffee machine and a wraparound deck for lounging on — when you’re not hanging out with the ranch’s resident ducks, cows, goats and livestock guardian dogs. (Nightly rates from $399.)
1400 Bay Hill Road, Bodega, 707-775-9604, salmoncreekranch.com
Sonoma Zipline Adventures
Five treehouses, similar to yurts, form an aerial village in redwood treetops on the Alliance Redwoods property in Sonoma’s west county. (There’s also a sixth similar structure on the ground that is ADA compliant and accessible.) Every treehouse stay includes two zipline tours with Sonoma Zipline Adventures — one on the day you arrive and another before you depart.
Dinner and a hot breakfast are included and are delivered via room service. With a queen bed and bunk beds, each treehouse is designed to sleep up to four people. Treehouses also have a sink and compostable toilet.
The cost is $523 per person Monday through Thursday, $595 for Friday or Sunday arrival, and $616 for Saturday arrival (there is a minimum of two guests). Additional children and household members start at $263 per person (depending on the day of the week). Along with the overnight stay and two zipline tours, the stay includes a guided nature hike, gourmet dinner and hot breakfast.
6250 Bohemian Highway, Occidental, 888-494-7868, sonomacanopytours.com
Click through the above gallery to see the treehouse vacation rentals in Sonoma County.