A Tiny Treehouse Treasure in the Woods - Leafcutter Designs

BEHIND THE SCENES

A Tiny Treehouse Treasure in the Woods

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The Tiny Tilden Post Office has been quietly going about its business in the hills above Berkeley since we installed it back in December. The little establishment is tucked into a knothole in an old tree on the Curran Trail in Tilden Park. For the past six months, countless hikers and dog walkers have enjoyed this unexpected world of postal tiny-ness.

A Gift For Gareth

The tiny treehouse post office started as a special gift for Gareth Branwyn who wrote a lovely little essay about us back in 2009. The tiny post office installation is mentioned in Gareth's new book, Borg Like Me, which is getting some really great reviews!

On The Curran Trail

Until now, the location of the tiny treehouse has been kept secret; it's tiny delights reserved for those with a patient hiking pace and a keen eye. Now we want to share it with all of you, and encourage locals and visitors alike to get out into the woods and follow the map to hidden treasure.

Curran Trail View of Treehouse

Keep your eyes peeled while walking the Curran Trail!

 

Grand Opening: December 2013

We dare say that this little outpost may be even smaller than our original World's Smallest Post Service. It's certainly fit for a field mouse, or a young butterfly, or even a flying fairy. Here's a closer look:

Tiny Treehouse Diorama

The original scene as we left it back in December 2013.

 

Tiny Treehouse At Night

And at night, sometimes the lamp is on!

 

The First Month

We checked on the treehouse post office a few times in January and, to our delight, it was still there every time! We crafted a sweet little ode to small things and stocked the mailbox with letters for passersby to take home as a memento.

Tiny Letter for Tilden Post Office

...thank you for noticing something small today...

 

Six Months Later...

From February through June, we left the Tiny Tilden Post Office to its fate. Though the winter was remarkably dry and warm, we weren't sure how it would fare amongst the squirrels and blue jays. To our great surprise and delight, we returned in June to find the tiny treehouse post thriving. It seems hikers had regularly restocked the office with tiny notes written on scraps of trail maps and rearranged the furniture just for fun. A few even added small details of their own!

Tilden Post as of June 27

Someone redecorated! There's even some fairy dust glitter.

 

Tiny Hanging Wall Map

Mini wall maps (mounted on toothpicks) appeared!

A girl left a tiny blue pencil on the desk along with a sweet note for the fairies! And, hiding inside the originally empty bird cage was a big fuzzy bumble bee that someone must have found on the ground during his or her hike. The bee is my favorite tiny discovery so far. Amazing!

Fairy Pencil and Bee in Cage

 

Freddie & Penelope

My friend Jeremy (caretaker of the popular Ladybug Hotel) and I decided to leave a note too! When we went back to check on things a few days later, we found Freddie Field Mouse himself sitting on the desk chair! Freddie unfolded into a colorful note from "Penelope."

Note From Freddie Field Mouse

Check out the fancy neon script!

 

Note to Penelope

Here's the original letter Freddie left and our response to Penelope's correspondence, just in case she returns.

 

More Curious Visitors

Now we're hooked and can't wait to visit the tiny treehouse post office as often as possible. What will we find this time?! On July 5, it was one letter from "Newt" and another from the "Tai Chi Hikers."

Inbound Treehouse Mailbox

Note From Newt to Freddie
Note From Tai Chi Hikers

 

We wrote back, of course. How could we not?

Reply Note to Newt

Reply Note to Tai Chi Hikers

 

What Will You Find?

The care and respect that strangers have given this knothole delight is heart warming. We had no idea what would happen when we set it up. Not only are most of the original Tiny Tilden Post Office components still there, but new artifacts and letters keep showing up. There's plenty of creativity and kindness on display, and nary a speck of teeny tiny graffiti!

If you're in the Bay Area and looking for a little adventure, print the image below, tuck it into your pocket and head out on the Curran Trail. What will you find? Let us know in the comments below and share photos with #tildenpo!
Tiny Treehouse Treasure Map

Lea Redmond is always looking for the poem hiding inside things: a salt shaker, a clothes tag, a hand gesture, a cloud. She is infinitely intrigued by the way experiences can slip from the ordinary to the extraordinary and she endeavors to design things that hold this possibility. Leafcutter Designs, her creative studio in Berkeley, CA, makes the world more playful and peaceful one little experience at a time.

19 Comments

  1. JoEllen

    February 16, 2016 at 11:00 am

    I am very excited to send my daughter this tiny package for her upcoming gymnastics meet that she has trained so hard for! We have been in love with all things tiny since her fairy house days! I know that she will love this!

  2. Ireen

    October 26, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Hi Lea….this is soooo cute!! Remember me? Ireen from the Elmwood PO? I’m so lucky to have found this link, I’ve always wondered if you still did this!

  3. E.I.

    October 24, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Hello! We visited today and left a letter for Freddy. Happy Halloween, Freddy! 🙂

    • Devin Redmond

      January 23, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      Oh, that’s so thoughtful! I’m sure Freddy was delighted.

  4. Betts-Ng family

    January 1, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    Hi we visited today, and it was a great way to start our new year. We left a package for the mail carrier, even though it seems the mailbox was missing.

  5. Ashley

    December 25, 2014 at 9:34 pm

    Hi Lea! Is your adorable post office still up and running this winter? We’d love to leave some treasures.

  6. Alyssa

    November 19, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Wow…I am so in love with this idea. Thanks for spreading magic!

  7. Brenda

    November 15, 2014 at 9:29 am

    I noticed that the post office was under construction the last time I came to visit. Is it open for business now? I can’t wait to return and show my family and friends!

    • Lea Redmond

      November 17, 2014 at 9:45 am

      Hi Brenda,
      The renovation is complete and the tiny PO is again greeting the public. Enjoy!

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  10. Selina

    August 4, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Hi Lea! I’m Penelope’s mom and was so excited to discover this evening that Freddie wrote back to Penelope. We are going to hike back soon to see if her note is still there. Thanks for the magic!

    • Lea Redmond

      August 5, 2014 at 11:22 am

      Hi Selina – oh what a joy to connect with you! Penelope’s little mouse drawing is SO great. We were so excited when we found him sitting on the tiny desk chair! Let me know if the letter Freddie wrote to Penelope is not longer there and we can arrange some sort of replacement!

    • Selina

      August 5, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      We visited Freddy’s home tonight and there must be mouse holiday because his post box is completely full! We found the note Freddy left for Penelope in one of his dresser drawers. It looks like it has been enjoyed many time. She left an acorn candle for Freddy. Thank you!

  11. Shelley Noble

    July 31, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Pure. Magic. Brava! Well done to you! There really is not much better than creating this kind of wonderment. So glad my friend gl Tweeted you out to me.

  12. Jeremy

    July 29, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    This really is a joy to behold, let alone play a part in. I hope lots of people go check this out in Tilden. Leave letters if you do!

  13. James Ricketts

    July 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I’ve been hiking that loop trail more or less every week for a year now and it’s from a blog post today that I first discover the tiny post office! I know how this is possible. It’s located at an intersection of two trails, but right before, about 25 feet, is a small shortcut that I take every time. And to think I’ve been missing this tiny spectacle the whole time! Whoops :-/

  14. Marion

    July 29, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Oh, where can I get a tiny mailbox to put on a trail up here in Washington? Is it a dollhouse mailbox? Please share!

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