Arts & Culture News

Just Outside Dallas, You Can Sleep in a Treehouse and Wake up to the Scent of a Lavender Farm

I awoke to the fluting of Texas songbirds and the morning sun on my legs. The wind blew lightly through the canopy net enclosing the bed. Moments after I removed my lavender-scented eye mask, I realized I was not dreaming. I was lying in the master suite of a treehouse bed and breakfast, tucked away on a quiet, 18-acre lavender farm.

Savannah’s Meadow, located in Celeste, about an hour northeast of Dallas, offers two luxurious treehouse accommodations. As a romantic getaway for my boyfriend’s birthday, I booked one of the Swiss Family Robinson-style dwellings.

We had arrived just after 3 p.m. the day before, after a late lunch at the Landon Winery in historic downtown Greenville, and were greeted by owners Susan and Ron Van Volkenburgh. The couple led us past a field of half-bloomed purple flowers and stopped at a mysterious wooden door nestled along the tree line. We moved down a narrow path, past a private hot tub and pool, and up a winding wooden bridge to the aptly named Majestic Oak Treehouse.

Once inside, we explored each of the treehouse’s three rooms. A live oak tree ran straight through the middle of the main room, bordered by a square-shaped bar. To the left were doors that led to a floating sky deck perfect for lounging and reading. To the right was a full-sized kitchen. A set of stairs, disguised as a bookshelf, led me up to the “crow’s nest” where I found three twin-sized beds positioned under an open skylight. 

A patio connecting the main living quarters with a master bedroom featured canvas tent-like walls and a ceiling that could roll away to reveal the night sky. The patio also took us to a bathroom; stocked with lavender products made onsite and a glass-sided shower with the most spectacular treetop view.

Susan retired from her career as an oncology nurse to home-school their children and is now a published author. Ron is a software engineer who runs his company from home. Their two eldest children have moved away and the youngest, 15, is the farm’s “animal whisperer” when not studying.

“For the past several years, Ron and I have discussed leaving the city,” she said. “We craved land, a place to share with our children and grandchildren away from the hectic metropolitan-suburban lifestyle. We also knew that a move like this would be challenging and would be best tackled before old age set in.”

While searching for wooded land they stumbled upon Savannah’s Meadow and made an offer that same day. They purchased the farm this past April and had their first guests less than two weeks later.

Eager to see their family farm firsthand, we quickly changed into our hiking clothes and set out to explore.

To escape the merciless summer sun, we avoided the main road and stuck to a series of shaded trails toward the Van Volkenburgh’s home, in search of a small mossy pond they had spoken of. There we found a friendly donkey, a dozen hungry ducks and a two-person canoe. 

After a short boat ride, we continued to venture deeper into the woods, discovering a break in the trees. Suddenly, it became clear how this place got its name. I spread a blanket in the multi-colored meadow and we lay silent, soaking in the smell of wildflowers all around us.

As the sun began to set, we packed up our things and headed back to our treehouse home for the night. On our way, we stumbled upon a silo-shaped gift shop and the two-story Bare Creek Hollow Treehouse, which officially opened August 1.

I had no desire to sleep that night. However, the therapeutic lavender aroma combined with a star-filled sky lulled me into a deep state of slumber. No wonder the Van Volkenburghs moved out of the city. This was a type of rest and relaxation I didn't know existed.

An episode of Animal Planet’s Ultimate Treehouses with Pete Nelson will feature the Majestic Oak Treehouse at 9 p.m. on Sept. 9.

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Mollie Jamison is a freelance writer covering music and culture for the Dallas Observer. She studied journalism and political science at the University of North Texas. In her free time, you'll find her at contemporary art museums and karaoke joints.