Writer's treehouse stay doesn't disappoint

A new treehouse is sitting high above the valley at The Mohicans cabins and event center near Loudonville in north-central Ohio.

I was recently among the first to overnight in the Old Pine Treehouse – the third constructed by Kevin and Laura Mooney on their 75 wooded acres near the Holmes-Ashland county line.

The first two, the White Oak and Brew Haus treehouses, were designed by Pete Nelson of cable TV's "Treehouse Masters" fame. Nelson builds residential treehouses in some of the world's most exotic settings. Construction of the Brew Haus was featured in an episode of the show.

A local Amish workman took a page from Nelson's book to design and build the base platform of the Old Pine Treehouse. Laura Mooney laid out the interior herself.

Unlike the first two sky-high cabins, Old Pine is fashioned of re-purposed wood and materials collected by the Mooneys over time.

"Re-purposed just makes sense and reduces landfill waste," Laura said. "It looks beautiful, has character and costs less."

An old barn in Ashtabula County and another near Edinboro University in Pennsylvania were the sources of beams and exterior siding for the treehouse.

"The college wrestling team helped Kevin dismantle the barn," Laura said.

Rustic interior paneling was scrapped from a neighbor's trailer, along with the cherry bathroom door, kitchen cabinet doors and countertops. The windows came from a demolished house in nearby Danville.

"My Amish friends in Danville did the sewing of my upholstery," Laura added.

I wasn't sure what to expect during a late November stay. But given the quality build of the two previous treehouses, I was sure the Old Pine would be sturdy and comfy.

I wasn't disappointed.

It was a good 10-minute trek through the woods to reach steps that led to a swinging walkway and the Old Pine.

Downstairs and loft bedrooms sleep up to four adults. There's an indoor toilet and shower, as well as an outdoor shower for warm weather bathing. Front and back porches overlook the forest and wildlife below.  

The Old Pine's absolute best feature is the wide picture window in the downstairs bedroom. It's right next to the bed, providing a panoramic view of the woods as the sun comes up.

I worried about sleeping high in the treetops on a 30-degree night. But an electric heater kept the interior toasty warm.

Old Pine's kitchen is equipped with a microwave, coffee maker and two-burner hot plate. We took "nuk-able" dinners and snacks – as well as a supply of DVDs.

Getting away from it all means no television or cell phone service at The Mohicans. Entertainment is walking in the woods, fishing in the resort pond or watching DVDs on the Old Pine's flat screen.

This is a place to savor peace and quiet.

Laura said additional treehouses – including more fashioned of re-purposed materials – are in The Mohican's future.

"Our goal is to have a complete village of unique and beautiful treehouses," she said.

Nightly in-season rental rates for the Old Pine are $290 weekends and $250 weekdays. Rates are discounted in winter.

Rates for the White Oak (six person) and Brew Haus (two person) treehouses run $150 to $490, depending on the season and day.

Details are available online at themohicancabins.com or by calling 440-799-3419.

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