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Treehouses change hands

Treehouses that sit perched in trees along the lazy Edisto River are under new ownership, with the new owner saying his overseeing the local business is a childhood dream come true.

Carolina Heritage is a company that owns three treehouses in rural Colleton County, near Cannadys and the Colleton County State Park. The treehouses are a nationally-known recreation attraction, bringing people to Colleton and Dorchester Counties to live unconnected from daily life. The treehouses have no electricity and offer no running water. They do have gas stoves, so that guests can cook what they caught or brought with them.

“Their rustic nature is a part of their attraction, especially to those who want a simple vacation and a break from hectic life,” said new Carolina Heritage Owner Chris Burbulak.

Burbulak is a Grover native with strong ties to the Dorchester County and Colleton communities. He was friends with the former owners – Scott and Anne Kennedy – when they mentioned to him their plans to retire from the business. Their treehouse business began in 1989 and includes a 48-acre refuge along the river. The property has walking trails and direct access to the river, giving guests a personal connection with the Edisto River.

Canoers and kayakers are most attracted to the treehouses, with the business offering shuttle service to destination pickup points.

The business is located and promoted on national destination travel sites, including Tripadvisor and CanoeSC. “As soon as they said they were going to retire, I looked at my wife and said, ‘I’m buying that business,’” Burbulak said, laughing. He officially bought it last year, in early 2018.

A trip to the treehouses includes canoeing along the Edisto River. The Edisto is the longest free-flowing black river in the world, and cuts through Colleton County flowing into nearby Dorchester County.

It eventually spills into the ACE Basin, one of the most pristine places left in the world. The ACE Basin is federally protected and consists of the waters from the Ashepoo, the Combahee and the Edisto Rivers.

“How can you not find joy and beauty in being an adult, or a child, and staying in a treehouse that has access to one of the most beautiful rivers in the world?” said Burbulak. “Sometimes I’m surprised at how many people come here from all over the world, but then I remind myself of what we have here, in our own backyard.”

The business has stayed booked, he said, with the treehouses drawing guests mostly from nearby Georgia, North Carolina and local Charleston County. As ecotourism continues to grow in Colleton County, Burbulak says he expects the treehouses to become more popular. He also wants to work Colleton leaders and officials to market the treehouses as a team building location for businesses and leadership groups. He also wants his new business to be a place for families to reconnect and to learn more about the natural environment.

“There’s so much we can learn about our county here, and then teach future generations to respect it,” he said.

For more information on Carolina Heritage Treehouses, visit www.edistotreehouses.com or email Chris Burbulak directly at carolinaheritage@gmail.com.

Heather Walters (1487 Posts)