2021 has seen people taking a different approach to their vacations. While some travel restrictions have been lifted, they come with a list of requirements that can be cumbersome to meet, and in many cases, travellers themselves aren’t yet ready to sit in a confined space with strangers for hours at end. And with Europe and Asia not on the travel menu, and many US-Canada border closures still in place, many have jumped at the chance to explore destinations within a driving distance from home.
As a result, bookings for sites such as those on campgrounds have nearly doubled, where fresh air isn’t at a premium, and you’re not sharing your space with anyone else. But for those who are interested in the get-away-from-it-all factor, but don’t want to completely give up their creature comforts, there is glamping.
As you may be able to guess from the name, glamping is a combination of “glamorous” and “camping”. And glamping experiences are not just restricted to a tent furnished with luxuries, with examples such as Toms Creek Nature Domes, to spending your trip in a yurt, such as the one at Foxfire Heritage Farm in Powassan, Ontario.
For the uninitiated, a yurt is a portable, round tent covered with skins or felt and used as a dwelling by several distinct nomadic groups in the Central Asia. The structure consists of an angled assembly or latticework of wood or bamboo for walls, a door frame, ribs (poles, rafters), and a wheel for the roof structure.
In North America, yurts are built to withstand extreme weather conditions, and as such, are built to be a more permanent structure than the ones they are inspired from. What makes yurts ideal for this region is how the round shape retains the heat in the winter, or keeps the space cool in the summer.
Double the Yurt, Double the Fun
This double yurt was built by the owners of Foxfire Heritage Farm, who have also received the Northern Ontario Spark tourism award after taking part in a Dragons' Den-like competition!
Visitors of the yurt are welcome to explore the 100-acre working heritage farm in a respectful way, as well as explore the 50 acres of woodland trails in the forest also on the property. Farm co-owner Mattimus Larivee and his family can be seen working around the farm and are always willing to answer any questions you may have, and making sure you are comfortable during your stay.
The unique structure of this yurt means it is very comfortable inside, with a double bed, and 2 sofas that can also be converted to sleep 3 more people, as well as a dining table that seats 4. The yurt has its own private and very clean outhouse, as well as a propane BBQ and tools, and provided with cleaning supplies as well – everything has been thought of! There is no running water or electricity (this is a camping experience after all), but visitors are provided with water and a power pack to light up the fairy lights at night, and charge any devices. Guests in the winter can use the woodstove to stay warm and for some light cooking.
Now, imagine waking up in the morning to the sound of the rooster crowing, exiting your yurt to the sight of cows crazing in the distance, and hens scratching and clucking in their coop – and the very friendly farm dog running up the hill towards you. It’s like living a scene right out of Enid Blyton’s Willow Farm series! Or bundling up in the evenings and toasting marshmallows for your s’mores in front of the crackling campfire, to further relax before you head into the yurt for bed. Ahhh…bliss.
Shop Local, Support Local
But that’s not all! Foxfire Heritage Farms is situated in a community of farms, many of which participate in The Great Powassan & Area Farmstand Tour. This growing collection of farmers set up their stands at their farms to allow locals to buy their goods, and the active Facebook group serves as a marketplace where the farmers can let the public know what is available. (Psst…this is also a great way to support local businesses AND reduce the number of items you need to pack with you for your yurt stay).
Also on the Farmstand Tour map is Bella Hill Maple syrup – the makers of award winning pure Canadian wood-fired maple syrup! The owners, Dan and Lori Costello are more than happy to provide a tour of their sugarshack where the maple magic happens as well as of the sugarbush as well, where the maple is tapped! Calling ahead is recommended to make sure you’re able to get a tour. Both Dan and Lori are very knowledgeable not only just about the maple syrup process, but also about their neighbours in the sugarbush, including deer, bears, woodpeckers and the like!
Try their award-winning maple syrup, pick up a bottle of the delicious Wild Blueberry Maple Syrup, or any of their many other maple products.