Monday, June 5, 2017

My EPIC Tiny House Summer Camp Vacation

It’s that time of year …the time of year when we look at the calendar, double check how much time we have in our vacation coffer, and then make our summer travel plans. If you’re like me, with newly adult children, figuring out where they want to go that will result in a minimal amount of complaints; is a thing of the past. Yes, my travel plans can now include going places and doing things I want to do!!

Burlington, Vermont; City Hall

As a West Coaster growing up in a large family and then raising my own, I haven’t had as much time to travel to the East Coast as much I would have liked. Or, perhaps it was the lack of travel that gave me the travel “bug”. Nowadays, I think nothing of road tripping several hundred miles on a weekend. But, there are some destinations that require a bit more work

This is what "travel planning" looks like in my world

And, as I ponder what my trip plans will include this year, I can’t help but recall the bestest vacation ever that I took last year to….drum roll…..Tiny House Summer Camp.

My 2016 Tiny House Summer Camp Accommodations.

Picture this…..ten off-grid wooded acres in the hills of Vermont in late summer, the leaves have not yet started to turn, the smell of a bonfire, and laughter…lots of laughter. I spent 3 of my 7 days of summer vacation amongst the most fun, and funniest, helpful, fun loving, creative, and colorful people I have ever met in my life.

Day One - Wednesday
I arrived in Burlington Vermont with what felt like the worst hangover I have ever had. After having not slept a WINK on the plane I just wanted a horizontal space, ANY horizontal space, to lay my head. The “plan” was to rent an SUV and car camp for a week, and let my whim be my guide. After picking up my rental SUV I headed straight to Goodwill to purchase blankets and then headed to Walmart, where I bought an air mattress. After finding a tire shop to fill the mattress, I sacked out in the parking lot of a grocery store.

Minimalism at its finest!

Day Two – Thursday
I woke up in the middle of the deep woods in Vermont at a camp ground that I found after hours of being lost. It was my day to “acclimate” to the east coast time zone and I could think of no better way to start my vacation than at a spa; so I ventured into a nearby resort village and asked around for the best masseuse in town. Five hours later, freshly showered and adequately relaxed, I put the elusive camp address in my GPS and headed out.

An Austrian Spa in the mountains of Vermont.

Day Three – Friday
Despite my best attempts at drinking myself to sleep, the backwoods sounds of Vermont had other plans for me. Said sounds include what I later identified as a porcupine scrape marks on the DOOR of the very tree house I was attempting to sleep in. Friday morning, guests arrived and started milling about, introductions were made, and they got started organizing the crew and attendees into project groups. Then, a bonfire. But, like Vegas, what happened there needs to stay there so that’s all I’ll say about that…..

My next-tree "neighbor".

Day Four – Saturday
Camp was in full swing! There were hammering sounds coming from all directions in the woods and several projects, of all shapes and sizes, were happening at once. A space ship-esque tree house was started, a hillside cabin was getting some much needed siding, a tiny house on wheels was being constructed, and impromptu survivor class participants were learning about how to make an insulated shelter from sticks and leaves. That night, the bonfire was epic; a deep woods speaker-filled experience lit with candles on a moss covered mini-amphitheater in the shadow of a huge robot tree house. (say THAT tree times fast!?)

The one....the only....ROBOT TREE HOUSE!!

Day Five – Sunday
I was sad to go but eager to explore. And, like any good explorer, I headed straight to a nearby town with a hotel and a bar. I showered, ate spaghetti with the loveliest bartender I have ever met, and then slept like a rock for 12 hours.

Do these earrings make my face look fat?

Day Six – Monday
Yes. You guessed it. I got lost again and arrived not at the ice cream factory which allows tourists, but the ONE that doesn’t. On my way back from almost-Canada I stopped to get an impromptu tattoo. And,  if I need another reason to return to Vermont, the artist is it. He imagines a unique and fun new tattoo to augment my 90’s inspired left-ankle bracelet of pansies.

Pain? What pain?

Day Seven – Tuesday
Time to head home. It was truly the first vacation I have ever been on where I felt like I didn’t want to go home. I’d gotten lost several times and didn’t shower every day but the new friends I had made, and the fun I had, and the memories we created, were more than well worth the investment.

I may have been a visitor, but welcomed I was not.  

Your Tiny House Summer Camp experience will not likely involve getting lost quite as much as I did. But, I guarantee you, that if you’re looking for a fun way to combine your love of all-things-tiny-house and a fun-loving backwoods story to tell your friends and family about, Deek and his crew won’t disappoint. Deek provides all of his attendees with hands-on building and learning opportunities, in a supportive and non-judgmental environment.

I have never seen a more lovely "parking lot" in all my life.

His mantra is “It’s better to screw up on my projects, than your own!” and I appreciate that about him. He takes all the risk and his attendees get all the rewards.

No"screw ups" in this adorable tiny cabin.

It’s tough to fit an adequate description of the life-changing experience I had in Vermont, into a brief blog post that will hold your attention. (Are you STILL reading!?) So, please know that while I have strategically left out some of the details, I hope I have still conveyed the amazing time I had when I attended Tiny House Summer Camp and slept in a see-through tree house.

The little Red A-Frame.


  1. It sounds fab to me! I'm going to check out those kinds of summer camps��.
    By the way, thanks for the great, great podcasts you create with "click & clack" ��. I love the show and have started on round 2 of all of them. I don't listen on iTunes but on SoundCloud so there's not a way for me to let you guys know how much I appreciate all you do and all I've learned through the podcast.


  2. Thanks for the story! I think I'll be headed out for the camp in September and loved to read about your experience! Question though - did you stay in the treehouse cabin during the camp? And if you did, how? I'd sleep on the ground just to be able to attend but tiny house camping would be awesome also!! Their blog mentions outdoor camping area but nothing else.