I mean there’s really not much more to say than Edisto and Treehouse. But I will….We’ve been wanting to book a trip to one of these treehouses since we first started dating back some three years ago. However, first note to future visitors—book early. Limited availability + your own crazy schedules in spring and fall (really the best weather to go) make for a small selection of weekends each year. But it’s so worth it. Call in Jan or Feb for a late March to June booking and same for the fall, about 2-4 months beforehand for pick of the litter weekends.
Scott and Anne Kennedy own and run all operations of Carolina Heritage Outfitters. They are super lovely and welcoming and really ensure a fantastic trip for all levels of canoers, campers, whatever. Side note, they also provide just day trip canoe excursions on the Edisto.
And for those of you out of staters not familiar with our Edisto River, here’s the wikipedia link to it. And please, pronounce it EH-dis-to, and never uh-DIS-to, like The Weather Channel people so annoyingly do during hurricane season.
So we met at the outfitters Friday morning. There were 2 more groups headed down river that day as well so we waited one everyone to arrive. After loading our gear—pack in and pack out kinda trip (anything you need or use as far as clothing and food)— we all loaded in the van and took about a 30 minute trip up river to put in. Scott gives a brief but thorough review on basic paddling strategies, bumping into fallen trees, keeping an eye for wildlife, etc…And after that we were off (and really never saw the other groups again)!
And not 5 minutes after pushing off, our first snake and seriously a water moccasin cuts across river in front of us. About 10 minutes later, our second snake—just a little green snake swimming through—and then nothing but turtles, wood ducks, and kingfishers the rest of our trip. Not one alligator which was kinda nice but still surprising.
This stretch of river is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a 12-13 mile paddle down river to the treehouse island. With the Edisto moving around 2 miles and hour naturally, and the aid of paddling, we officially departed by 11:00 am and arrived at our treehouse by 3:00 pm. We were ahead of all other groups by a solid hour and a half. However, lots of people like to stop on sandbars and eat lunch and hang out. We were much more exited to find our tree house and roam the island all Swiss Family Robinson style before everyone else got there! The island itself is owned and protected and covers around 150 acres. So there’s plenty to roam and see.
Scott—who has lovingly built all of the treehouses by hand, along with everything else on the island—shared with us before leaving that we had the best treehouse. Number One. Numero Uno. The Original. It was the first treehouse he built several years ago. And while the others are larger, “this one has the most heart.”
Complete with hammock, split level tree house with a full picnic table and grill on the second platform and then our tree house above.
Once inside, it’s absolute charming. Tablecloth covered table for two, lamp oil filled votives all throughout the ledges of the interior wall, a two burner camp stove top, 3 huge jugs of fresh water, biodegradable dish soap, set of 4 plates, mugs, bowls, and a multitude of silverware and steak knives, percolator, dish pans, cards, games, visitor journal, and a full size propane fueled fireplace! Very awesome for the evening chill (only one or two windows can be closed, the rest is all screens when it comes to doors and windows).
There’s a full size futon downstairs with a laddered loft above (which you see the window for over the porch) with a full size cloth mattress. Add sheets and you’re set! Here are some interior pics.
As the smallest of the three treehouses, our slept a maximum of 4 people and for comparison, the largest one sleeps a of 5–8. It has a loft and two futons that pull out. As I’m sure many of you are wondering, our tree house and the large house share a set of outhouses. The middle sized treehouse is tucked away on it’s own at the tip of the island and you can’t really walk to and from it. Therefore it has its own outhouse. But they truly weren’t that bad. Very nicely built, they were cleaner than most portolet’s I’ve seen—and I don’t use many of those at all just by my own rule! And for those of you that have read my composting blogs—it appears that yes, Scott basically breaks down everything first through an in-barrel composting system by adding leaves from the island and then we’re guessing (from self assessment only) that it’s then burned in the strategically placed metal barrel behind. Maybe that’s more than you wanted to know, but now you know!
After the whole adventure of arriving at our island (and my guilty pleasure of waking up at 5 am beforehand to watch the big royal wedding) throw a red meat dinner in the mix and when nature turned the lights out—it was bed time! We were probably asleep by 9:00 pm at the latest falling asleep to the river trickling, the crickets chirping and the owls hooting. And we slept a solid 10-11 hours of the most amazing sleep! People think they need double stuffed luxury mattress and the finest of linens following a spa day to get good sleep and feel rejuvenated anymore, but no…you really just need some nature kids! Spend a day canoeing and sleeping in fresh spring air to the sound of nature and save your hard earned money.
We cooked some fantastic sausage patties the next morning with some cereal and bananas, fresh OJ and milk. We repacked and cleaned up and hit the river by 10 or 10:30 the next morning for the next 10 miles of our trip. Before leaving though, here are some more pictures of the island itself and spans of the river as we were paddling.