After a long day of exploring the wooded, lush property of my latest overnight destination, I am finally ready to relax in my room for the night. I’m snacking on some homemade brownies, lounging on an futon with my feet on the coffee table while diving into my book, when I hear a knock at the door. Two eyes are staring curiously at me from the other side of the glass door, and they are the eyes of a goat. Lily the goat, to be exact, one of the many animal residents on the property.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 presetI let her in to join me, forgetting the important fact that goats will eat anything and everything in sight. I realize this at the same moment she starts nibbling on the coffee table books. She then wanders over to the kitchen towels, then the brownies. I was on a wild goat chase around the room trying not to let Lily get her eager teeth on any non-food items. Finally, she climbs on the coffee table, pulls on the bouquet, and promptly topples the vase to the ground. I need to get this goat out of the treehouse.

Oh, yes, I am also in a treehouse.

No, I wasn’t camping out in my childhood hangout. Thanks to the international lodging phenomenon, of Airbnb, gone are the days of corporate hotel chains, resorts and the occasional bed-and-breakfast or boutique hotel.

The concept of Airbnb centers around local residents across the world listing their home on the Airbnb website, where travelers book their lodging. The experience can be more hands-off, where the guest just picks up the key from the host and enjoys the entire space, or it can be very intimate, where the traveler stays in a room inside the home. The hope is that host-guest relationship will lead to insightful interactions and cultural exchanges that would be impossible otherwise.

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Of course, a phenomenon like Airbnb is best experienced in person. One of my stays took me to Laura Lynne’s property where a childhood fantasy has come to life: a two-story treehouse, seemingly floating above a blanket of pine needles.

Laura Lynne, the owner of the 70 acre property, says she designed and built the treehouse with a local carpenter. A water garden and landscape designer who has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Laura says she felt called to this space as a grand canvas to create a haven for visitors.

When Laura Lynne greeted me upon arrival, she was surrounded by a lively herd of ducks, geese, chickens and Lily the goat, all animals she lets roam freely on the property. She warned me that Lily the goat may try to enter treehouse, which I didn’t take seriously until I saw her knocking at the door later that evening. Not all Airbnb properties boast a friendly goat, but such unexpected adventures are a part of the charm of such atypical lodging situations.

Read more about Mary’s visit to the treehouse in the latest issue of Detours.