We have another guest blogger for this entry. Below, Melissa Little tells her ‘yurt story’, which has direct ties to a previous guest blogger from April of 2011, Rosa Lee. We hope you enjoy reading Melissa’s story and consider renting one of her beautiful yurt rentals.
This is the story of Sky Ridge Yurts and Pacific Yurts is a big, big part of the story. My name is Melissa, and like most people who hear the word “yurt” for the first time, I had to ask what it was. It was my mother, Rosa, who explained it all to me, and it was her now friend Pete from Pacific Yurts that explained it to her. You see, my mother lives in a Pacific Yurt full time, and she made us help her put it up because the directions said she’d need some help. Always a little on the strange side, we were used to helping with her crazy ideas – no questions asked, no matter how ridiculous the idea seemed. So we all shook our heads as she built the little round deck and waited for her package to arrive from Oregon.
On day one of “Yurt Weekend,” we all thought it was interesting to watch the frame start to take shape. By the end of the day, even the best of skeptics – including me – were getting pretty excited to see this thing come together. By day two, no one thought she was crazy anymore and were secretly trying to figure out how we could all drop our mortgages and build our own yurts. By day three, I remember saying to my mom, “people would pay to stay in these.” And that’s when the talk about building several in the North Carolina mountains to rent as vacation homes started in earnest. We looked around, priced it out, and it was all pretty reasonable – until my husband burst the bubble. Who’d manage it, he’d said. So we tabled it and just got our yurt fix through dinner with mom every week.
Fast forward several years, and everything changed.
My professional cyclist husband rode off into the sunrise the morning of St. Patrick’s Day in 2010, and everything seemed to stop with his death. He was gone, and with him my best friend, my children’s father, my partner and my provider. But, dust settles with any tragedy, and soon things went back to what I now call “the new normal.” Everything was pretty much the same, except one thing. It was my turn to provide for the family. But how? I took a road trip across the United States to clear my head; starting in Alaska and traveling back to North Carolina. And I noticed something…. there were yurts over there. They were in Washington, in Oregon, in California, in Utah, in Colorado, in Arizona. In every major camping tourist area you could find a yurt. And every one of them that I saw had the Pacific Yurts label.
The closer I got to home, the fewer and farther between the yurts were. I decided something: The yurt wave was headed east, and I was bound and determined to get ahead of it. It was time to start the yurt rental business, and, to answer my late husband’s question; I was going to be the one to manage it.
There was always a lot of talk and consideration of where to do this new yurt venture, but there was never any doubt who I would use to provide the yurts. That was the easy part. The group at Pacific Yurts were friendly and helpful, from the planning stages to the packaging and shipment. They answered all of my questions, offered advice, and were quick to make suggestions that might make things easier or better. They even picked up my slack many times (thanks Candace!) when I had forgotten to take floor plans or product specifics to contractor meetings, and they were always happy to help the local county inspectors better understand that yurts actually do meet or exceed most building codes. The hardest part about the whole process really was worrying about how we were going to get the yurts up the mountainside safely, and even that wasn’t worth the worry. Pete and the guys at Pacific Yurts packed them up so securely that it was like receiving six perfectly wrapped giant Christmas gifts. Pacific Yurts’ staff even helped me target and estimate a delivery date of July 4th so I could utilize my friends’ help over the long weekend.
And about that help…well, as my mother explained to me years before, the instruction book says that with a little help from your friends, you can have your yurt up in about two days time. So I called in some help, and a lot of it. My husband’s cycling team came out in force, and we started erecting the first yurt on a Friday late afternoon – my mom at the helm, armed with her instruction book. We had six tall lanky competitive cyclists positioned on ladders and scaffolding all around the perimeter, waiting on her direction. With the drive to “race” my cycling friends have inherent in them, and my mother’s strive for perfection, we had all three yurts up and complete in just under 17 hours. That’s got to be a yurt world record, right? Pacific Yurts sees to it that their products go together like a dream. The whole process was so systematic and seamless. Every piece fit just exactly where it was supposed to, every direction they gave us was clear and concise, every person helping in the process knew just exactly what they were supposed to do after a simple glance at the instruction page. Neighbors came by and were astonished that in a few short hours, these structures were up and done and so unique. When friends left they were discussing the idea of taking their yurt erection services on the road for other yurt owners because of the fun they had doing it (even in the sweltering 100+ degree heat). My nearest neighbor even removed his official protest from the county once he saw the quality and craftsmanship of what he used to call “ those damn tents”. Now he brags about them to the locals.
I’ll admit, there was a lot of work left to do after that long yurt weekend to finish out the interiors, but I haven’t felt such a sense of satisfaction as I did that night when the group had just finished putting up the last yurt and were sitting around the campfire, exhausted, but so happy at what had transpired that weekend. The whole scene really did look like a Pacific Yurts advertisement on how to erect a yurt, how easy it would be, and how good it would make everyone involved feel. Later that night a kayaker who had lost his way trying find his campground showed up at our brand new “yurt village” asking for help. We told him how to find where he needed to go. He thanked us, and just before he got into his car, he turned and asked “can’t I just rent one of these? They’re awesome!” …Success.
Fast forward again and Sky Ridge Yurts is going into its second season of vacation rentals. We’ve done no real advertising other than Facebook, word of mouth and our website, but people somehow still find us anyway. Nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains, just minutes from North Carolina’s whitewater rafting Mecca, we get a lot of folks just looking for a place to stay. Most of them have no idea what a yurt is when they book their stay, but it never gets old to receive the phone call upon check-in and hear the astonishment in their voices at seeing the yurt for the first time. When they leave somehow a cabin or hotel room just won’t do for vacation anymore. A Pacific Yurt has blown them out of the water.