You read that correctly: we now own a yurt! Even though we no longer live on the road, we will always be a bit feral. All this to say, our version of “settling down” fits a life less ordinary, which is why we now own a cabin AND a yurt in Healy, Alaska! We purchased our yurt in August 2021, coincidentally enough, exactly 2 years after we bought our log cabin.
Some may be scratching their heads as to WHY we would do such a thing. Long-time blog readers and friends in real life might be familiar with our obsession of yurts. Ever since we first stayed in one in Maine in 2009, and then another in New Hampshire in 2010, we’ve been hooked. We were fascinated by their simplicity, ingenuity and one-of-a-kind novelty. Anytime during our nomadic years when we considered settling down again, we often targeted yurts and/or properties where we could build a yurt as the only possibilities.
Door-to-door, it exactly .29 miles from our cabin, a 5-minute walk. Back when we purchased the cabin in 2019, the yurt was under construction on a 1-acre lot, and we thought, hmmmmmmmmmm. As if our path was paved in four-leaf clover, to have a yurt for sale in our neighborhood seemed like kismet.
Yurt may be an unfamiliar term for some people, although there is an emoji, so it can’t be that unknown! Yurt dwellings date back in history to the nomadic people of Mongolia. Yurts were easy to transport, but more durable than other portable tents, as they were made of wool stretched over a wooden circular frame. They’ve evolved over time, and these days, yurts make appealing glamping mainstays, yoga studios, retail shops, overflow restaurant seating and more. Additionally, there are a dizzying number of companies that make yurts, compared with only a handful from 10 years ago.
We have a Freedom Yurt Cabin. It is still rounded, but the walls are wooden. There are 15 insulated wood panels connected by lodgepole pines and 4 large double-pane windows. The roof is wooden, covered by polyester canvas with the dome window crowing the top. Our neighbor is the one who built it, and he actually built a few others all at the same time.
As for the second part as to “WHY DID YOU BUY A YURT??” A lot of people know we’ve worked in the hospitality business over the years managing other people’s properties. It was purposeful and intentional to work in that industry, as we enjoy it and we’ve always intended to acquire rental income properties. The growing popularity of national parks and the changing demographics of Alaska visitors makes Healy a prime place for investment.
Not for nothing, we also really wanted guest space! We know we will have MANY visitors over the years, and because our cabin is only 300 square feet, the few we’ve had so far have stayed in our shed, in our camper (before we sold it this summer) and in their own vehicles in our driveway. Our visiting friends Mac & Alex were our first official visitors in September 2021, and actually slept in our yurt in before we did (thanks Mac for the drone shots!)
When we purchased the yurt in August, we had a short list of things we had to do before the ground froze and the snow fell, knowing we had all winter to get the interior the way we wanted. Well, we didn’t quite succeed since end-of-summer life was so crazy and bad weather started in mid-September, which is why the outhouse is still sitting in the yurt driveway. We picked up the used outhouse from a local campground that has been closed the last few years, paid someone to dig the hole for the outhouse, spread gravel and created a path to the outhouse, moved it from our cabin driveway to the yurt driveway, but it will not be in its proper place until the spring. On a side note, how many people can say they loaded an outhouse into their truck TWICE?
We’ve spent the last 2 months getting the interior decorated and nearly fully furnished. It’s been a slow process, as we’re trying not to succumb to consumerism and buy everything new. Instead we were deliberate in sourcing what we currently owned (lots of gems found from our storage unit we purged this summer), as well as buying and scavenging secondhand items from others to repurpose. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, especially in Alaska!!! That being said, the bed mattress and bedding is brand-new, as is the moose/bear rug. Getting Justin to agree to the brand-new rug was a battle … so hopefully I don’t eat my words when someone spills grape juice all over it.
We’re not super creative or handy, but we are particularly proud of our front entranceway seating area/bedframe. Rounded walls do make it difficult to lay out furniture and space. Specifically, we wanted the bed on the wall without the windows (mitigating the midnight sun with more than just curtains). However that meant the bed would be right near the front door. So we tried our hardest to create a “mud area” entrance and room divider from the sleeping area, so the bed is not the first thing you see when you walk in. I love how it turned out!! A handyman built the bench/room divider from recycled wood, we added the door knobs were from our old house in Virginia (so from the early 1900s) and put old skis we collected on the backside.
So yes! Our yurt will be open for visitors in the summer of 2022. We will be listing it for rent on Airbnb hopefully by the beginning of 2022, but of course, we can block off dates for friends and family!!! And friends & family only have to pay double the price 😉
Oh, and I suppose I should mention … YES, the yurt has electricity (and will have WiFi). NO, there is no shower or toilet. We plan to have some sort of pioneer water system for dish washing, but we are giving you the full Alaskan experience with the outhouse. The yurt is actually 87 square feet bigger with a much nicer kitchen than our cabin!
And now for the fun part. Can you weigh in on the name for our yurt?? My thought is to relate it to something Alaskan, but we’re not feeling 100% about any name right now. Please share new ideas, but also tell us which one speaks to you from our list!
Alaskan Themed Names: Spruce Yurt – Raven’s Yurt – Moose Yurt – Grizzly Yurt – Willow Yurt – Blueberry Yurt – Snowshoe Hare Yurt
Less “Alaska” themed names: Yurt Bliss – Dream Big – Yurtopia – Magic Yurt