Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A different kind of refuge

Although I live in a regular house now, there was a time when my husband and I considered buying a yurt. A what? A yurt. Some of you may have heard of them and they have become quite the fad in vacationing retreats. Originally used by Central Asian nomads, this semi-permanent tent is a very comfortable but simple option to a traditional house. Very efficient on heat and keeps quite cool in the summer, it is affordable and can be built in a week or less. The only drawback is the financing. It is extremely difficult to get a home loan for a yurt and many insurance companies will not cover it. Yet, someone who owns a piece of land and has a chunk of cash stashed away in their mattress ($15000+) can buy themselves a humble home or vacation retreat.

The base models only cover the basics but there are yurts with amazing sunroofs and add on wings for more space. Years ago we talked to a yurt owner in Maine who only spent about $200 on wood per year to heat his family and said all they needed to keep it cool in the summer was the ceiling fan or simply opening up the windows.

Yurts have been around for a long time but it is only recently that many popular hiking and outdoor retreats are offering stays in yurts as an option to their regular camping or lodges. It is quite affordable to them and it provides the tourist an experience like no other. The canvas walls offer a closeness to nature that is hard to find in anything other than a tent. I must admit, the thought of constantly hearing every cricket and coyote in a ten mile radius was not all that appealing to me. As much as I am a child of nature, I do enjoy complete silence from time to time. However, I am hoping to own one in the not so far off future to be used as a studio and guest house or just a secondary home for us.

Here is a list of some of the best quality yurt manufacturers as well as a few of the many vacation retreats using yurts.

Colorado Yurt
Rainer Yurts
Pacific Yurts- a favorite of mine
Mindful Yurts- a little more luxurious in wood

Snohomish parks, WA
American River, CA
The Montana Dinner Yurt
Rocky Mountains
Naha Bay Alaska
Flagstaff, AZ
Brownfield, ME
Catskill Mountains, NY
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada

Fun Yurt resource:
Living in the round


  1. My husband really wants a yurt. I have a friend who runs a moutnain bike camp in Maine (Back Country Excursions) and his yurt is pretty cool - I stayed once during a windy, windy night and it was great- like being outside, but inside.

  2. I have never heard of a yurt, but am very intrigued by them! That is right up my alley.

  3. That was very interesting... I had never heard about yurts before... I have to say I love the idea of alternative housing like yurt, boat,caravan, but i don't know if I would miss some commodities in there! :O)

  4. Most yurts have all the commodities a modern house has. The vacation ones are very simple, more like a tent with regular beds, but the home yurts are really luxurious if you choose some of the add ons. I want one so bad!

  5. I think that would make an AMAZING studio space!! I've never heard of them. Very interesting concept.

    Emiko :)

  6. If you haven't already found it, Little House on a Small Planet is a great book and you might enjoy it. It definitely inspired me to embrace our 900 square foot house ;)