In 2011, Kevin Mooney created Mohican Treehouses, a small village of upscale treehouses in the middle of the woods in Glenmont, Ohio. Since then, Mooney has created a large barn and hired staff to make the nine houses (and one soon-to-be tent) both a getaway spot for families and a barn-wedding venue for couples and space for their families to stay. (614) had the chance to chat with Mooney to see what’s going on in his treehouse cabins, and what you can expect when you visit.
(614): How did Mohican Tree Houses get its start and where have you seen it go from there?
KM: I studied Hocking Hills’ business plan and their lodging and determined that this area here is going to have a lot of lodging down the road, so I started off building these rental cabins. And then a friend of mine talked to me about treehouses and then I bumped into someone that took a class on how to build a treehouse. When I first built treehouses, I couldn’t give it away to friends and family. When [my friend] called me the second time and said, ‘I want to build a treehouse with you on a TV show (Animal Planet, Treehouse Masters) and it will be the second treehouse,’ I jumped at the chance. We built the treehouse not knowing if the show was going to work. And then once the show worked, it just took off.
(614): When people arrive at the Tree Houses and the venue itself what should they expect to see?
You can expect, if it’s a treehouse, to be left alone. You’re on 77 acres; you do a self check-in. You’re going to hear a lot of Mother Nature. You’re going to feel really out in the middle of nowhere. This one I’m looking at right now I have a 25-foot spiral staircase that is 4 feet wide and goes up 25 feet to a suspension bridge. The suspension bridge is 100 feet long and when you go into this treehouse, you step in and on the other side of it is a glass garage door. You open up the glass garage door and it feels like you’re out in Mother Nature.
(614): What would be the appeal of staying here as opposed to other winter or summer getaway places?
The tree is the experience because you’re 25 feet off the ground and you can feel that general movement of the tree. I remember someone wrote in one of my books. The mom said, ‘You know, when my kids got here, they weren’t happy. Their cell phones didn’t work, their internet didn’t work,” and she said thank you. “It’s the first time we’ve reconnected with nature in years.” She said by the end of the trip, the kids were loving it. They put their IPads away, they put their cell phones away and reconnected with the family.
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(614): One of the biggest pieces of business for the Mohican Treehouses you said was weddings, can you tell me a little more about the process of booking your wedding there?
Most people just find us by the internet and they arrange a tour and we’ll give them a tour and if they book us, we’ll give them a tasting. And we’ve hired an executive chef. Our chef here was invited to be on Chopped and is rated one of the top chefs in Ohio. Out of the last 50 tastings, we’ve only had one couple not book us. The game has changed where the millennials are demanding better quality food, a better experience, and that’s where I think we really shine because we go above and beyond any other place. My people realize if you’re getting married and we’re a part of your wedding, we’re really lucky to be a part of your wedding.
(614): How is the setup of the wedding? Is the venue decorated already?
I have this room where they can take all of these decorations out like lanterns—you see a lot of lanterns at barn weddings, things like that. A lot of high-end decorations, I bought them and for less than $200 the couples can take whatever they want and decorate it themselves. And if they don’t want to do that—we’re full service. We’ll do the photography, the photobooth, the flowers, and we’ll do the DJ.
(614): How many people this year would you say are coming?
We’ll do 90-some weddings this year. And if you want to stay at a treehouse, you better be getting married here or you better be invited to a wedding, because a lot of my Friday brides and grooms will come in on Wednesday and a lot of my Sunday weddings will stay until Tuesday—so really if you want to rent a treehouse, it’s really hard.
(614): What else would you like to say to prospective customers?
My son said it best one time. He said, ‘When we do this, we’re going to get people to feel the dirt, we’re going to get them out of the city and they are going to feel what Mother Nature is like. They’re going to get their hands dirty and make a fire, sit around the treehouse and just relax. Enjoy not having a cell phone service and internet.”
To plan your next adventure to the Mohican Treehouses, visit themohicans.net/treehouses.html.