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Cabin Fever: Bask in a bird’s-eye view at Mohican Treehouses

Olivia Balcerzak

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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.

Photos by Brian Kaiser

(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.

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Getaways

4 cozy cabins in Ohio that’ll make winter your favorite season

Colleen Quinn

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Yes, winter is cold, but with cold comes cozy! 

Picture this: You’ve got your fuzzy socks on, a cup of hot coco in one hand, and a good book in the other. The sound of a crackling fireplace lingers in the background as you glance out to the snow-coated country side and realize…you are in your own little snow globe paradise!

Sounds lovely doesn’t it?

Oh, and let us not forget the best part…hot tubs! There is something so satisfactory about soaking in steaming hot water as the chill of winter wonderland beauty surrounds you, am I right?

No need for winter blues when you can create your own winter oasis at one of the many cozy cabins located right here in Ohio!  

Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls

A perfect place for a relaxing cabin getaway. The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls is tucked away on 75 acres of woodland forest, conveniently surrounded on three sides by Hocking Hills State Park. Enjoy a secluded and relaxing weekend soaking in the whirlpool hot tub, snuggling up by the gas log fire, and enjoying the peaceful serenity provided by the wintery nature around you. 

Freshly-baked cookies always await your arrival here and all accommodations include a hearty breakfast, too.

Oakwood Cabins

Also located in the winter wonderland of Hocking Hills are the cozy log cabins of Oakwood. Each charming yet modern cabin is set in a secluded location, giving you the privacy required for a rejuvenating getaway. Feel the cold breeze on your face as you sink into the screened-in outdoor hot tub and relax away each day by watching old DVD’s. If adventure is calling your name, strap on some winter hiking boots to explore the nearby Ash or Old Man’s Cave!

Murphin Ridge Inn

Escape to the Amish country of southern Ohio this winter by visiting the quaint cabins at Murphin Inn. Marvel at the snow-coated views of the Appalachian foothills, spanning across 140 acres of rolling woodland and farm. Spend the day exploring the Amish-owned boutiques, antique shops, and bakeries in the neighborhoods nearby. Upon return, cozy up by the indoor or outdoor fire pits with a good book and great company. Come morning time, enjoy a bountiful country breakfast with freshly squeezed orange juice. 

Mohican Pines Cabin Rentals

Peacefully located on quiet country roads far from traffic or noise you will find the luxury cabins of Mohican Pines near Mohican State Park. The cabins are far from any town, allowing the stars to shine brighter than ever. Admire the snow covered pine forest and valley from the patio or steamy hot tub and enjoy your winter bliss. 

Grab your loved ones and make this winter extra cozy. Beware, you may find yourself so cozy that winter becomes your new favorite season!

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Getaways

Enemy Territory

My heart bleeds scarlet and gray. I graduated from OSU, and then worked there for several years, inside a building with a perfect view of the ’Shoe. So it made me squirm in my seat with discomfort when we discussed writing a piece for the magazine on Ann Arbor getaways. Imagine my surprise when I [...]
Jeni Ruisch

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My heart bleeds scarlet and gray.

I graduated from OSU, and then worked there for several years, inside a building with a perfect view of the ’Shoe. So it made me squirm in my seat with discomfort when we discussed writing a piece for the magazine on Ann Arbor getaways. Imagine my surprise when I found myself wandering the streets of our rival city on a clandestine mission for photographs, in a sea of maize and blue.

This November, Buckeyes will flood into the streets of Ann Arbor in preparation for the Big Game, where we’ll face off against the Wolverines on their home turf.

Much to my amazement, my trip to the state up north was surprisingly idyllic. Expecting a barren wasteland of sour-faced losers and actual wolverines, I found friendly people, a beautiful campus, and plenty of attractions to keep fans from both sides of the line entertained before and after the main event on November 25 at noon.

So if you’re planning on spending a weekend up in their neck of the north, here are some suggestions that will keep you right around campus, while letting you get away from the pressure of The Big Game, if you so choose.

Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market

a2gov.org/departments/Parks-Recreation

Located close to the city hustle and bustle, the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market is home to over 100 producer-only vendors. This means there is no middle man; you’re buying straight from the planters and makers. Despite the chilly northern winters, the market is open year-round. By the time late November rolls around, it’ll be up and running Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Get up early before The Big Game for some local souvenirs and start your day off with more than a beer bong.

The Ark

theark.org

A classic local music venue with a reputation for putting on amazing shows, The Ark is like Ann Arbor’s version of our Newport. No it’s not better. I didn’t say that—you said that. The gigs and players lean folksy here, and the night of The Game, you can escape the street hordes by buying a ticket to see none other than actor Jeff Daniels play the night away onstage. Just don’t be the drunk guy that yells out Dumb and Dumber quotes from the back row.

Zingerman’s Delicatessen

zingermansdeli.com

This staple of the campus sits on a picturesque street corner. There’s a coffee shop right next door called, well… Zingerman’s Next Door. It would be a perfect spot to grab a sandwich and do your homework while you stare out the window and daydream about your future. But you don’t have any homework. And this is your future. Oh, boy… Don’t blame the folks at Zingerman’s, they just work here.

UM Museum of Natural History

lsa.umich.edu/ummnh

This spot will be especially perfect if you’re visiting with kiddos in tow, but there ain’t no age limit on wonder. The museum has a massive collection, including mastodon skeletons, and live demonstrations like “exploring neuroscience” and dinosaur tours. The doors are open Monday through Saturday 9-5, and Sunday 12-5. This seems like a good way to decompress after the wild ride that’s going to be Saturday night.

Frita Batidos

fritabatidos.com

To clarify, Frita is not the head chef here. The menus’ two staple items are the frita: a spicy chorizo burger with shoestring fries on top, and an egg bun. And the batido: A shake made with ice, fruit, and sweetened milk (and sometimes rum). The Cuban-inspired fusion menu at this spot, along with the colorful atmosphere, will be a surefire warm-up after braving the chilly November weather. And those cold northern glares.

Grizzly Peak Brewing Company

grizzlypeak.net

Stop what you’re doing and add this spot to your Ann Arbor itinerary. With eight different craft brews on tap daily, all of their award-winning hand-crafted beers are brewed on-site. Their mouth-watering menu runs the gut gamut from artisan pizza and specialty burgers to ribs, fresh mussels, and truffled mac n’ cheese. They even have a dog menu. Pups are welcome on the patio, and all the proceeds from dog snacks like salmon and rice, or ice cream with peanut butter sauce, go to the Humane Society of Huron Valley. You even get a little dog dish to take home. *ichigan might just be onto something.

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Getaways

Glamp-Away

June is national camping month, according to someone who told me that on the Internet. This is great news for those of us that love dirt, bugs, hiking, and the occasional four days without a shower. But what about the more docile members of your friend group, or your tame and domesticated partner that wants [...]
Jeni Ruisch

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June is national camping month, according to someone who told me that on the Internet. This is great news for those of us that love dirt, bugs, hiking, and the occasional four days without a shower. But what about the more docile members of your friend group, or your tame and domesticated partner that wants to share everything with you... everything except the responsibility of starting a fire, and tying your food into a treetop to avoid tempting bears?  Well good news, adventurous Columbusites. You can sate your thirst for experience and freedom without sacrificing comfort or risking life and limb. Some call it a vacation, some might even call it “Glamping.” One thing is for sure: We have plenty of options for getting outside 270 and copping a new view of starrier skies.

Hit the Road, Jack

Among the defining societal tropes of Americans is the love of the open road. Our collective cultural memory includes Manifest Destiny, the Wide Wild West, roadside attractions, and Route 66. The question of whether to hit the road has never included a why, only a how. Columbus-based Road Adventures has built a company founded on the idea of helping you plan the road trip of a lifetime.

Through Road Adventures, you can rent a vehicle, like a tow-behind trailer, an RV, or even a vintage-style Airstream Trailer. Never driven an RV? No problem. Road Adventures will teach you the finer points of operation, and provide 24-hour roadside assistance and customer service, in case your road trip goes the way of a National Lampoon Vacation movie.

But Road Adventures isn’t just a rental service for travel vehicles. They are a complete travel package and planning company. From Ohio’s own Lord of the Rings fantasy, Hocking Hills; to national treasure and wildlife lover’s destination, Yellowstone National Park; Road Adventures has planned routes you can follow. These are complete with places to camp along the way, and plenty of attractions to break up the long miles.

Camping vehicles are the perfect way carry your comfort with you. You can rent an RV to get you to that music festival you and your buddies got tickets for. Let them help you find a spot with the proper hookups, and you can avoid the long lines leading to the hell on Earth that are festival shower and toilet facilities. Always wanted to see the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota? Take an RV through the Black Hills and arrive in comfort and style for a wild weekend.

Leave the planning and logistics to Road Adventures, if you wish. Or, just pick up the keys and head out on a magic American carpet ride.

For more, visit roadadventures.com.

The Air Up There

Some folks were lucky enough to have tree houses as kids. It was a little place of your own, where you could hide away from the grownups, and spy down on your surroundings. A cozy little place away from the every day. Turns out, you can go back to that little nest up high.

There are plenty of options for treehouse rentals in Ohio if you want to get away from all, or above it. The standout option is The Mohicans Treehouses. A set of four true-to-name structures suspended high in the trees, these rentals look like something from a story book. Two of the houses were designed by Treehouse Masters star Pete Nelson, and an episode of the show focuses on The Little Red Treehouse, one of the rental options complete with indoor plumbing and electricity. Little Red was originally constructed as a tasting house for Tree House Brewing, and later converted to accommodate an overnight stay. Small and cozy, Little Red is the perfect size for two people. The other three treehouses can host two couples, making them perfect for a double date weekend getaway.

The creation of the buildings was mindful in its sourcing and fabrication. The owners and designers made use of reclaimed barn wood for materials and hired local Amish workers to contribute to design and construction. The owners, Laura and Kevin Mooney are committed to sustainable operation of their fairy tale getaway. The site has become a destination not only for vacationers, but for event planners and partiers. The Grand Barn is a glorious and woodsy venue for weddings and other events, where guests are encouraged to spend their night in a treehouse after their festivities.

Visitors walk a gently swaying suspension bridge from a hillside to reach their treetop hideaway. It’s just like you always imagined.

And for those of us that never had a treehouse… it’s never too late.

For more, visit themohicans.net.

A Walk On the Wild Side

There’s an old romantic notion of waking up to a misty morning on safari, and you can have that experience without leaving The Heart of It All. Located on over 10,000 acres of reclaimed mine land, The Wilds is a safari park in every sense of the word. Visitors can take a tour by bus or by truck through the spacious fields provided to the many animal inhabitants of this sprawling, wild partner to the Columbus Zoo. From rhinos and cheetahs to takins and dholes, the resident creature roster is long and growing by the season.

A stay at the Grand Yurt on Nomad Ridge includes a safari for two. Dinner and breakfast are provided. The interior of the yurt is exotically inspired and gorgeously designed. A little slice of luxury in Southeastern Ohio. They are climate-controlled with indoor plumbing, and provided is the one thing you might be unwilling to sacrifice in your search for escape from daily life: coffee. Outside the Grand Yurt is an elevated patio with a fire pit, where a view of the prairie will greet you with the sunrise. You may even catch glimpses of animals roaming the open fields, seemingly oblivious to the fences.

For more info, visit thewilds.columbuszoo.org.

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