The Eternal Tree House
The Eternal Tree House is a free attraction worth at least five minutes of your vacation time. A carved wooden sign along the Avenue of the Giants promises a 20 ft. room in a "Living Tree." Visitors walk into the woods behind its roadside gift shop, perhaps anticipating an ornately carved palace suspended overhead in ancient boughs.
It turns out to be a man-carved room sunken at the bottom of a redwood stump. In the shade and foliage, the exterior of the Eternal Tree House resembles a huge pile of moldering firewood with a window. A short ramp leads down into single room below what's left of a 2,500 year old redwood.
The hand-lettered history on the wall claims "the main portion of the tree was felled in the early 1900s by loggers" to make railroad ties, fence rails and roof shakes. A fire "centuries ago" had already blackened the tree's insides, so in the 1910s expert wood splitter Harry McLeod decided to hollow it out like a Halloween pumpkin and convert it to a tourist curiosity. By the 1950s, the space had been turned into a formal gift shop.
Today it's an unfurnished room, its rustic log chandelier lighting a guest book on a pedestal and signs enticing visitors to check out redwood souvenirs in the gift shop. Stepping outside, you can see the tall redwood offspring that surround the never-say-die Eternal Tree.