No offense to conventional hotels, but sometimes you just want to stay someplace a little different, a little avant-garde, someplace you'll be able to tell the grandkids about someday.

You know, someplace that, once you post a picture on Facebook, will make every one of your 732 friends positively green with envy — or at least scratching their heads, wondering how you ever found this place.

(And preferably, someplace that won't require taking out a second mortgage to get there and hang out for a few days — which, regrettably, precludes anything atop Mount Kilimanjaro.)

With that in mind, here are five unique accommodations, all within easy driving distance of Baltimore, that are pretty much guaranteed to be unlike anywhere you've stayed before.

Living among the trees … or in a Hobbit hole

Maple Tree Campground

20716 Townsend Road, Rohrersville, Washington County

301-432-5585 or


75 miles from Baltimore

Butting up against the Appalachian Trail and 20 minutes from Antietam, Maple Tree Campground offers a rustic oasis just 90 minutes west of Baltimore. Which means, of course, lots of tents and trees, wooded trails and river rafting, camp fires and wildlife.

But this 20-acre campground, operated by the Soroko family since 1972, throws in a couple of unique twists. For those who have ever wanted to live like the birds or the butterflies, 10 treehouses offer the chance to sleep up there, on stilts between eight and 10 feet off the ground. With a capacity of six to 12, they're pretty basic: no wood stoves, no mattresses (just bunks). Eight are screened but largely open to the elements; two are more deluxe, enclosed and insulated.

"It takes people back to being a kid," says owner Louise Soroko, who's continuing down the path started when her mother, Phyllis, opened this Washington County campground for rentals in 1972. "Nature is always rejuvenating."

The campground's newest addition, perfect for Middle Earthers, is the Hobbit House: a 20-by-26-foot underground cottage with two skylights, a thatched roof and, presumably, plenty of pipe-weed for relaxation. Plans are to open it this summer, at a rate of $138 per night. While hobbits are known to be on the small side, however, Soroko assures that modifications have been made, especially with regard to the ceiling. "It's designed for tall hobbit people," she promises.

Living like our forefathers (and mothers) did

Colonial Houses — Historic Lodging in Colonial Williamsburg, Va.

888-965-7254 or


200 miles from Baltimore

Colonial Williamsburg has always offered visitors the chance to follow in the footsteps of Jefferson, Washington and others of our Founding Fathers. But did you know it offers to chance to sleep there, too?