Treehouses Sprouting Like Mushrooms in Ohio’s Picturesque Knox County

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Treehouses Sprouting Like Mushrooms in Ohio’s Picturesque Knox County

GLENMONT, OHIO—When U.S. News & World Report put together a list of The World’s Best Treehouse Hotels last year, it included The Mohicans, a North Central Ohio hideaway that includes seven treehouses, five cabins and the Grand Barn Wedding Center. The Mohicans is the work of the husband and wife team of Kevin and Laura Mooney. Along the way they have been assisted by Amish builders and experts such as Pete Nelson of the well-known Treehouse Masters reality show. Nelson designed two of the treehouses on the 75-acre property. One of those treehouses was featured on Treehouse Masters.

Kevin says by the end of this summer The Mohicans will have 10 treehouses available for guests. One of those will consist of a renovated Airstream trailer that will sit 22 feet off the ground. Reclaimed barnwood has been used to give the inside of the trailer a rustic look. Another new treehouse will feature 90 percent glass in three of its four walls. Infrastructure is in place for up to 15 total treehouses—a number the Mooneys may hit in the next couple of years.

Unique to the treehouses at The Mohicans are their use of reclaimed materials—everything from barn wood to used windows to doors to siding. Given their location in Ohio, where winters can be brutal at times, the treehouses are well-insulated, have heated flooring, and incorporate passive lighting design techniques. Even the water lines are insulated and heated.

“We have taken on a super challenge,” Kevin. Adds Laura, “The payoff is huge.”

Local Amish Help with Construction, Ongoing Work

Kevin mentioned the work and talent of the local Amish craftsmen as being particularly important to their business growth. Ironically, the go-to guy for electrical work is an Amish man who lives without electricity at his own home. “We are really gifted with the Amish carpenters we have,” Kevin says.

As with any hotel’s success, it is all about location. The same is true for treehouses. With treehouses, however, the view has also got to be special. The trees have also got to be right and that is why Kevin says he always consults with an arborist before selecting a site. “An arborist can identify any damage,” Kevin says. “In a perfect world we would want to go into an oak. Some trees have shallow roots.” Portable x-ray machines can help pinpoint structural defects. Constructed properly, a tree house can help strengthen a tree. “You have to give the trees more love,” Kevin says. “We bring in mulch to help protect the roots. You want to ensure the life of the tree.”

Business has been good at The Mohicans “We have a wedding just about every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May until November,” Laura says. “Our occupancy is backed up around the weddings. Our occupancy is high in winter as well. We stay busy all year-round.”

A National Draw for Weddings

The Grand Barn and Wedding Center on the property has proven to be a great idea for the Mooneys. Couples come from all over the United States to get married there. The Center is also used for corporate retreats. The two-story timber frame building nestled amongst hardwoods and pines high atop the hills of the Mohican Valley includes hand hewn logs, hardwood flooring, an expansive solid oak rustic staircase leading up to an upper level mezzanine with access to a second story outside deck. There is also a large covered deck on the main floor. Rustic details abound such as sliding barn shutters, “hay loft” ladder and solid pine trusses. The driveway up to The Grand Barn passes by a half-acre lake.

One guest who has stayed at The Mohicans is Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey gave a shout out to The Mohicans during a taping of LIVE with Kelly and Ryan! “Nobody knew who he was,” Kevin says.

When asked if there is a particular type of traveler that their treehouses appeal to, Laura said, “They appeal to every age group, every lifestyle group.”

Glenn Hasek can be reached at editor@greenlodgingnews.com.