Story and photos by Sharon King Hoge
Additional photos courtesy Trehouse Resort

El Castillo treehouse exterior

Treehouse Resort

I’m checked into a duplex with balconies opening off both the living room and bedroom. Red velvet curtains frame floor length windows which overlook the surrounding woods. Upstairs there’s a king size bed with impeccable linens; in the bathroom a supply of amenities and instant hot water in the roomy shower and an outdoor shower as well.  The living room is furnished with a leather sofa and the kitchen is stocked with a coffee machine, 2-burner stove, microwave oven, and dishes. There’s all the comfort of a luxury suite, -- with one additional feature:  I’m hovering two stories above the ground in an opulent treehouse. 

A cozy corner of the Nest studio treehouse

Located in the heart of central Ohio’s Mohican river locale, the Mohican Treehouse Resort and Wedding Venue houses guests in nine picturesque treehouses, each of a different design.  Inspired by the Discovery Channel’s renowned treehouse designer Pete Nelson, their themes vary from rustic to elegant – with one, the Silver Bullet, an actual elevated shiny metal Airstream trailer. Sampling them, I’ve smiled each time I walk in, delighted by their ingenious and charming designs.  I’ve nestled into the cozy “studio” Nest, gazed out from the glass fronted porch of the corrugated tin View, sipped coffee on the rustic deck of Old Pine, read a novel snuggled into the leather sofa of El Castillo.

El Castillo living Room Every treehouse is entered on a series of wooden ramps and steps, no ladders required except in some of the duplexes with overhead bedrooms.  Below each house Adirondack lawn chairs are circled around a fire pit, with a rope swing dangling from the treehouse floor.  Most of the houses provide space enough for families, and for those with acrophobia there are four auxiliary rustic cabins.

El Castillo compact kitchen

The setting is a charming pre-technological time warp.  Satellite signals can’t reach the remote heavily-wooded location  so there’s no internet and cell service isn’t guaranteed --  although the portable wifi I brought along did function intermittently. Phone call can be placed in locations up near the top of the premises and in lieu of television there is a player for DVD discs.  But there’s a pleasure in being out of the loop, listening to gentle creaks as the wind sways the tree. Taking advantage of the rare silence I caught up on reading, tried some simple cooking, watched squirrels hopping around in the branches beside me, and listened to the plentiful “neighboring” birds.  Each house is supplied with binoculars and an Audubon guide to help identify the chirping feathered companions.  

For those who want activity, there’s plenty to do. The nearby Pleasant Hill Lake and Mohican River constitute Ohio’s #1 outdoor recreational complex. Rafting, canoeing, and hiking trails are plentiful, there’s nearby horseback riding, and a zip line treetop trail just down the road.  Sightseers enjoy driving the riverside scenes of the Wally Road Ohio Byway. The Mohican Beverage Trail features handcrafted beers and almost a dozen wineries offering wines laced with jalapeno and apple infusions. For cultural exploring, this is the gateway to Amish country with craft and furniture stores for shopping and black horse-drawn carriages sharing the road.. Within a half hour’s drive, Berlin is the site of the Amish and Mennonite Heritage Center with displays of crisp white bonnets and historic hymnals and a 360 degree mural chronicling the history of Anabaptist sects.

Amish Dutch apple pie a la mode

While weddings are catered, no food is sold or provided on premises for regular guests.  Nevermind, there are mini-kitchens units in each treehouse and guests are advised to bring along desired snacks and foods.  For those who prefer to dine out, nearby Loudonville has a range of diners and restaurants. Close by villages Shreve, Charm, Millersburg, feature local restaurants offering classic Amish fare – a main course choice of beef, turkey, sausage, ham plus choice of side dishes: creamy potato salad, coleslaw, noodles, red cabbage sauerkraut, applesauce, green salad.  Dessert offerings include date pudding or a choice of up to ten different homemade pies slathered in delicious ice cream from the local dairy farms.  A short drive northwest, the Malabar Inn serves fancy meals near the state park where Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall married at the white frame mansion of Pulitzer Prize novelist Louis Bromfield.

Videos on the website are a guide to selecting a favorite treehouse to book.  Advance reservations are required, availability is best Tuesday through Saturday which doesn’t conflict with weddings.  And the lodges can be booked all winter for cozy accommodation in the snow.  Seventy-five years ago, touring Africa, Elizabeth Windsor happened to be staying in a Kenyan treehouse hotel when she became Queen. These American treehouses are a closer option for modern nature lovers who opt for a royal experience.

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