Darrel and Patrice Coney Maxam bought 48 acres of lovely upstate countryside in Sodus to create a premium tourist resort in the Finger Lakes. The Maxams are erecting 10 hot tub-equipped treehouses.

Finger Lakes Treehouse & Spa at 4766 Pilgrimport Road will include a private chef supper clubhouse. The spa offers massages, facials, and saunas. The venue’s barn can host 500-person weddings. It will open the second week of May and costs $190–$300 a night.

These are not the Lyons treehouses Patrice and her five siblings played in. She graduated from Lyons High School in 2003 and studied nursing at Buffalo. She and her husband live in Atlanta and operate Maxam Hospitality Company, which has a comparable luxury enterprise in their hometown that Darrel developed from scratch.

Beverly Waterman, Patrice’s Lyons-based mother, planned to buy the Sodus property. She would live into the main home and then create treehouse cottages. Before the plans could be implemented, Waterman died of stage 4 cancer in January.

The 39-year-old Maxams built treehouses nevertheless. They will spend most of the summer in the farmhouse with their three children, aged 4, 6, and 14. Patrice said they are developing a niche in the tourism business for those seeking unique experiences in unexpected places.

“It’s silent. “Sodus lets us sleep,” she remarked. We wanted four seasons. Snowmobilers like it. “Snowshoes.”

Domino, an American home magazine, reported in 2018 that Darrel Maxam’s resort project began in Atlanta. In 2015, they had a tiny Airbnb apartment on their property. When Patrice was on vacation, Darrel spent $16,000 to transform a shed into a weekend refuge. He did everything from plumbing to tiling.

According to the story, the two locations earned $2,500 each month. The pair considered building and renting treehouses for a living.

Oncology nurse Patrice was. Jamaican Darrel earned a master’s in construction management and business administration after serving in Afghanistan.

They started Airbnb with a $65,000 personal loan to pay their mortgage. They paid off the debt in 18 months and used the remaining to build other treehouses.

VacationRenter.com has 4,780 “treehouse” homes in its 100,000 listings from many major vacation-rental agencies. Treehouses were Airbnb’s “most wishlisted” rental in May 2021.

The Maxams built seven treehouses/bungalows in their wide woodlands in Atlanta. Little yet beautifully designed. The Maxams utilized salvaged wood to “build the entirety of the decking… and the bespoke basket woven wood board in the ceiling of a converted 1956 Airstream, every space is picture worthy and awe inspiring,” according to their brochure.

Maxams value repurposed things. Reclaimed wood, antiques, and houseplants fill their tiny dwellings.

The Maxams call themselves “a worldwide hotel and spa resort brand focused on delivering premium hospitality to a totally new and higher level.” They designed their treehouses. Eclectic art/interior design and simple Finnish architecture inspire them.

They intend to replicate the Sodus initiative in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Belize, and Ghana.

Patrice said they chose Central American and West African resorts by touring before having children. “We’ve dreamed of this.”

Each resort offers a tailored relaxing experience with local goods and spa/sauna components.

Their Finger Lakes Treehouses provide a long number of pre-programmed and planned activities with local companies. The Maxams provide bison excursions, apple farm tours, mixology classes, private chefs, and more. Homebodies may enjoy pickle ball courts, walking walks, and yoga fields on the site.

Wedding venues are also promoted. The venue has three cheap packages.

“Our treehouses provide family accommodations,” the brochure says. Alpacas and lamas will attend your wedding. They may enhance your wedding.”

Their barn or tent may host the wedding.

“We have numerous rooms to accommodate a wedding for as little as 50 guests or as many as 500,” the brochure added. “Guests can be spa-pampered before the wedding. The spa offers hot pools, saunas, and massages.”

Darrel manages Atlanta rentals full-time since mid-2019. Patrice transitioned slowly. After quitting nursing, she joined the business full-time in March. They’re taking wedding and treehouse bookings for Sodus’ May grand opening. Patrice said they wanted to expand into Wayne County and keep strong ties with Lyons, where they want to give back. Patrice, a Lyons High Sports School Hall of Fame track and field athlete, is creating two scholarships in memory of her parents, Beverly and LeeRoy Waterman.

She mentioned in a scholarship application that her parents were Lyons pillars. They were community parents. They mentored children, attended athletic events, and gave success advice.

This fundraising will finance The Waterman Scholarship for two Lyons High School graduates who embody Beverly and LeeRoy Waterman. They loved sports, school, and work. The fund has $5,855 toward its $6,000 goal. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/re5e22-running-for-a-cause to donate.

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