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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Try It: Glamping at White Oak Treehouse

Raise your hand if you've always wanted to spend the night in a treehouse.

I'm no camping expert, but I love the idea of spending time in the wilderness ever since I read My Side of the Mountain (Puffin Modern Classics). So when our first camping trips with the boys went well last summer, we decided to up our game a little and try glamping. (For those who don't know that's a portmanteau of "camping" and "glamour.")

Our first choice was The Mohicans in Ohio because of their incredible treehouses. As soon as I saw the images online of Little Red and White Oak, I knew we had to do this. We made our reservations and in early April we left Pittsburgh on a rainy afternoon for our first night in the treehouse.

White Oak is one of the treehouses featured on Tree House Masters.

It was a smart decision to rent a four-wheel drive vehicle on the recommendation of the owners because the roads to the property are unpaved and rough. After a seriously bumpy, muddy ride we pulled up in the late evening and the boys leapt out of the SUV and rushed down the path. Any nearby wildlife were surely scared away by their screams of delight.

We entered White Oak by the back doors and the boys scrambled around the treehouse exploring every nook and cranny and climbing the ladder to their sleeping loft a minimum of ten times each.

Going Up

Chilling in the treehouse 

After a picnic-style dinner we somehow got them settled into bed and asleep. My husband and I relaxed on the enormous queen bed in the first floor bedroom and prepared for an early morning. Our kids are never late sleepers but we knew the excitement of the treehouse would have them up extra early. We weren't wrong. They tried to be quiet and whisper but there is no way three boys can be that quiet in a wooden treehouse.
Sunrise over the Mohican Valley
We were up in time to see the sunrise! It really was magical. Note the gorgeously twisted grapevine railing that surrounds the wrap-around deck of White Oak. The rain of the day before was gone and Saturday started gorgeously clear. The boys could not wait to go outside and explore so while we made breakfast in the kitchenette, they tromped through the woods. This early in spring, nothing was really growing so it was easy to keep an eye on them. They were dressed warm and I loved hearing them shout and laugh as I sipped my morning coffee. Again, magical. I joined them for a little exploring and snapped this photo from the hillside.

White Oak
We went on two more hikes that day, exploring the area around White Oak treehouse and then visiting some of the highlights of the Mohican Valley. We visited the nearby covered bridge and Lyons Falls in the state park. There were numerous other outdoor activity businesses, but we were there too early in the season to enjoy them. Next time we visit the treehouses, I'm sure the canoeing and canopy zip-lines would be top choices.

The treehouse had a television for playing DVDs, but instead of vegging out with a movie we finished Saturday evening with a family board game marathon. We started with Chicks Go Boom for some excitement then moved on to a few rounds of Zingo. Next came LCR and then the cooperative game Forbidden Island. They had so much fun that when we woke up the next morning the older boys had Settlers of Catan all ready to go!

It was wonderful to have the indoor bathroom and the kitchenette. The beds were so comfortable and the radiant heat floors and space heaters kept the treehouse at a perfect temperature. It was also incredibly clean in the treehouse. Not that I can't handle a little dirt when we're out in the wilderness, but this was a glamping experience and it really felt like the best of both worlds. It felt glamourous.

We took our time on the way home and explored a little bit of Amish country. The amazing cheese place we wanted to visit was closed but we enjoyed a surprise stop at the Swiss/Austrian/German themed Chalet in the Valley for Easter Brunch. After brunch we took a swing by the World's Largest Cuckoo Clock in "Little Switzerland in Ohio." All in all the visit was incredible. It was relaxing, fun, exciting, and absolutely memorable. The boys did not want to leave and my husband and I agree!

Treehouse Master ;)
If you want to live in a treehouse for a few nights, make your plans early! They get booked up really, really fast.

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