And so it begins………..

February 1, 2018

It is with the utmost excitement that we can finally announce the new Treehouse Utopia! I am Laurel Waters, the Chef and Owner of The Laurel Tree restaurant in Utopia, Texas, and my partner in all of this is Pete Nelson, owner of Nelson Treehouse and the fun-loving and incredibly talented star of Treehouse Masters on Animal Planet.
How it all started:
A little over two years ago, Pete & Judy and the whole Nelson Treehouse crew walked in my front door at The Laurel Tree with a dinner reservation. They were building in Leakey for Marc & Ann Laird, and had gotten wind of the food and the giant trees at the restaurant. Next thing we know, we are building a private treehouse dining room up in my 450-year-old oak tree in the back yard, and that was the just the beginning of what has turned into an incredible relationship. I just know that the whole thing was meant to be!
The Laurel Tree Treehouse:
People just can’t wait to be able to enjoy a meal at the single table (for 6 or fewer) that is nestled in the palm of this giant tree’s hand. The moment that the next six month reservation window opens, people are busting at the seams to get their hands on a reservation for a Saturday lunch or dinner.
The response that we have had about our private dining experience in this treehouse has been overwhelming! I figured that it would be special, but the moments that we have experienced in this treehouse over the last year and a half have been truly incredible! We have celebrated a mother’s 80th birthday where daughters flew all the way in from coast to coast to come together to celebrate in this unique environment! We have had everything from milestone anniversaries to engagements to simple special moments shared amongst friends. One customer wrote in our Treehouse diary, “Memories are to be made, but this one is EPIC!” I feel so proud yet incredibly humbled by the love and sharing that is happening every single weekend in The Laurel Tree treehouse! There is just something extra magical about being together in a tree!
There is one little thing that I do hear often though, ‘The only thing that could be more magical is if we could just spend the night in a tree as well….”
Treehouse Utopia:
So, this is where we find ourselves now, and we are going for it! Pete and I have dreamed up four truly inspired treehouses that you will be able to spend the night in! They are less than half a mile away from The Laurel Tree on property that my family has owned over 40 years. We never intended on sharing it with the world until this idea came alive. The property is quiet, secluded, and almost mystical when you are down amongst these ginormous Bald Cypress trees that line the crystal clear, spring fed river.
So, our goal is renewal here at Treehouse Utopia! Renew your spirit, your romance, or your outlook on life. Whatever it is you need….. to rejoice, remind, refresh, rekindle, or restart….there is no better place than in the arms a tree! Leave the kids and pets at home.
For Treehouse Utopia, Pete and I chose to continue the same vision I had thirteen years ago for The Laurel Tree, integrating classic French design with Texas Hill Country roots. Each of the treehouses will have a spacious sitting room, bedroom, full bathroom, and sitting decks. Each will have its own unique identity and personality so that there will be the perfect choice for everyone. You might pick a favorite or you might decide to revisit often and try out each of them.
We have already built the first treehouse, Chapelle. All French villages have the Chapel as the focal point, very often being the highest structure in town, reaching toward the Heavens. This location, right on the edge of the water, has two giant Cypress trees growing completely parallel to each other, like twin brothers. They were the perfect pillars to hold a chapel right in between them, as if they grew just for this purpose. This treehouse really gives you a spiritual feeling that moves you even upon approach, but the interior will take your breath away!
We have begun on the second treehouse, Chateau. Nestled among three huge Cypress trees, this will be the only treehouse with two stories – a dramatic French spiral staircase will lead you up to the bedroom. Chateau will be so grand in scale, it will feel luxurious and indulgent. Much of your time will probably be spent on the immense deck, lounging under the canopy of the trees.
The third treehouse will be the Biblioteque, or library. This cozy lair will be built around the largest single Cypress tree, set off by itself. The rooted giant has a prehistoric feel to it, but realistically could be as old as 800 years! Oh, the stories it could tell!! Biblioteque is meant to bring comfort and warmth with a great sense of nestling in. Walls will be lined with bookcases adorned with works of art, poetry, nature, trees, Texas, and more. There will be cozy, leather chairs by the fireplace so that you can lose yourself in reading and conversation.
Last, but not least, all French villages have an ever-loved carousel for the amusement of all ages! This treehouse will wind its way through the boughs of a single tree right on the water. It will be whimsical and bright, bringing out inner joy and fond memories of youth. You will find a smile when you enter this space, and you will leave refreshed and with a happy heart.
This entire project has come about so organically over the last year, and I could not be more thankful! I feel as though I have been collecting for this project for 20 years now and didn’t even know it! And, in working with Pete Nelson, he truly is the master! He is a joy, he is a treasure, and he is one of the most creative people I have ever met! I could not be more excited to share this combined vision with all of you!
So many exciting things to come, and things will be changing every moment! I will keep you updated on the progress of the build.
We will begin to pre-book at some point this spring, so stay tuned for updates as they come!
Joy & Trees!

15 thoughts on “And so it begins………..

  1. Christina
    February 3, 2018

    I can’t wait to stay in one of your tree houses!

  2. Audrey Hall
    February 3, 2018

    My husband and I look forward to the opening of Treehouse Utopia!

  3. Hal and Scarlett Elkins
    February 3, 2018

    February 3rd 2018. Great show on Animal Planet last night and just returned from lunch at the Laurel Tree and now we have something new to look foreward too, can’t wait to see the completion. and look foreward to spending a night, or maybe two in a treehouse. For the past 13 years we have had the pleasure to be able to enjoy the Guest’ Table and then the Treehouse for both lunch and dinner, well worth the drive from Del Rio, and now more adventures to come. We wish you both, and your families, all the very best in this new venture. Congrats!!

  4. February 3, 2018

    How wonderful and truly awesome to hear your NEWS of the SUCCESS of your “dining” French inspired Tree House! The Laurel Tree
    I had watched total “segment’ of Pete Nelson’s Animal Planet Show at your property of gorgeous trees,
    Then, addition of an awesome stained glass window (duplicate to (one your Mom did for you) in restaurant) in your new Tree House “dining” addition.
    Pete had it made at “The Stained Glass Crafters Workbench outside of Leon Valley, TX!
    Such great idea with a nice graduated bridge ” walkway” to boot!
    Due to your “first” Tree House@ feature a “stained glass” window of Perennial “Red Poppies”! This gal loves in own “heart of hearts” who burst into blooms every year in early Spring in Utopia, TX!
    I could not be happier to hear of your Partnership with Pete Nelson on FOUR new French inspired and themed Tree Houses coming to fruition in the early Summer of 2018 to boot! We So Bless Y’all on Tree Houses of Utopia, Laurel; Pete♥️
    P.S. I was raised with one beloved tree house in my ‘backyard: An awesome 150 year old Tree being surrounded by my beloved Mom’s beautiful “flower gardens” and with a Queen Anne Vines on fence on a high hill in eastern part of Uvalde, TX!

  5. Kay
    February 3, 2018

    Just finished watching treehouse masters bed and breakfast Utopia. What a fascinating place. I only wish i could stay in this beautiful tree house. It is on my bucket list for sure. Maybe my husband and I could celebrate our 35th anniversary there.

  6. Christopher Horne
    February 3, 2018

    My wife and youngest daughter just watched the Treehouse masters episode featuring the build of the 1st of four B&B treehouses. Awesome is all I can say. We live North of Seattle in Marysville but I may plan a trip to Utopia to enjoy this whole place.

  7. Katie
    February 4, 2018

    Great talking with you yesterday, Laurel. After seeing the “Treehouse Masters” program Friday night about your awesome place, I am excited to hear of the progress.
    I will check in periodically. Have fun watching the progress!
    Katie from Florida

  8. February 4, 2018

    To Laurel , husband, family as well as Pete Nelson’s family with Judi and Pete and
    their three grown children, and extend husband of their daughter.
    What a truly exciting time to not only watching the beautiful tree special eating
    place for those passing thru your Texas of wide open spaces. The art work of your mother and Pete having a third addition to bring in such light/color for those
    eating there can enjoy. And now tree houses for the pleasure of an experience that many would never have, if you both had not joined together to give to others
    the same experiences of loving a tree house. I live among trees in Bellingham, Wa., but they belong to my neighbors, as I am in a Mobile home park. But that does not take away the love of trees at early age in Crestline, Calif, in the San
    Bernardino mountains and my alone moments with the fragrance of pine trees and a small water brook about 6 inch wide, and these where the true beginnings of my spiritual life, with out a word, from man or the Bible. That did come when I was so ready. I honor your work, your desire to allow others to also have a truly wonderful experience, no matter what way you live in, or by a tree…..a gift to us all. I remain, a viewer on Animal Planet for the rest of my days.
    I wish you happiness in your successful work together, a fellow human, Sandra.

    • Laurel Waters
      March 1, 2018

      I am so touched by your beautiful love note! I agree with you about nature’s ability to touch one’s soul so deeply, but ever so quietly. Even from when we are young, I think that all of us have a moment in the presence of a tree that we feel humbled by the greatness of its size and the unimaginable creativity behind its beauty. Trees are truly gifts to us all! Through our treehouse dining room at The Laurel Tree, I have seen first hand how even the smallest experiences up in the arms of a tree become life memories. A huge part of Pete’s and my inspiration for doing this project was to be able to provide a place for everyone to have these experiences, be still, and create those memories to cherish as we navigate through this hectic journey called Life!

  9. Kim Tomes Diet
    February 16, 2018

    Hi! We ate at your Treehouse for my husband’s 70th birthday last year in January… it was so fabulous! We would love to stay in your treehouse. Is there a waiting list? If so, put us on it please! It looks so wonderful!

    Thank you,

    Kim Tomes Dietz

    • Laurel Waters
      March 1, 2018

      Thank you for your interest in our new project! Pete & I can not wait to share it with everyone! There is not a waiting list, but we will begin pre-booking some time this Spring. Stay tuned through the website or Instagram Treehouseutopia for updates.
      Joy & Trees,

  10. Amy Voce
    February 16, 2018

    Watched the episode where the first tree house bed and breakfast was built. Hubby and I are celebrating our 20th in May might have to move back those plans when we find out when y’all are open.

  11. Michelle Storch
    February 23, 2018

    I cant wait for this to be completed..we definitely will make reservations

    • Kathy Catts
      March 2, 2018

      I grew up in Texas (San Antonio) I married an AF pilot and together we have lived in and traveled across the US and Europe. You can’t imagine my excitement after watching your treehouse episode air on Animal Planet only to find out its only 80 miles from where I grew up!!!!! We’re now retired and live outside Atlanta but visit my 95 yr old mother frequently so I’m destined/ determined to not only visit but stay and experience at least one sunrise and sunset from from the sanctuary of the Chateau treehouse. I can hardly wait so please let me know when you start taking reservations. Kathy Catts

  12. John LaMarr
    March 1, 2018

    Hey Laurel! I will see you later this month at The Laurel Tree. I just checked out your website to see what’s new. I definitely need to check more often, and I am looking forward to your newsletter. You and Pete are really stoking up some treehouse magic! I DEFINITELY want to get on your overnight stay treehouse waiting list!


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