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In a normal year my summer would be filled with travel and work projects; Last summer alone, I went on a road trip through Scotland, sailed on a river cruise on the Danube, went to Calgary Stampede, introduced my sister in London and went on a safari in Kenya and Tanzania.
However, my summer will be very different in 2020. Instead of booking flights and hotels, I canceled every planned trip. Instead of exploring new cities, I walked the same route through my neighborhood whenever the weather allowed it. And instead of trying new foods in restaurants and cafes, I’m getting to know the take-out menus of my local restaurants.
This is certainly not the summer I originally imagined, but it is the summer I had – that we all had.
And although I was very careful to encourage travel at a time when it was not safe to travel “for fun”, we can all agree that we all needed mental health breaks during this pandemic.
Plan a socially distant vacation
In early June, after Elliot and I had not left our house for almost three months, we decided to go for a single night.
We weighed all the pros and cons, considered different numbers of cases across Ohio, and found that the risk is small enough when we’re responsible for things.
When deciding where to go, our ultimate goal had to meet some criteria:
- Near home – We didn’t just want to go too far away for one night and choose a place we could visit with one tank of fuel or less to minimize the need to stop in communities that weren’t our own.
- Secluded – Obviously we didn’t want to have to be with many other people.
- Self-contained – We’re not quite ready for hotels yet, so we wanted an independent place (ideally with a kitchen so we don’t have to eat).
In the end, we chose The Mohicans, a popular wedding location near Mohican State Park in central Ohio, which has a barn, cabins, and some unique tree houses.
It is only 1.5 hours from our home, is in a sparsely populated part of Ohio and everything related to staying there was completely contactless. So our first trip to the corona virus was born!
The Mohican tree houses
I’ve known the tree houses at Mohicans for a while and always wanted to stay in one. These are not the tree houses that you built as a child with your father. These are fully functional small houses in the trees, with all the modern amenities you could want.
Perhaps you even saw them on the Animal Planet show “Treehouse Masters” when the master Pete Nelson designed two of the tree houses at The Mohicans.
The Mohicans currently have 8 different tree houses to choose from, with new ones added almost every year. Each tree house is unique, but all are luxurious and have real beds, hot water showers, work kitchens, and even air conditioning.
They sleep between 2 and 6 people, but I personally think they are ideal for couples or maybe smaller families.
Each tree house at The Mohicans offers a unique way to access the hut in the trees, as well as a fire pit, a BBQ area and usually some kind of outdoor terrace.
The View tree house
We stayed in The viewThe tree house has two walls with floor-to-ceiling windows, a small kitchen, a full bathroom (yes, with a real toilet) and a loft bedroom for up to 4 people, private outdoor terrace area and even an outdoor shower!
Take a video tour of The View tree house here:
Reaching the tree house was fairly easy, and checking in did not require human interaction. We simply received an email with an access code and entered the tree house using a keyboard on the front door. It doesn’t get more socially distant!
We brought dinner and breakfast with us and spent the evening in our secluded little home in the trees.
The Mohawk tree houses have all the modern conveniences you might need, with one exception: there is no cable or WiFi, and the place is so far away that you probably won’t have a cell signal either. This is the perfect place for digital detoxification.
You can bring DVDs if you want (there is a TV and DVD player), or download some Netflix shows or movies to watch offline on your own laptop or tablet.
Or you can skip all the technology and just disconnect for one night.
Would we recommend a tree house stay?
Short answer: YES.
We felt that this was a perfect socially distant short break. We felt super safe and felt like a responsible way to take a break from everything that’s going on.
As someone who doesn’t really love “normal” camping, I also appreciated that the Mohicans’ tree houses are fully equipped and comfortable, yet are located in a remote corner of the forest.
The only downside to the tree house we stayed in was that access to the loft bedroom was via a fairly steep ladder, which means that this tree house is not suitable for people with mobility problems. However, there are other tree houses that have better access to the bedroom, as each one is designed differently.
(All of them require you to climb at least a few steps to reach them, so keep that in mind!)
How to book a tree house at The Mohicans
These luxurious tree houses are pretty expensive, but I think it’s worth a short break (the El Castillo tree house, for example, is often booked as a honeymoon suite for people getting married at The Mohicans’ Grand Barn). .
Mohicans tree houses average $ 355 a night on weekdays and $ 380 a night on weekends. They are also very popular, which means that you absolutely have to plan / book this in advance.
Note: We were guests of The Mohicans at The View, but I would definitely go back and spend my own money to stay in another of these beautiful tree houses!
Read reviews on TripAdvisor Book online here
Visit to the Mohican State Park
Since we were spending a night in the area anyway, we decided to also visit the nearby Mohican State Park.
We didn’t know when we were planning our overnight stay, but we were there the first weekend when the Mohican River was open for kayaking / rafting, which meant that the park was a lot busier than we expected.
Although Mohican State Park is best known for its river, we skipped kayak or canoe rentals because the rental spots were full.
Instead, we spent some time visiting some viewpoints, flying the drone around an old fire tower and a covered bridge (and yes, Elliot got permission to fly from the State Park) and took a short hike to see a waterfall.
While the park itself was a bit busy (and practically no one was wearing a mask), we felt comfortable doing most of these things. But I would like to go back sometime in the future if we can do everything without stress.
The river’s swim here is on the next list!
As for a socially distant outing, it was pretty good. Leaving the tree house was actually a bit sad; I wanted to stay in our little, unconnected bubble for longer.
We definitely have to go back.
Would you like to stay in such a tree house?
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