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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

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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Escape Columbus winter with 5 flights under $200 RT

Colleen Quinn

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If you're like us, February has you day dreaming of warmer weather and elaborate escape plans. Well, folks, it is time for a break that won’t break the bank, and we have you covered.

Below are five winter escapes from Columbus for less than $200 round trip and direct (heck yeah). Now let’s turn those day dreams into sunny realities!

PRO TIP: Flight fares fluctuate often based on many different factors. Use Skyscanner or Hopper to search flights and set alerts for inexpensive flights!

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA

Throw your winter blues out the window with a trip to southern Florida’s East Coast. Fort Lauderdale has all that good stuff you are looking for from a sunny holiday: beautiful beaches, crystal blue water, incredible food, tasty cocktails, and fantastic hotels. Plus, ever wanted to zip around on one of those airboats?! Take a trip to the nearby Everglades for a chance to spot a Florida gator!

Airline: Allegiant Air
Route: LCK (Rickenbacker Intl Columbus) > FLL (Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Intl Airport)
Roundtrip Price: $126 ($70 with no baggage)

FORT MYERS, FLORIDA

Florida’s West Coast makes the list, too, with a visit to the sunny Gulf Coast. Bar hop along Fort Myer’s Beach, shop the trendy downtown streets, or get a history fix in at the Thomas Edison & Henry Ford winter estate.

A must-do here is visiting the neighboring islands of Sanibel and Captiva to rent bikes for the day. Explore the beautiful nature reserves, mangroves, beaches and do some bird watching!

Airline: Spirit Airlines
Route: CMH (John Glenn Columbus Intl Airport) > RSW (Southwest Florida Intl Airport)
Roundtrip Price: $187 ($85 with no baggage)

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

Savannah is seeping with southern charm and elegance. You cannot help but become enchanted by the cobblestone streets, large live oaks, and Spanish moss that line the streets of Savannah.

Bring your walking shoes as that is the only method of transportation you will need to get around. Walk the historic district, city parks, and markets to take in all the southern architecture and flare.

Eat your way around with all the southern style dishes you could dream of, and catch live tunes at the lively music bars. Savannah is a destination you will not be disappointed you took the time to visit!

Airline: Allegiant Air
Route: LCK > SAV (Savannah/Hilton Head Intl Airport)
Roundtrip Price: $198 ($100 with no baggage)

CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA

Sticking with the southern charm, hop on a flight to check out what Charleston has in store. Friendly people, amazing food, trendy coffee shops, endless rooftop bars and bourbon tasting are just a few of the reasons this city attracts so many visitors each year.

You will feel like you are in a post card as you walk the cobblestones streets lined with candy colored pastel houses, and we are here for it!

Airline: Allegiant Air
Route: LCK > CHS (Charleston Intl Airport)
Roundtrip Price: $163 ($98 with no baggage)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Via Las Vegas! Does this place really even need an introduction? If you have never been to Vegas, you have to go at least once, so why not this winter? Glitz, glam, gambling, elaborate shows, restaurants, clubs, hotels, shopping, and adventure await you on the Vegas strip.

If Vegas is not your cup of tea… book the flight, rent a car and make the 2.5 hour drive to Zion National Park in Utah for a STUNNING representation of America’s southwestern territory with massive canyons, cliffs, lakes, waterfalls, and hanging gardens.

Airline: Spirit Airlines
Route: CMH > LAS (McCarran Intl Airport)
Roundtrip Price: $189 ($113 with no baggage)

Winter drags, but it doesn’t have to if you give yourself something to look forward to… Get packing!

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Weekend Getaway: 8 things to do in Yellow Springs this winter

Colleen Quinn

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A quick 45 minutes west of Columbus you will find the quaint hippie-esque town of Yellow Springs, Ohio. The streets are filled with independent coffee shops, book stores, locally-sourced eateries, and picturesque nature walks. It does not take long to feel welcomed by the locals in this laid back town—there is always a friendly face up for a chat, making you feel part of the magic of this 3,800 person community. What to do on a winter weekend getaway to Yellow Springs, Ohio…

The Winter Farmer’s Market

Bring a bit of the Yellow Springs charm home with you from the Winter Farmer’s Market! Open every Saturday morning December through March in the great room at the Yellow Springs Senior Center, this event offers local honey, coffee, maple syrup, salts, marinades, spices, artesian soaps, centerpieces, and more.

Shop Xenia Ave

This main drag through town is littered with local shops, book stores, independent coffee houses, and galleries. Grab the popular frozen hot chocolate at Dino’s Coffee, and shop your way through locally made-hand goods, home décor, jewelry, clothing, and trinkets.

Walk Keith’s Alley

A Yellow Springs hidden gem, Keith’s Alley lays behind the main shopping drag of Xenia Ave. A perfect addition to this artsy progressive town, this beautiful alley way is filled with unique murals that are often changing!

Yellow Springs Brewery

Time for a brew? Make a pit stop at the Yellow Springs Brewery for some craft beer, board games, food trucks, and super cool décor at this funky taproom.

Eat local at two of the best restaurants in town: Sunrise Café and Winds Café

Sunrise Café – "Local. From scratch. With love," is the motto at Sunrise Café. This café sources it’s ingredients locally from over 20 Ohio farms and almost everything is prepared fresh from scratch in house. This is a dining experience your taste buds do not want to miss.

Winds Café – With an ever-changing bimonthly seasonal food menu, you will be sure to taste the freshest of locally sourced ingredients at Winds Café. If wine is calling your name, this is your spot! Check out one of their wine dinners and tastings while you are in town.

Take in the scenery

Explore any of the trails and footpaths surrounding Yellow Springs. It may be a little chilly, but grab some gloves and take a wintery stroll through the Glen Helen preserve, or along the river at Clifton Gorge.

Glen Helen

Catch an independent film at the Little Art Theater

Founded in 1929, the Little Theater is a small piece of Yellow Springs history. You can catch independent, foreign, classic, documentary, and mainstream movies in this little (now renovated) theater.

Stay in an old Jailhouse

If you are already sold on a visit to Yellow Springs then you must be wondering where you should stay. While ‘"jail" may not be your first option, think again! This 1878 jailhouse was used as the town jail until 1929 and has been converted into suites. Now you can become an ‘Inn-mate’ at the Jailhouse Suites!

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