Staying in a Treehouse at The Mohicans & Gluten-free Adventures in Ohio
There’s something magical about a tree house. Climbing high away from the world and escaping your troubles surrounded by forestry. I’ll admit, I had not been in many tree houses until I got the opportunity to stay at The Mohicans in rustic Glenmont, Ohio.
Located in Amish Country just under 100 miles from Columbus, The Mohicans invites visitors to unplug and restore in a tranquil tree house or cabin. A top-rated wedding venue, 2 tree houses were designed by Tree House Masters’ artist, Pete Nelson. I was thrilled to escape the hustle and bustle of LA and take a trip to the woods with Michael last month. Read on to learn all about our cozy stay in their El Castillo tree house and our delectable dinner by the venue’s own, Chef Drew Slane.
Adventures to the Tree House
As some of you know, it’s a bucket list dream of mine to see all 50 USA states. I’d never given much thought to what I’d do when I made it to Ohio, but staying in a real tree house was definitely not on my mind! After a long journey that began at 4am at LAX, we arrived to the sleeper airport of Columbus. While I’ve heard it’s a fun city, we were eager to see our tree house and headed right to the country. With Walmart about a half hour from The Mohicans in Mount Vernon, we did make a pit stop to grab some necessities and get the lay of the land.
And, that’s when we stumbled upon Fiesta Mexicana. It was Cinco de Mayo, and they were celebrating with combo specials and margaritas. When in Ohio, right? As someone who loves any chance to celebrate with tacos and tequila, this was such a memorable way to begin our trip. While certainly more American than authentic, I appreciated our server immensely as he understood gluten allergies and made extra efforts to keep my plate safe.
Mount Vernon is a great spot to grab all you’ll need during your stay. They also have several locally owned restaurants in addition to “old reliables” like Chipotle, Subway and Ruby Tuesday’s, which has a good gluten-free selection.
Arriving to the El Castillo Tree House
The Mohicans has 6 tree houses along with 4 cabins and their Grand Barn event hall. The brainchild of Kevin Mooney, everything was handcrafted and built by the strong Amish community. I’ll admit I was intrigued to learn about “Amish Country” and what the lifestyle entails. I had the pleasure of meeting Kevin during our visit, and learned some fun facts about contracting with the locals. They still use a horse and buggy to get around, and utilize pay phones instead of cell phones. As very humble individuals, they would never use the term “Amish” or “Amish Country” as a business name. This was interesting to discover as we saw many storefronts bearing such terms.
3 new tree houses are in the works on property and we got to be one of the very first to experience the El Castillo. Their latest honeymoon suite, the El Castillo is a 2 story octagon-shaped bungalow with 100-year old barn siding, cherry ceilings, a spiral black walnut staircase, black walnut floors, and indoor and outdoor showers. The loft bedroom on the 2nd floor has French doors leading out to the balcony directly above a first floor balcony that faces the adjoining bridge leading up to the tree house.
If you’re wondering about its title, El Castillo, it’s my favorite part of this special house. 2 towering exterior windows take up almost the entire length of both floors and gives guests the feeling of being in a castle.
We arrived early evening and I was immediately struck with how silent the grounds were. You truly feel a million miles away from it all. While it’s the way of life out there, it was certainly a bit of culture shock for me.
The beauty of a vacation to The Mohicans is that the best moments are the “lazy” ones.
Home Sweet (Tree) Home
Arriving inside the El Castillo, we felt like we’d been transported into a fairy tale. Despite you’re literally in a tree, the space felt so cozy and immediately made us want to kick back. Space heaters make it easy to warm up quickly, and you’ll have a skillet/hot plate, fridge, microwave and coffee maker.
While no wifi or phone service, there’s a small TV and some DVD’s. We also downloaded some movies and watched on our laptop. The beauty of a vacation to The Mohicans is that the best moments are the “lazy” ones. Mike and I adored just sitting on the couch under a blanket watching Finding Nemo with a glass of wine. The windows surrounding the first floor give gorgeous views of the forest outside your door. Think almost uber glamping.
While each tree house has a different set up and amenities, the El Castillo has both an indoor and outdoor shower. We were so impressed that the water was warmer than some “regular” hotels we’ve stayed in. There was also a hairdryer and small shelf to place your toiletries on.
Our loft bedroom was fit for a king and queen. While compact, it’s large enough to set your suitcase and bags down. We realized that since the bathroom was downstairs, it worked out better to keep the majority of the luggage there.
Dinner with Chef Drew
As I mentioned, The Mohicans is one of the top locations in Ohio to have your wedding. Along with offering tree houses and cabins for the happy couple and guests, The Grand Barn offers ample space for an unforgettable ceremony, in addition to their full catering services and bar. Leading the menu is The Mohicans in-house Chef, Drew Slane.
I was thrilled to enjoy an informal dinner in the kitchen with Chef Drew creating the menu. I was in the best of both worlds as we enjoyed a fabulous meal whipped up before our eyes by the chef himself. A Cleveland native, Drew began his culinary career at Scottsdale Culinary Institute and enjoyed various successes when he returned to the Cleveland area. Kevin was a huge fan of Drew’s food truck, Slanegwiches, which led to him joining The Mohicans as their first in-house chef.
With anywhere from 100 to 150 weddings a year, Slane is definitely comfortable working with any food restrictions. We began with a vegan and gluten-free Thai green curry with Thai red peppers and cauliflower. As Thai food lovers, this was such a great dish for us to begin with. The Thai red peppers certainly add heat, while the crunch of the sautéed cauliflower brought balance.
For our main entrée, Slane pulled out all of the stops with a line-caught red snapper paired with a cilantro puree. As concerns grow with sustainably caught seafood, I was pleased to hear that the chef enlists the assistance of Jacob, his seafood provider, to know exactly what’s coming in and what will be freshest. You could absolutely taste the quality on this plate.
If you’re throwing a wedding, it’s often all about the small plates and light bites. Drew treated us to some extra treats like potato chips fresh out of the oven and morel mushrooms pan-roasted with quinoa. Between their texture and taste, I couldn’t get over how well the mushrooms would work as a meat replacement.
If we were still engaged, an elopement or small wedding at The Mohicans with a meal prepared by Chef Drew would be extremely tempting.
Adventures Nearby The Mohicans
Like several places I’ve visited lately, there’s a ziplining and canopy tour excursion just down the road from The Mohicans! While we didn’t feel daring, we did have an incredible afternoon at Mohicans State Park. The weather was lovely during our visit, so it seemed like a great time to take a hike to Big Lyons Falls, one of the popular trails in the park. Full of mystic and greenery all around, the hike to Big Lyons brought Malibu’s Escondido Falls trail to mind. Great if you have your dogs in tow or the kids as well. The state park is gorgeous and offers 1,100 acres to explore in addition to the 4,525-acres surrounding at Mohican-Memorial State Forest. In addition to several hike and bike trails, you can also camp.
Several small towns are also nearby. Loudonville is about 10 miles from The Mohicans and has beautiful brick buildings and small town shops in their village. While restaurants offering gluten-free fare is a bit scarce in these parts, you’re not far from Mount Vernon when in Loudonville. With everything you need to cook in your tree house, you can also grab food to cook at Walmart or Kroger.
If you’re flying into Ohio to experience The Mohicans, I highly recommend renting a car. Getting a taxi or Lyft may be difficult, and you’ll want to easily access activities like the state parks.
Plan Your Stay (or Event) at The Mohicans
The Mohicans books up fast for their weddings. If you’re in the midst of deciding where you’ll say “I Do”, I highly recommend this one-of-a kind wedding experience be on your radar. If you’re looking for an extremely different getaway either with your significant other or girlfriends, The Mohicans is ideal. I will be honest: I may not have enjoyed this visit as much had I decided to go solo. It’s definitely for a celebration or with your loved ones. It’s also a terrific getaway should you be looking to un-plug. That’s something I highly struggle with in our day and age. With no service (most likely) at your tree house or cabin, it really encouraged me to enjoy the moment. Most of us have lived in a world pre-cell phones and social media. It was nice to be reminded of this during our visit.
That being said, the dock at the lake adjacent from the Mohicans sign, overlooking the lake, does have some service should you absolutely need to check your email.
Learn more about The Mohicans HERE and plan your trip to stay in a real tree house! xo
(*Disclosure: I was a guest of The Mohicans on behalf of article purposes. All opinions are my own and a huge thank you to The Mohicans for their hospitality!)