Story by Kathryn Reed
Yurts have been around for centuries, but until recently, if you wanted to sleep in one, you’d have to book a ticket to the Mongolian steppe. Fortunately for you wannabe globe trekkers, yurts are popping up all over North America. These round, cloth-walled homes have suddenly become stylish, replacing the tried-and-true L.L. Bean three-poled tent for many an outdoorsman.
And there’s a good reason for that: Yurts are cozy, comfortable and easy to maintain. These smart structures nestle easily into the woods of Maine. Cheaper than cabins and sturdier than tents, they’re a good option for off-season camping, when the wind chill dips lower than your fleece-lined jeans can handle and the autumn air threatens to shift unannounced into winter. But don’t let the cooling temperatures chase you indoors for good. This fall, indulge your wanderlust – and squeeze in a little early-morning leaf peeping – by spending the night sawing logs in one of these seven yurts.
34 Farnsworth Road, Brownfield. 207-935-3243. frostmountainyurts.com
“Many of our guests come with the intention of hiking, but become so relaxed they have no desire to leave the yurt,” enthuses Erika Fagan of Frost Mountain Yurts. On their private property, Erika and Patrick Fagan have four yurts for rent, as well as a network of trails perfect for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. If you’re feeling intrepid, take a day hike up to the top of Frost Mountain and soak up the sights of the nearby White Mountains.
Rates: $105 – $140, depending on season; pets allowed with additional charge.
430 Auburn-Pownal Road, Durham. 207-400-5956. maineforestyurts.com
A quick 30-minute drive from Portland can transport you to the magical world of Maine Forest Yurts. These beautifully outfitted yurts are located on a 100-acre property on the shore of Round Pound owned by the Crowley Family (you might know Bob Crowley as the winner of the reality television show Survivor). The Crowleys now run a sweet little retreat, where wildlife abounds and visitors can hike, paddle, fish, or even ice skate, in relative seclusion.
Rates: $125 per night, children sleep free.
77 Warren Road, Denmark. 855-207-7367. ntnretreats.com
Get your “om” on at the Nurture Through Nature retreat center, where visitors can participate in guided meditation, yoga classes and spend restorative time in the on-site sauna. The property boasts several cabins alongside two cute yurts, all of which are available for weeklong rentals and for eco-retreats. Each yurt sleeps up to three people, so bigger groups might want to opt for a cabin.
Rates: $109 to $120, two night minimum.
200 Seal Cove Road, Southwest Harbor. acadiayurts.com
Mount Desert Island is hopping in the summer with the cruise ships and tourists and all, but we think this famous island is even lovelier in the fall. Escape to Acadia for a weekend of stylish camping in one of four fully equipped yurts. You’ll sleep like a baby on the queen bed under a cheerful quilt before enjoying a hot shower and a home-cooked breakfast (a stocked kitchen makes cooking a cinch). For an additional fee, you can also sign up for a private yoga session or an in-yurt massage, provided by owner Karen.
Rates: $650 to $975 per week.
874 Halldale Road, Montville. 207-382-6324. gooseridgeyurts.com
You’ll feel like you’re miles away from civilization at Goose Ridge Yurts, located in the rolling mountains of midcoast Maine. However, just a half hour drive takes you from rugged forestland to the happening little city of Belfast. Spend your day exploring the miles of trails, taking a late-season dip at the nearby Freedom Pond, or grabbing grub at the Lost Kitchen before climbing into bed and basking in the warmth of the woodstove.
Rates: $80 per night for a one-night stay (two adults); $65 per night for a two-night stay (lower rates available for longer visits).
119 Mountain Road, Bridgton. 647-8444. shawneepeak.com
Start your morning right by waking up on top of a mountain in the Northridge Yurt, which boasts a wonderful view and easy access to numerous hiking trails. The yurt sleeps four comfortably in double bunk beds, making it a great choice for a small group (or a particularly cool bachelorette party). Basic kitchen amenities and washing water is provided, but if you want any special luxuries, you’ll have to hike them in yourself.
Rates: Discounted rate of $150 per night between August 1 and October 1.
281 Birches Road, Rockwood. 800-825-9453. www.thebirchescampground.com
Listen to the moose bellow from the comforts of your remote wilderness yurt near the shores of Moosehead Lake. Part of The Birches resort, these yurts are rather rugged compared to some of the other “glamping” sites. The comfy tents can be accessed via cross-country ski trail and bold outdoorsmen have the option of skiing from one remote location to the next. Each yurt is equipped with a wood stove, gaslights, bunk beds, a futon, a table and benches. Because of the secluded location, daylight arrival is mandatory for a stay at the rustic abode.
Rates: Call for rates.