Some of the most unique Airbnbs in West Virginia

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — West Virginia’s tourism industry continues to grow, and there are now some very unique slices of West Virginia available for rental. Have you always dreamed of staying in a treehouse or a storybook cottage? Then West Virginia is the place.

12 News spoke with two unique Airbnb hosts in the state whose rentals offer more than just a place to stay.

What was once a playhouse for his son has turned into a way to stay afloat during the pandemic for Rob, who has rented the treehouse for two years.

Treehouse (Courtesy of Airbnb)

Located in Roane County, the Treehouse is a true wild West Virginia experience with the playfulness of childhood. The treehouse itself is more than a slight upgrade from a kids’ clubhouse with a bed, electric lights, and even a little porch where you can enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine. Just steps away are a bathhouse with an outdoor shower, fire pit, pond, and view tower, which allow guests to experience much more than the treehouse.

Rob is not originally from West Virginia and calls his 100-acre lot his own “slice of paradise.” He told 12 News that the main reason people come to visit his rental is for the unique experience of being so close to the outdoors.

“You’re not really here to have good internet and be able to walk down the street and have a coffee. You’re here for nature.

Rob said there were unique things about staying in the treehouse that often surprised his guests because they weren’t on the list. Instead of a guestbook, Rob has left the treehouse walls white and allows his guests to leave notes in pencil. “It became kind of a living work of art,” Rob said. “There’s this wonderful vibrant story of everyone who’s been through it…it just became a very beautiful unique thing; it’s one of my favorite things.

“I like the idea of ​​little surprises that you don’t necessarily know you’re going to see or experience when you get here,” Rob said. Another unique experience not listed in her rental is her dogs, which sometimes act as tour guides for guests. “My pack leader, Leo, will literally take you to my waterfall behind the pond and he’ll go with you. You just tell him, “I want to go to the waterfall,” and he’ll lead you there, escort you, and stay just far enough in front of you so you don’t get lost.

Over 200 guests have enjoyed the treehouse over the past two years. Rob said he plans to expand his rentals to allow even more people to share his paradise. He also has a second rental, the Rustic Roost, which is a root cellar with the top floor turned into a studio. It offers a slightly less primitive place to stay than the tree house, but still with an outdoor shower.

Storybook Cottage (Courtesy of Airbnb)

If you want a real storybook experience, there’s a Storybook Cottage for rent in Raleigh County near Ghent. The cabin rental converted into a single room has a crooked roof, a gnome in a rocking chair overlooking the front door, and a view of the pond from the back porch. In an interview with 12 News, rental owner Jill called the place a “Snow White experience” because there are so many animals around the property, including ducks, chickens, cats and even a turkey. “It’s almost like stepping into a different kind of world, it’s not a typical world we see today.”

Jill and her husband are currently transforming their personal home into a castle, so the fairy tale theme is carried throughout the property. She said her husband, who works in construction, made the mistake of saying “if you can draw it, I can build it”, so there are also several playhouses that also have crooked roofs that her husband built before the cottage rental conversion. Since her children have outgrown them, the tiny houses have been used as homes for the animals.

Beyond the homes, Jill said the property itself adds to the fairytale feel. His family bought the property during the winter and learned in the spring that there were tons of fruit trees on their five acres of land: apple trees, cherry trees, pear trees, plum trees and vines. “You can just walk on the court and eat, and that’s wonderful,” Jill said. Watch out for Snow White’s poison apple!

Although many people who visit Storybook Cottage are there for the nearby ski resort, Jill said she’s been able to share parts of West Virginia with people around the world who otherwise might not have. never be this kind of outdoor experiences. “We take so many things for granted in West Virginia…We’ve had people from New York who don’t know how potatoes grow, so they can come and dig potatoes…We’ve also had a little boy who had never held a cat… These are things we take for granted She said she had guests who had never fished before and got to try it for the first time in their pond.” So it provides that experience that comes so naturally to us because we were born and raised around it, but not everyone does.”

Going forward, Jill said she plans to open more rental spaces on her property. In addition to working on their castle, Jill is also working on converting another shed into a pencil museum using recycled school supplies.

(Courtesy of Jill Holliday)

Start your own unique rental

Both Jill and Rob recommended that anyone considering starting an Airbnb do so; both had only positive experiences to share.

“One thing I didn’t realize when I started was how much fun it would be,” Rob said. He said 99% of his guests are amazing and first-time hosts shouldn’t be afraid of the concept of bringing strangers into their home. Some of his neighbors were concerned when he started his tenancy, but now the community appreciates the increase in business in the area. Rob said he also made a lot of friends around his rental campfire, some of whom still send him Christmas cards.

Jill said having guests from all over the world was like a reverse vacation for her and her family. “You get to know all these different places from all these people visiting you without us having to leave,” Jill tells her young children. Sometimes, as a rental host, you even meet famous people. Jill told 12 News that she brought an Oscar-winning makeup artist, who has worked on films such as “X-Men,” into her Airbnb.

While Jill and Rob are staying home and able to provide a one-to-one experience for their guests, Jill said not all hosts are required to do so. For people who just want to rent out their extra space to earn extra money, she always recommends trying to make it a one-time rental. “You can always differentiate your rental to make it different from any other condo or hotel room where they all look the same,” Jill said. “You can highlight parts of your state in this location because they’re here, they’re here for a reason. And like, even if you just put notes on West Virginia. Or we have a little informational book that talks about our dialect and some of our words that we use that make us unique.You can also use products made in West Virginia.For example, I make zucchini bread for every guest…so that “they’re experiencing something different and that’s what they’re looking for, it’s something different. That’s why they chose an Airbnb over a hotel.”

In the United States, West Virginia and Montana were the two states with the highest share of nights spent in unique listings on Airbnb in 2021. And most of those unique rentals are tiny homes, according to Airbnb.

Rob said the best way to get started on Airbnb is to create a space you already have. “Consider any space as potentially habitable rental space.” He said he never dreamed his treehouse would become the successful rental it is today and that converting a small space is a good place to start. “Use an existing space first, don’t go all out and just spend thousands of dollars.” Both Rob and Jill have used lots of recycled, salvaged and even scrap materials to build their rentals in amazing spaces. “It will take your life and you won’t want to stop but start small.”

Rob mentioned that all hosts should go through the app to prevent unruly guests who have not been vetted by Airbnb.

If you want to see some of the most unique Airbnbs in the world, you can browse OMG! rentals here.

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