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Our next visit in this six-part series is to the Davis Ranch Retreat, where you can count “view of the longhorns below” as just one of many pleasant amenities.

Cozy Up, Texas: The Treehouse

Article by Vincent Friedewald; Photos by Caleb Kerr

We continue our Cozy Up, Texas, photo tour series at the Davis Ranch Retreat in Waelder, Texas. Their new Treehouse joins the ranks as one of the coziest places to stay in Texas, and we’ve got the photos to prove it. We spent an evening touring the Treehouse and the peaceful surrounding ranch land with owner Monica Davis. Below are our notes, and below that, our photo tour (aka, the proof).


Name: The Treehouse at Davis Ranch Retreat

Location: Waelder, Texas

Overview: Peaceful, forty acre ranch about an hour outside of Austin, with a brand new treehouse among the Live Oaks, well appointed for overnight stays, escaping reality, and allying with sweet singing birds.

Appreciate: The room to stretch your legs. We say this in jest, partly: the Treehouse itself is a very, very small space. But as a guest of the Treehouse, you get the full run of the ranch and its amenities. At the base of the bridge leading up to the Treehouse is a pool and a poolside fire pit; both of these are yours to enjoy. As is the Green Machine, an all terrain cart that you can drive around to explore the ranch. Drive it out to the two ponds, one full of catfish and the other full of largemouth bass. Or explore in search of animal tracks; bobcats, turkey, hogs, and other critters roam the property.

Know: Davis Ranch Retreat is a working ranch and the family home of Monica Davis, and has additional lodging space beyond the Treehouse, namely, the Main House and a separate Casita. When you book the Treehouse, you’ll have the option of reserving the entire retreat to yourself, or sharing it with other guests. Also know that the Treehouse doubles as the retreat’s spa room; the bed folds away, Murphy style, to accommodate a massage table.

Notably Cozy: The porch. It’s proportionate to the entire structure, meaning, it’s small. But it’s situated perfectly, facing away from the main house (making it extra private), and overlooking the edge of the pasture where the longhorns graze. In the morning, you’ll hear the singing birds, the dew falling off the grass, and the slurps of your coffee—and that’s pretty much it.

Nearby: Why would you want to leave? You won’t, and you won’t find anything better than the retreat nearby anyway. So settle in at the ranch, and consider spending an extra hour or so in the Treehouse’s private shower. With music and LED lighting and of course, healthy jets of water, the shower is a touch of modern in a space otherwise touched only by simple charm.

Special Comments: If you watch television, you may recognize the Treehouse from the Animal Planet show, Treehouse Masters. Construction of the Treehouse, from start to finish and culminating in the reveal to owner Monica Davis, was captured in Season One of the series. Our advice: turn off the television, and drive to Waelder to see the Treehouse in person.

Rates: $225 per night, if you’re okay sharing the property with guests of the Main House. Reserving the entire retreat (Main House + Casita + Treehouse) runs $850 for a single family.

Website: www.davisranchretreat.com

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As you cross the cattle grate and pass through the gate, you are entering a pasture with a number of freely-roaming farm animals including goats, horses, and longhorns.

The Treehouse has a ramp leading up to it allowing for easy access.

A hammock hangs below the Treehouse, alongside a picnic table, offering various options to fit your style of leisure.

If you choose to get a massage, your masseuse has a dedicated outdoor sink area to prepare and clean up after, leaving you to relax inside in peace.

The bed folds up into the wall to make room for a massage table, or your morning yoga.



The bathroom is hidden behind a hanging barn door that rolls on a heavy steel track.

The bathroom isn't more than a few square feet, but has been designed with efficiency in mind.

The shower features wooden floors, changeable colored lights, and a radio.

The panoramic view of the pastures from the back porch make for a beautiful and serene place to put your feet up. 

A fire pit and large pool are a few dozen yards out the front door. Your afternoon swim can easily transition to an evening by the fire. 

 - N4SJ

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