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“The Maple Tree Campground”

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Maple Tree Campground
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“The Maple Tree Campground”
Reviewed January 24, 2011

I recently returned from back-to-back weekends at the Maple Treehouse Camp and had a very pleasant experience. It was my sixth trip out there over the last two years and it has always been a good time. I generally go in the off-season, when colder temperatures are the norm, because a lot of other people don’t. The camp is dog-friendly and I bring my three whenever I go out. There are lots of places nearby to give them a good run. The area is knee-deep in history, and the Treehouse Camp provides a very comfortable and convenient location to all the things that interest me.
The Treehouse Camp is located in Crampton’s Gap, on the western slope of South Mountain, overlooking Pleasant Valley. Pleasant Valley is aptly named and provides a very pretty scenic vista to the west. From October Through December, flocks of migratory geese fly over shortly after dawn. It is a nice way to greet the day. The valley itself is dotted with lots of farms and not much else to spoil the view.
Cramptons’s Gap is one of three local depressions along the ridgeline of South Mountain, the other two being Fox’s and Turner’s Gaps. The Appalachian Trail runs along the crest of the ridge and can be accessed at a trailhead about a quarter of a mile from the Camp. All tree areas played an important role in the Civil War, during the Battle of South Mountain, days before Antietam. Each gap has something unique to offer, from the Arc de Triumphesque memorial to the fallen war correspondents at Crampton’s Gap, to the original Washington Monument (from which one can see into Pennsylvania/ great place for migratory raptor watching) at Turner’s Gap, to Fox’s Gap where General Reno of Reno Road fame (NW, DC) is buried. Fox’s Gap also boasts one of the most brilliant bronze castings that I have ever come across, dedicated to the soldiers from North Carolina who fell there.
There are a wide variety of options, within minutes of the Camp, to stop and grab a bite to eat. On the eastern side of South Mountain, just 10 minutes northeast of the Treehouse Camp is the South Mountain Creamery. Their products taste the way dairy is meant to taste and their meat selection is very nice as well. Crawford’s Confectionary, in Boonsboro is a good joint to grab breakfast or lunch. Can get biscuits and gravy, a birthday card and hunting supplies at the same time. The Mountainside Deli (take-out) in Boonsboro has a really good pit beef sandwich, served with fresh horseradish and a nice tangy BBQ sauce. I am generally not a fan of BBQ sauce, but this one is pretty damn good, and the meat falls apart. The coleslaw and potato salad are solid as well. Boonsboro also has a 24-hour supermarket that has any last second stuff I need to pick up. Nutter’s Ice Cream Shop in Sharpsburg is also worth a stop, even in winter. They make a great shake. I love shakes and it is one of the best that I have tasted.
Shepherdstown, WV is a super little town. Something always seems to be going on there. Their post-Thanksgiving (Black Friday) Christmas event was a really neat experience. Small town ringing in the Christmas season in a non-commercial way. Big bonfires up and down Main Street. Caroler’s singing songs and really good chili and corn bread. Even the Grinch showed up. There are lots of places to grab some food or drink. It is worth spending some time bumping around in. It has a fair number of places of interest, whatever your interests. The cemeteries take you back to the Revolutionary War, while my girlfriend prefers the quaint little shops. We always find something that we like there.

If one goes out to the area, a drive through the Antietam battlefield is well worth the diversion. Unlike Gettysburg, it does not get many visitors. It is a very moving place. Even if you don’t care about history, the stark contrast between the beauty of the landscape and the events that went on there that day make you think. It was the bloodiest day in American history. It is part of our history. Little has changed in the area since the battle and there are lots of reference materials / tour guides available that bring the place to life. Harper’s Ferry is also a quick drive from the camp and offers a pleasant historical trip, as well as numerous places that offer white-water rafting excursions. It has been well preserved in it’s 19th-Century state and offers great views of both the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. The Park Service has a number of exhibit’s dedicated to John Brown’s raid the Civil War actions that went on there. There is also a MARC station and some places to grab a snack.
The Treehouse Camp offers everything that I need to have a pleasant stay in the area. I use the tree cabins when I go up, because if I wanted to pitch a tent, I would hike the Trail. While I enjoy the backcountry experience, the comforts offered by the cabins in the camp make the cold weather months much more enjoyable. The wood-burning stoves heat the cabins to well over 70 degrees. They also double as cooking surfaces. I have prepared some great meals on those stoves. It takes a bit longer, but when you are in a simple environment, everything does. It forces one to slow down and the food seems to taste that much better.
The cabins offer a rustic experience, but something that any novice could be comfortable in with a little bit of preparation. What you bring will determine how comfortable you are. Knowing how to build a fire is very important to maintaining one’s level of comfort. Bring lots of newspaper to get the fire going. Once the cabin starts to heat, everything is good. The cabins, both old and new alike, retain their heat well. You will have to get up in the middle of the night to restock the fire, if you hope to be toasty in the morning.
The cabins differ in age, but I have had positive experiences in both the older and newer ones. I prefer one of the older ones just because it’s old stove does everything so well. The quality of the beds differs from one cabin to the other, as do the sizes of the beds. Cabins sleep six (two 2-person beds and two 1-person beds). They are bunked. I bring a foam egg crate to put on top of the mattresses, which I recommend, and sleep like a baby. Flannel sheets are worth bringing in those colder months as well. There is no electricity so one needs to bring lanterns, battery-powered devices and books/games. The bathrooms and Port-a-johns are very clean and conveniently located to the cabins, and the outdoor showers, while low-flow, get the job done. The showers shut down after it starts to freeze, but there is usually an indoor one available if you need it. Each cabin has a good BBQ and fire pit outside. Sites are located far enough from one another that you don’t feel like you have a neighbor, at least in the off-season. One can see a bonfire through the dark of night, but the cabins are pretty well spaced out. I have never felt crowded. Summertime crowds would bring a different experience I would imagine, but I have other accommodations out that way during those months, so I cannot say.
The owner of the Treehouse Camp, and her staff, have always been very accommodating towards me when I have come out. I often arrive well after dark, and the wood for my stove is waiting for me, so I can get things going. They have been pleasant and hospitable to me on all of my visits, which is why I keep going back. For a quick drive from the city, I can wake up in a completely different environment. It is well worth the commute and the modest cost to rent a cabin. I look forward to my next trip out that way.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank Witchelena
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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D.C.
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 6, 2010

The "tree houses" were actually small cabins on stilts. But, they great for a protected sleeping area, better than a tent. We had the kids stay in the bunks and they loved it. They are all nicely located within the forest and are far enough apart for privacy. The fire pit, grill, and area around the tree house was excellent. Clean and nicely appointed. The bathrooms were port-a-potties or one had to walk back down the hill to the office for indoor plumbing. The showers were outdoors but warm. Great for summer camping, a bit cold for Fall, but they do have heated cabins available also. The owner/manager is super nice. It's a very good family-oriented campground, no frills, but great experience in the beautiful outdoors. It's close to Harpers Ferry and other outdoor activities in the area.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank yfromm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed October 31, 2010

No wonder this place is fully booked so far in advanced. It is the perfect location for hiking, biking, tubing and canoeing (at least when it is warmer than it was this weekend!) The campsites and the cabins are rustic, but clean. The wood burning stove in our cabin kept us really warm at night. We will be back.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank GREEN28970
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Roanoke, Virginia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed October 17, 2010

My son's Scout Troop planned a biking trip to the C&O Canal Trail, and when I found out the details I checked them out online, including the campgroung I am reviewing. We got there late on Friday (10pm) and my wife and two sons checked into our treehouse about 11. We were settling down to go to sleep and talking in a low voice, and the boys were laughing but not at all disruptive. All of a sudden someone shined a light into our cabin and yelled at us to keep it down, that we were violating the parks "no noise after lights out" policy. I asked who he was and he said "I'm from the office". The next morning I went in to talk to the owner and found that the person responsible was in the office. He explained that he was taking care of other noise problems, heard us as he walked by, and decided to take care of it before it became a problem. I gotta say, I really didn't like that. I also heard other leaders in our group comment about difficulty with this same staffer. One asked at check in if he was married to Louise and was told, "As long as you get your damn key, it really doesn't matter if we're married".

Apart from that, the treehouses were nicer than they looked on the website. The park was clean and it was easy to get to the battlefields and other attractions. It wasn't posh or luxury, but it was what it claimed, and I liked that part of it a lot.

The long and short of it all is that if that one guy could learn some people skills the entire campground would be superb.

  • Stayed October 2010
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Helpful?
3 Thank Crew487Chair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
treehouse123, Owner at Maple Tree Campground, responded to this review, November 6, 2010
When people repeat what someone said someone else said, there is room for mis-quotation, they call that hearsay.
Calvin the maintenance man is a good 'ol country boy, self-professed hill-billy. He grew up working on a farm, and that's a good thing because working at the campground is hard work, long hours, and a low ceiling.. Calvin has tremendous heart and integrity. He goes out of his way to help people all the time.. He is completely self-motivated. He hauls, cuts, splits, stacks and bags the wood, mows the lawn, trims the weeds, rakes the leaves, shovels the snow,, repairs the screens, fixes roofs, steps, windows, empties the fire pits, the grills, and wood stoves, mops the floors, cleans the bathrooms, takes out the trash, and makes the rounds for the night time security between 11pm and 1 a.m., every Friday and Saturday night., and lives in a modest room behind the office. He is in his element in the country and this is the perfect job for him. He may have some limitations as far as people skills, but dealing with people is not really his job. Sometimes he makes mistakes, as we all do, but he is working on improving his skills. I find his direct and blunt candor refreshing. What you see is what you get, he is a man without guile who speaks his mind even if it isn't politically correct.. I choose to work with him through positive re-inforcement, I almost never criticize him. I am lucky to have him as a worker, I accept the fact that he is a flawed human being, as we all are, but I stand behind him. If people approach him with respect and kindness, he responds in same. If people treat him like a janitor and look through him, he doesn't like that, and I understand that. Anyone who is kind to Calvin is aces in my book. He is a salt of the earth person with a heart of gold disguised as a pit-bull. The nature of a campground business can be rough, this place needs Calvin.
If Calvin was making the rounds at mid-night, flashed a light up to the tree houses, and reminded the boys that it was after hours, time to remember to keep voices down, there is nothing wrong with that. He was doing his job.
We do not have a lights' out policy, we have quiet hours, and our rules are very explicit on the web site, they should not come as a surprise to anyone.
The week end you arrived I had the flu and Calvin was doing my job and his job, I am sure he was overwhelmed.
Service people are not robots. This is not a hotel with 24 hour desk service. People who are checking in late should understand they will be encountering a person who has already had a long hard day. When people take the time to understand other people, and to understand situations, they tend towards compassion rather than criticism. I think that is the scout way.
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baltimore
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 7, 2010

my boyfriend and i stayed in the robin treehouse, which louise told us was the oldest one, and a bit rustic. it is, but it was the only one available, so i was happy to get away. the cabin is plywood platforms for setting up your own air mattress etc., and it has a cute front porch that was great for reading. i liked that the cabins are spaced out so we had some privacy. the bathrooms and shower were clean and close enough, i also really liked that you can buy ice and fire wood on-site as driving out to find them would have really cramped our relaxing. we went tubing down the potomac and hiked on the AT the days we were there. overall, it is a great place to get away and i recommend it.

  • Stayed July 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank lezleekay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Severn, MD
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 22, 2010

My girlfriend and I have been here 3 times so far and plan to make it
a regular visit. We've stayed here twice for a weekend in the summer
as home base for tubing on the Potomac, and once over New Year's
during the winter. Book early, most weekends in the summer are booked
solid weeks in advance. We waited too long and our only option was the
Eagle treehouse for our last trip which was actually quite nice to
have all the space to ourselves but wasn't cheap. Luckily we were able
to squeeze a queen air mattress in on the floor, as there are no
2-person bunks. Definitely looking forward to another New Year's trip
in a few months!

We really loved the cottage in the winter. It was days after a snow
and gorgeous, but you definitely needed a 4WD to get anywhere on the
property. The wood stove can really get it plenty toasty inside, but
make sure that after you stuff the stove for the night that you close
the dampers down a good bit when you turn in, waking up at 4 AM with
the temp inside dropping through the 50s and only coals left in the
stove is not fun :) Bring a bucket to pee in unless you like getting
up in the middle of the night to hike to the restrooms in the cold.

The hosts are friendly and work hard, I really appreciate all the time
and effort that goes into running this sort of business year-round for
2 people essentially trapped there 12 hours a day for a few months
each year.

I highly recommend the Old South Mountain Inn for a lovely dinner, and
their Holiday/New Year's setup is fantastic.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank XterraGuy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
treehouse123, Owner at Maple Tree Campground, responded to this review, September 30, 2010
LOL. We don't get out much in the summer, but the rest of the time we have our week days. I get to go for a hike or maybe a movie. Calvin The Maintenance Man is a bow hunter, so he lives for napping in his deer stand, just over the hill here. Honestly, the only time I almost feel trapped here is when I have to clean up an inconsiderate, unnecessary mess. Just this morning I discovered that someone had used an ash bucket in the Oak cottage as a pee bucket, only they didn't clean it out, and I discovered it after a number of days. So, I must say, I am not thrilled with your suggestion of the bucket!! Un-clean buckets will have to be added to my every-growing list of Nuisances!!! If a bucket needs to be used, I'd prefer it be placed outside to avoid splashes or possibly getting tipped over. There is enough privacy for that in the middle of the night.
Winter camping requires an adventuresome spirit, for sure. But it is camping, and it requires a willingness to confront the elements, and to rough it....somehow that process is supposed to instill Respect and Appreciation for Nature.....through osmosis I think....that's why people enjoy camping, it is because they merge with Nature and it makes them feel good, and renewed, and happy. "Leave No Trace" is a way to reciprocate for that renewal.
I look forward to your return visit.
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Maple Shade, New Jersey
Level 6 Contributor
58 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
Reviewed September 13, 2010

I was thoroughly surprised and happy that we chose Maple Tree Campground for our first camping experience. My 4 year old son had so much fun. We stayed in the Wren treehouse, which was close to the facilities. The area around our treehouse was large and had two picnic tables, fire pit and charcoal grill. There was enough space for us to pitch a tent, which my son really wanted to do.
The restroom facilities are clean and the outdoor showers a plus. And the water is HOT! Was nice during the cold morning to have that luxury.
I would highly recommend this campground to everyone I know. It's an experience you will never forget.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank joujoukim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Maple Tree Campground

Property: Maple Tree Campground
Address: 20716 Townsend Rd, Gapland, MD 21779-1255
Location: United States > Maryland > Gapland
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Gapland
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
One and a half hours from D.C. and Baltimore we have a small tree house campground and are open year round. There are a variety of camping options, the Hobbit House and Tree Cottages have wood stoves and mattresses, there are new ones and older ones. There are a variety of tree houses, they do not have mattresses or wood stoves. Each site has a fire circle, picnic table, and grill.The bathrooms and showers are centrally located. We have secluded tent sites. We are 7 miles from river rafting, tubing, horseback riding, zip-lining, and a ten-minute walk from the Appalachian Trail. Also, 10 minutes from a train into D.C. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Maple Tree Campground Hotel Gapland
Maple Tree Campground Maryland/Gapland

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