Premium tree houses now available at resort not far from where buffalo roam

In the trees... Seth Peters, owner of the Buffalo Trail, reclines  against one of four oak trees supporting one of many tree houses at the resort.

In the trees… Seth Peters, owner of the Buffalo Trail, reclines against one of four oak trees supporting one of many tree houses at the resort.

By GREG JORDAN Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEWELL — Tourists and ATV enthusiasts visiting Mercer County can now sleep in premium tree houses not far from where the buffalo roam.

The Buffalo Trail resort in Bluewell has been gradually adding to its accommodations ever since opened about two years ago. Sitting on the spacious deck outside the restaurant, Vivian Peters, mother of owner Seth Peters, said plenty of visitors have been booking their accommodations, and more are expected now that spring has arrived.

“The demand has been great for the cabins,” she said. Including new premium tree house accommodations that were recently opened, the resort can offer its visitors 154 beds. These beds are included in 23 cabin units and a total of 11 tree houses.

Owner Seth Peters and General Manager Bo Williams gave the Bluefield Daily Telegraph a tour starting outside the restaurant.

Immediately adjoining the spacious patio outside the restaurant is a walkway leading to an outdoor bar with multiple sections that can host an additional 100 people, bring the capacity to 300. Seth Peters said it’s been used for weddings and receptions for the brides and grooms. It has facilities for catered parties when the restaurant is closed, and it’s home to a microbrewery.

“We’re not brewing yet, but we’re just about ready,” Peters said. The resort is now featuring 12 West Virginia and Virginia brews, and there is work underway to allow pre-approved breweries to use the resort’s equipment. “We have as good a selection as anybody has.”

Peters and Williams then led the way to the nearby cabins. Each one has a different layout and caters to different numbers of guests. One cabin with a double bed, full bath and combination living room and kitchen was designed for couples on honeymoons and anniversaries. Wi-fi is available at the resort, and a cell phone tower is visible beyond the trees. Near this line of cabins are tree houses that have more Spartan accommodations; no televisions, but bunks with the same mattresses used in other cabins. Water spigots and electricity is available.

The more “primitive” tree houses are a step up from tent camping, Peters and Williams explained. The standard fee for pitching a tent on a campground is $40, but for $10 more, campers can get a warm, dry place to sleep away from cold and rain; they don’t have to worry about being rained out.

When these tree house guests need bathroom facilities, they can use what Peters proudly calls, “the best bathhouse in West Virginia.”

The bathhouse isn’t a stereotypical communal shower seen in high schools; instead, it has eight separate and full bathrooms worthy of a home. Each bath’s door can be locked for privacy and safety, Peters said. Guests in cabins with their own baths can still use the bath house if there is a line at a bathroom door after they return from a day of riding their ATVs on the nearby Hatfield-McCoy Trail.

“I tell everyone if they find a nicer bathhouse in the state, I’ll buy them a beer,” Peters stated. So far, he hasn’t had to buy any beers.

The visit then proceeded to Papa’s Shine Shack – each cabin and tree house has its own name – which featured beds and multiple bunk beds. Cabins can house couples or large families, or groups of friends. Some cabins have adjoining doors like the suites found in hotels, making them suitable for couples or larger parties.

“We have a need for all kinds of different layouts,” Peters stated. “Some (cabins) have full kitchens, some don’t.”

The new ultimate tree houses offer good views of the countryside. They are connected to trees, but have additional supports for stability. And they are not too high, Williams said.

The 16 foot by 16 foot space has twin size bunk beds; the lower bunk is right on the floor so its occupants can see the television. Williams went out to the patio.

“I love the view,” he said.

One view guests can see is the Buffalo Trail’s namesake buffalo herd grazing at the adjoining Brierfield Farm. There 10 buffalo cows and the presiding bull, named after Jabba the Hutt from the “Star Wars” movies, are visible in the fields and along the mountainside.