Travel: A Treetop Fantasy


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If the hugely popular Blackthorne Inn on Point Reyes Peninsula in Inverness, Calif., were featured in, say, Architectural Digest, its style might be characterized as Tree-House Chic. Built four stories up a hillside teeming with 180-ft. Douglas firs, the Blackthorne is a combination of rustic and posh (read: a hot tub set amid the clouds) that has led fans to dub it a "treetop fantasy."

It wasn't planned to look this way. When Susan and Bill Wigert bought the acre of property in 1975, they were looking for a modest vacation cabin. But as builders added rooms and bits of local history--beams from a San Francisco pier, hearthstones from Donner Pass--the place grew with an eccentric life of its own. Since 1982, when the Wigerts converted it to a bed-and-breakfast, the inn has developed something of a cult following.

Cool details abound. There's the spiral staircase, the skybridge, a stone hearth for fireside evenings, and the Spiderman-esque fire pole and ladders. But the inn's literal topper is the Eagle's Nest, a glass-enclosed octagon that offers a 360[degree] view of ocean, trees and sky.

Nearby Point Reyes National Seashore--a vast patch of ocean cliffs and beaches, bird sanctuaries, farms and forests--is great for exploring, and there's kayaking in Tomales Bay. In early winter the famous Point Reyes Lighthouse, 308 steps down a cliff, provides a dramatic whale-watching vista.

The Wigerts are at the Blackthorne only sporadically, but the four part-time innkeepers receive kudos from guests. Says Coloradan Kent Widmar: "It's like your own house" 415-663-8621).