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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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Coronavirus

Weekend Getaway: Ohio State Park lodges reopen

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Cooped up inside of our homes for the past few months, everyone could use a change of scenery. Luckily for those that love the great outdoors of Ohio, the perfect getaway is now possible once again.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced on May 28 that all nine Ohio State Park lodges would be reopened by June 5.

The places where you can escape to are listed below in order of closest proximity to Columbus to furthest:

  • Deer Creek
  • Burr Oak
  • Mohican Lodge
  • Salt Fork Lodge
  • Shawnee 
  • Hueston Woods
  • Maumee Bay
  • Punderson Manor

Director of State Park Lodges Tom Arvan had this to say in the May 28 press release:

“Our staff has been working diligently to ensure that guests return to a safe and sanitized environment following the CDC safety guidelines. Our goal is for our guests to feel comfortable as they enjoy the fun activities and relax in the natural beauty of the lodges and all the state parks have to offer this summer.”

Visit https://www.greatohiolodges.com/ to secure your much-needed wilderness adventure today.

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Getaways

Want to get away? Southwest making it cheap

614Now

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Southwest Airlines is hoping that enough of you are close to feeling safe to leave the house for more than a trip to the grocery store. In a bid to jumpstart their flagging business, Southwest has announced some pretty steep ticket discounts - as low as $49 each way to a host of cities departing from Columbus.

Flights must be booked at least 14 days in advance and travel must happen between May 26 and August 31. Most expect Ohio's 14-day travel quarantine rule to expire by August but be sure to take that into account if you decide to hop on a plane.

Some of the cities and deals we have imagined for you include:

A long weekend in Atlanta: $118 per person roundtrip from Friday, Aug 14 - Sunday the 16th. Keep in mind, it's about 100 degrees in ATL this time of year so be sure to have access to a body of water if you go.

A patriotic, weekend protest in Washington DC: $98 per person roundtrip, 4th of July weekend. See the sights (if they're open to the public) and stand somewhere with a sign with whatever outrage you have in mind.

A long 4th of July beach weekend in Ft. Lauderdale: $198 per person roundtrip from July 3-6 and you can stay at this cute Airbnb apartment that's just one block from the beach for $88/night.

Vegas baby! You're going to have to forget the weekends if you want the great flight deal. But we found August 5-7 available for $198 a person. Plus you can get into the Bellagio for $139 /night right now as an added bonus. Two nights of debauchery, a little gambling and some of the best restaurants in America. What could go wrong?

Of course, traveling may be risky business for some people and this all assumes the respective cities and attractions re-open and are relatively safe. But if you just need to get away, it's probably never been cheaper.

See other flight options here.

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Getaways

Weekend Getaway: Take a trip to the birthplace of bourbon

Colleen Quinn

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Itchin’ to get away for the weekend and try something a little different? You are in luck! The birthplace to the warm, fuzzy burn of a perfectly aged bourbon is a mere 3 hours south of us here in Columbus, Ohio!

As America's ONLY native spirit, bourbon comes out of Kentucky, crafting 95% of the world’s supply! Awaken those taste buds with a trout down the Kentucky Bourbon Trail!

Giving bourbon lovers an up-close look into how bourbon is distilled and the history behind generations of bourbon tradition, The Kentucky Bourbon Trail is a collection of bourbon whiskey distilleries located throughout Kentucky.

You could spend over a week exploring all of the world famous distilleries throughout Kentucky… but a weekend is plenty of time to sip and soak it in!

Where to start? Begin at the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Welcome Center located on the first floor of the Frazier Kentucky History Museum in downtown Louisville. Here, you can gather all the information you need to plot out your perfect bourbon tasting bucket list.

Next up…Whiskey Row awaits! Strap on your comfy shoes and hang a left out of the Frazier. Within a one mile stretch you will hit Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery, Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, Old Forester Distilling Co., and Angel’s Envy Distillery. Make sure to pick up your Kentucky Bourbon Trail Passport at your first distillery to collect stamps at each distillery you visit!

Tours and Tastings
There are a total of 18 distilleries on the KBT, grouped into roughly 4 different locations: Louisville, Lexington, Bardstown, and Owensboro.

Each distillery offers a tour lasting approximately one hour, ending with a tasting. Learn the history of each distillery, how to properly taste bourbon, what distinguishes bourbon from whiskey, and the role bourbon has played in our countries history. Each distillery has quirks that make them uniquely their own, however the tours can get some what repetitive as bourbon is made of a specific process.

Pro tip: Skip the tour and head straight to the tasting if you are short on time or find the tours have gotten repetitive. Where to next?

BARDSTOWN
For a newer, more modern bourbon experience check out Bardstown Bourbon Company—the first KBT destination to combine distilling and culinary arts! Grab lunch at the distilleries Bottle & Bond Kitchen and Bar with an awesome view of the distillery through the floor to ceiling glass wall.

Heaven Hill Distillery is another must. This distillery has been family owned and operated since they were founded in 1935. Officially opening their doors at their new location, Lux Row Distillers has 4 brands under one roof! A bit further south you will hit Makers Mark, where you can hand dip your own bottle into the red wax!

LEXINGTON
Spend a day visiting these distilleries near Lexington: Woodford Reserve, Four Roses, and Wild Turkey, which is home to the world’s longest tenured active master distiller, Jimmy Russell!

Buffalo Trace—while technically not on the KBT, this distillery is one of the most famous of them all. As the oldest continuously operating distillery in America, Buffalo Trace was one of only three bourbon distilleries allowed to operate during Prohibition to distill ‘medicinal’ bourbon. Here, if you are lucky you may get the famous Freddie as you tour guide! He has been leading tours for nearly 20 years, was featured on the Hulu bourbon documentary named ‘neat’ and recently induced in to the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame.

Extra tidbits

While in Louisville make sure to stop at Feast BBQ for out of this world BBQ and their deliciously intoxicating bourbon slushies (yum).

For the history buffs, take a trip to the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln in Hodgenville, KY!

There are 18 distilleries that make up the official KBT, yet there are SO many more excellent distilleries located in the state of Kentucky. If you do not want to make your way all the way down to Louisville, check out Boone County Distilling Co, a boutique distillery, or New Riff Distilling (named best new bourbon of 2019) both of which are located near Cincinnati.

Official KBT Distilleries
 Angel's Envy Distillery
 Bardstown Bourbon Company
 Bulleit Distilling Co. 
 Evan Williams Bourbon Experience 
 Four Roses Distillery 
 Heaven Hill 
 Jim Beam American Stillhouse  (2 locations)
 Lux Row Distillers
 Maker's Mark Distillery 
 Michter’s Fort Nelson Distillery
 Old Forester Distilling Co. 
 O.Z. Tyler Distillery
 Rabbit Hole Distillery
 Stitzel Weller Distillery
 Town Branch Distillery 
 Wilderness Trail
 Wild Turkey Distillery 
 Woodford Reserve Distillery 

Happy Bourbon tasting, and enjoy your time on the trail!

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