LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous books take readers into the magical land of Middle Earth, but a treehouse in Lancaster County brings Middle Earth out of the pages and into Pennsylvania.
Guests can stay in the Lothlorien Tree House in Lancaster County, which will start being rented out through Hipcamp in April 2023, according to treehouse owner Blake Ringenberg.
While staying at the treehouse, guests can fuel up with some homemade lembas bread or call upon the fire of Mount Doom to toast some “s’moredor s’mores.” (Don’t worry, no one will judge you for having second breakfast.)
Some of Ringenberg’s favorite features of the treehouse include the firepit, the nearby creek, the 20-foot sculpture of Treebeard, and the 110-foot suspension bridge.
Ringenberg started building the Lothlorien Tree House in the spring of 2018. “The tree holding the house part was the perfect shape for a tree house and it was something I always wanted to do (since I was a kid),” Ringenberg said in an email.
Blake and Gretchen Ringenberg planned to use the treehouse as a bed-and-breakfast, but they also use it as an office for their therapy practice, Gethsemane Counseling.
“We always wanted our mental health practice to be unique and more homey-feeling (we wanted to avoid the cold, institutional vibe that you get in a lot of agencies), so we thought a tree house would be a great addition to our existing offices at Gethsemane Counseling,” Blake wrote.
“My wife loves The Lord of the Rings, and knows that Lord of the Rings nerds are dedicated and faithful fans that deserve a place like this. We think that themed places and events are just really fun and cool, so we thought, why not?” Blake continued. “The Lord of the Rings is a story we can all relate to, with mythology and stories that resonate universally. I’m a narrative therapist, so people’s stories are what I am passionate about. We all have a ring of power. And we all could use a Samwise.”
Starting next year, the Ringenbergs will rent out the treehouse from April to November. Up to four people can stay inside the treehouse with room for others to tent in the area around the treehouse, as well, Blake explained. The maximum length of stay is 30 days, and there is no minimum required stay length.
Hipcamp specializes in booking sites for tent camping, RV parks, cabins, treehouses, and glamping, according to the website, so guests can expect the Lothlorien Tree House to be a little more “adventurous” — as Blake put it — than a typical hotel. However, the treehouse does have an outdoor bathroom and kitchen including running hot water for the shower and kitchen sink, a toilet, a gas stove and oven, and kitchen supplies such as cookware, a toaster, spices, and dishes.
The Ringenbergs purchased around 90% of the items used to build the treehouse from their local Habitat for Humanity Restore, Blake noted, and the treehouse is completely off the grid, running on alternative energy sources.
The Lord of the Rings inspired the Ringenbergs while they built the treehouse, and now, Blake hopes the treehouse can be an inspiration for others.
“I want the people who stay here to feel inspired about their own dreams…that there is always a way if you choose to have the grit and perseverance to chase it down. Having the support and encouragement of loved ones helps, too. We all have great ideas that can make a huge difference if we nurture and take care of them,” Blake said.
According to the Hipcamp listing, booking for the Lothlorien Tree House starts at $250 a night with additional fees for things like the lembas bread and s’mores.