In a normal year, my summer would be filled with travel and work projects; last summer alone, I did a road trip around Scotland, sailed the Danube on a river cruise, went to the Calgary Stampede, introduced my sister to London, and went on safari in both Kenya and Tanzania.
In 2020, though, my summer looks a lot different. Instead of booking flights and hotels, I've canceled every single trip I had planned. Instead of exploring new cities, I've been walking roughly the same route through my neighborhood whenever the weather allows. And instead of trying new foods at restaurants and cafes, I'm getting to know my local restaurants' take-out menus.
This certainly isn't the summer I'd originally envisioned, but it's the summer that I got – that we all got.
And while I've been very careful about encouraging travel during a time when it hasn't been safe to travel “for fun,” I think we can all agree that we've all needed mental health breaks during this pandemic.
Planning a socially distant getaway
In early June, after nearly 3 months of not leaving our house, Elliot and I decided to venture out for a single night away.
We weighed all the pros and cons, took into account different case numbers throughout Ohio, and decided that the risk was low enough if we were responsible about things.
In deciding where we would go, our final destination needed to meet a few criteria:
- Close to home – We didn't want to go too far away for just one night, and wanted to choose somewhere that we could visit with one tank of gas or less to minimize having to stop in communities that weren't our own.
- Secluded – Obviously we didn't want to have to be around a lot of other people.
- Self-contained – We aren't quite ready for hotels just yet, so wanted a spot that was self-contained (ideally with a kitchen so we could avoid having to go out for meals).
In the end, we decided to head to The Mohicans, a popular wedding site near Mohican State Park in central Ohio that has a barn, cabins, and some unique treehouses.
It's only 1.5 hours one-way from our house, is in a sparsely-populated part of Ohio, and everything about staying there was completely contactless. Hence our first post-coronavirus trip was born!
The Mohicans treehouses
I've known about the treehouses at The Mohicans for a while, and have always wanted to stay in one. These are not the treehouses you built with your dad as a kid; these are fully-functioning tiny homes up in the trees, with all the modern amenities you could want.
You may have even seen these on the Animal Planet show “Treehouse Masters,” as the master himself Pete Nelson designed two of the treehouses at The Mohicans.
The Mohicans currently has 8 different treehouses to choose from, with new ones being added almost every year. Each treehouse is unique, but all are luxurious and come complete with real beds, hot-water showers, working kitchens, and even air conditioning.
They sleep anywhere from 2-6 people, but I personally think they are ideal for couples, or maybe smaller families.
Each treehouse at The Mohicans has a unique way to access the cabin up in the trees, along with a fire pit, grilling area, and usually some sort of outdoor patio space to enjoy.
The View treehouse
We stayed in The View, a new treehouse that just opened in 2020. The treehouse has two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows, a small kitchen, a full bathroom (yes, with a real toilet), a lofted bedroom that can sleep up to 4, a private outdoor patio area, and even an outdoor shower!
Take a video tour of The View treehouse here:
Getting to the treehouse was pretty easy, and checking in required no human interaction; we were simply emailed an access code, and entered the treehouse using a keypad on the front door. It doesn't get much more socially distanced than that!
We brought food with us to cook for both dinner and breakfast, and spent the evening chilling in our secluded little home away from home in the trees.
The Mohicans treehouses have all the modern conveniences you could need with one exception: there's no cable or wifi, and the spot is remote enough that you probably won't have cell signal, either. Meaning this is the perfect spot for a digital detox.
You can bring DVDs if you want (there IS a TV and DVD player), or download some shows or movies from Netflix to watch offline on your own laptop or tablet.
Or you can skip all the technology and just enjoy being disconnected for a night.
Would we recommend a treehouse stay?
Short answer: YES.
We felt like this was a perfect socially distanced getaway; we felt super safe, and felt like it was a responsible way to take a break from everything going on.
As someone who doesn't really love “regular” camping, I also appreciated that The Mohicans treehouses are fully equipped and comfortable, yet still nestled in a remote corner of the woods.
The only downside of the treehouse we stayed in was that access to the lofted bedroom was via a pretty steep ladder, meaning this particular treehouse wouldn't be ideal for anyone with mobility issues. There are other treehouses available that have better bedroom access, though, since each one is designed differently.
(All of them require you to climb at least some stairs to reach, though, so keep that in mind!)
How to book a treehouse at The Mohicans
These luxury treehouses come with a pretty premium price tag, but I think it's worth it for a special getaway (the El Castillo treehouse, for example, is often booked as a honeymoon suite for people who get married at the Grand Barn at The Mohicans).
The Mohicans treehouses average $355 per night on weekdays, and $380 per night on weekends. They're pretty popular, too, meaning this is something you definitely need to plan/book ahead for.
Note: We were guests of The Mohicans at The View, but I would absolutely go back and spend my own money to stay at another of these gorgeous treehouses!
Visiting Mohican State Park
Since we were spending a night in the area anyway, we decided to visit nearby Mohican State Park, too.
We didn't know it when we planned our overnight stay, but we ended up being there the first weekend that the Mohican River was open for kayaking/rafting, meaning it was a lot busier in the park than we expected it to be.
Even though Mohican State Park is best-known for its river, we skipped renting kayaks or a canoe because of how busy the rental places were.
Instead, we spent some time visiting some viewpoints, flying the drone around an old fire tower and covered bridge (and yes, Elliot did get permission from the state park to fly), and going on a short hike to see a waterfall.
While the park itself was a bit busy (and virtually no one was wearing a mask), we felt comfortable doing most of these things. But I would love to return sometime in the future when we can do everything without any stress.
Floating the river here is on the next-time list!
As far as a socially-distanced outing goes, this one was pretty good. Leaving the treehouse was actually a little sad; I wanted to stay longer in our little disconnected bubble.
We'll definitely have to go back.
Would you want to stay in a treehouse like this?
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Amanda Williams is the award-winning blogger behind A Dangerous Business Travel Blog. She has traveled to more than 60 countries on 6 continents from her home base in Ohio, specializing in experiential and thoughtful travel through the US, Europe, and rest of the world. Amanda only shares tips based on her personal experiences and places she's actually traveled!