“What kid doesn’t want a treehouse? It doesn’t matter how old you are,” said Leah Scott, COO of Custer Hospitality. “Even as an adult, how great would it be to build that dream treehouse?”
So when she heard the sales pitch adding treehouses to Buffalo Ridge Camp Resort, she didn’t hesitate to get involved.
“The concept was to provide a unique, magical experience for young and old alike, using the imagination we all embraced as children,” said Scott.
In fall of 2019, the team got to work to build four getaways in the trees: the Gold Rush, the Renaissance, the Serenity, and the Coop.
“With the Ridge as a whole, we do our best to create a price point for everyone because we’re all in different places in our lives. This is when we’re creating those memories that your kids share with their kids, and their kids.” -Leah Scott
“It really was important to us that we get it right, to focus on the smallest of details, and to not miss an opportunity for the guests to really be brought back and tap into that imagination,” said Scott.
While Scott was able to personally make many decisions for each treehouse, Bill Crandall of Sun-Rise Construction brought the concepts to life.
“He was the best partner in taking time in every detail to make sure it was done right,” she said.
Though they wanted each one to be packed with amenities, Scott says it was hard to remember that they had to be small.
“We had to remind ourselves in developing them that they are, in fact, treehouses,” said Scott. “As much as we wanted to put more amenities and a bigger space, we also wanted it to be cozy and feel like climbing up a tree in your backyard.”
Each treehouse leans heavily into its theme.
“You can spend a few days in these treehouses, and every day you’re going to notice a new detail,” said Scott.
If the town of Deadwood was a treehouse, it would be the Gold Rush.
“The Gold Rush is our miner’s cabin,” she said.
It harkens back to the Wild West with Jack Daniel’s light fixtures, a potbelly stove, a bison rug, and replica Annie Oakley guns. The bathroom is home to a whiskey barrel sink and a claw-foot tub.
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The Renaissance steps back in time to the era of swords, knights, and candlelight.
“The Renaissance is our castle,” explained Scott.
She said they aimed for a whimsical vibe with real cobblestone walls and wrought iron around, as well.
“We have a dungeon peephole in the castle door,” she added.
The idea for the Coop was based around a chicken coop.
“Our little chicken coop with feeders as our light fixtures just to make it fun,” explained Scott.
Scott is also proud of the washtub sink and the bird perch made from a real aspen limb.
Last but not least is Serenity.
“The Serenity plays off of a zen theme with bamboo and stone,” said Scott. “There’s really cool cut stone as the bathroom sink just to make it feel as authentic as we can.”
She said they called it Serenity “just to use that word that we need so much. Just to pause. Take a deep breath and enjoy the moment.”
While both the Coop and the Gold Rush sleep five, the Renaissance sleeps seven, and the Serenity sleeps eight.
Staying in the treehouses, though small by square footage, guests have access to plenty of amenities. Even those that aren’t in the trees themselves can likely be found somewhere at the resort.
“They all offer refrigerators, microwaves, a burner stove, heating and cooling, wi-fi, gas fire pits, and fire pits outside,” said Scott.
But access to these things doesn’t take away from the experience.
“It creates a whole different level that embraces your own imagination to be whatever you want it to be,” she explained. “For the 5-year-old to believe she’s that princess when she looks over the banister of the four-poster bed, or for the boy to be thrown back into the Wild West and gold mining.”
And it’s a different story for everyone.
“It takes you to a different time and takes you to a different place,” said Scott. “Even if for a moment, you see things a bit differently.”
For more information, visit CUSTERHOSPITALITY.COM.