• Laura Ventresco

Adirondack Yurt Birthday Weekend

Updated: Mar 30, 2018

Ohhhh number 26. What better way to spend a birthday than to drive to the High Peaks of Upstate New York and sleep in a yurt?

I was thinking the same thing.

I am a firm believer that birthdays are a big deal. They should always be celebrated and celebrated big. It's really important to take that extra day off from work, get away for the weekend, and enjoy the good parts of life. Do whatever floats your boat. It is your birthday after all. For me? That means all sorts of adventure, mountains, hiking, whiskey, and eating alllll kinds of delicious food with partner in crime. This weekend I am positive, will go down in Laura history as one of the most magical weekends ever.

& I can't wait to tell you all about it.

The Yurt at Blue Pepper Farm; Jay, NY

This location is just brilliant.

I have always wanted to stay in a yurt (Bucketlist, check!). It is dog friendly, AND they don't charge a pet fee like every other single dog friendly hotel in the world. It also just feels great to support a local farming family versus giant hotel corporation. It was also very affordable ($50 a night). So affordable that we could swing it to come up one night early. We drove up late Thursday night after work, so that we could wake up on Friday (my actual birthday) already here, living yurt life in the mountains. Best plan ever.

Added bonus about this location- no WIFI, no television, no running water. Since both John and I's job involve staring at a computer screen M-F for 40 hours a week, it's very refreshing for the soul to unplug from technology for the weekend. Go wild, for a while.

Even our ride here was an adventure of sorts:

  1. We played a claw machine at a random Denny's- Won 2 teddy bears for the dogs

  2. Potentially saw a UFO in the farm fields of Vermont

  3. Our GPS tried to take us on the Ferry into NY... Lake is still partially frozen, and the Ferry is not running at 11pm at night

  4. Were lucky enough to witness 2 deer crossing the street

& Then lastly, we arrived to our yurt late. Greeted by a glorious sky full of stars.

The owner's of the yurt had started the fire for us ahead of time. A much appreciated courtesy so that it would be partially warm already, and really easy for us to continue the fire when we got here. The only source of heat here is the wood stove, so you definitely want to keep it going to fight the bitter cold out. Plus it just creates a comfy, cozy, ambiance. Love it!

The Tour

John, Blaze and Luna getting cozy by the woodstove

Hiking Gear Ready

The Master Bedroom

The yurt is down it's own little drive past the owner's house. I loved that it still felt very private off in the trees. This yurt is also on a farm... so as if it wasn't perfect enough. This is the welcome committee below. The sheep were very friendly and talkative! I guess they are all sorts of pregnant right now, and expecting baby lambs within the next week. The farm has all sorts of their goodies for sale- meats, fresh eggs, even sheep yarn.

Guess I'll have to come back...

I have so much content to share with you guys I will be breaking this into 2 blog posts- the other stay tuned for will be Mountain to Table- a hike and delicious eats in the Adirondack Mountains.

Back to the yurt birthday tale.

We wake up Friday morning (AKA Birthday), and although the yurt is cold, we slept so comfortably and warm in our sleeping bags. John is a sweetheart and brings my birthday presents to bed since it's too cold to get up... he adopts the same birthday philosophy as me, and helped make the weekend very special. I'm so thankful that he introduced me to this hidden gem part of the world. He first showed me upstate NY when we were newly dating. I immediately loved it, and I plan for us sneak away every so often to explore a new slice of it. Waking up already here, with my mountain man, and puppins was the best first day to being 26 that I could've asked for.

Next is breakfast. We are starving and in desperate need of good coffee. We tried

2 different breakfast places, both closed due to Mud season. Something to be warned of if you visit this time of year. It's a slower time of year for the local businesses in between the end of ski season- and before the spring/summer crowds start. Lake Placid is the nearest city, about 25-30 minutes away, but guaranteed to be open and a happening spot. We find a place called "The Breakfast Club" that had great reviews, and heads towards our destination.

The coffee was strong, the mimosa was strong, and the food was delicious! My breakfast was a cast iron skillet full of home fries, topped with apples, sausage, melted brie, and 2 eggs over medium. Yumm! It was a secret gift because none of the other restaurants served alcohol, and birthday mimosas should be required. I must have aged tremendously overnight because my entire weekend up here I WAS NOT ID'D A SINGLE TIME when ordering a beverage.

Next we check out this place I have always wanted to visit- The Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehab Center. I absolutely love animals, and here they have some of my favorites on site- foxes, wolves, owls, and bears. It's a wildlife lovers dream.

There is no cost to visit, although they run off donations only. If you enjoyed your visit you can stop in after- their recommended donation is $10 per adult. I happily paid this as it's going towards a great cause. They assist sick and injured animals who need it, and release them back into the wild. Some of their other animals guests are no longer able to provide or hunt for themselves in the wild- now have a safe place to live and meals provided to them. It was super informative, we learned so much about wolves, and then were free to explore the animal exhibits on our own.

A lot of the animals were sleeping during the day, but the wolves were very active and even talkative. The staff was able to get one of the wolves howling and sounding off for us.

Super cool, teeny little owls who live inside in their own section

This whole area in Upstate New York, I am completely in love with! They are known for their elusive trout fishing in the Ausable River. Tons of outdoor activities- skiing, cross country skiing, hiking, climbing, ice climbing, camping, fishing, and even dog sledding. We typically stay in Jay, NY, but visit the nearby towns of Wilmington, Keene, and Lake Placid. As you drive from town to town, you are encompassed by mountain peaks, and notch roads. All of the stores and restaurants we passed and visited are family owned, Mom and Pop type places. You won't see chain restaurants here. & I love local!

You will also experience a very unique and outdoorsy style up here. From the people, to the architecture, to the decor and shops. It's truly beautiful and encourages entrepreneurship. The famous "Adirondack" style furniture is seen everywhere. Also a brilliant use of birch trees. They are used for furniture, picture frames, decor, and it gives such a rustic cabin-y feel.

After a fun morning of adventures, we head back to our yurt to relax and enjoy some down time before venturing out again for birthday dinner. I am the chef at home, so one of the best presents of all was getting a weekend off from cooking. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy all my dinner creations at home, but sometimes food just tastes better when someone else prepares it for you.

"More Whiskey Please" Teacup

Living Room Area

We got lucky for sunset

Kitchen Area

One of my favorite birthday gifts was this awesome "Color Your Hike" trail poster of the New Hampshire White Mountains. Not only does it provide some art for your home, but a unique way to track the hikes you've completed. I will definitely be framing it to display in my home, and now have a fun post hike activity to color in the trail I completed.

Plus, there is no television here, what better way to pass the time than coloring!

One thing you should know about the yurt if you plan to visit is that there is no shower, bathroom, or running water. We made it work. It helped that we went out for breakfast so that we could wash our hands, and put contacts in for the day (remember we're old and blind now!). Ladies, dry shampoo is your best friend! The bathroom is this "Moldering Privy" outhouse. It was actually quite nice. T.P. is stocked for you. It was clean! It smells like fresh wood shavings, and you get to have a private moment "being one with nature." Or something like that haha.

Spending this time away also refreshed our perspective of home. One of my favorite parts of traveling is that it gives you a chance to miss home. & Re-appreciate it all over again when you return. It can be easy to take for granted the things we've grown so accustomed to having- bathrooms, running water, sleeping in your own bed again. Stepping away for a weekend without these amenities, I just feel so grateful upon returning. Plus showering, after 3 nights of Yurt life was life changing.

One of my favorite quotes:

"It's a funny thing coming home. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what's changed is you." - F. Scot Fitzgerald

Thanks for reading!

To be continued.. ADK Yurt Adventure Part II: The Hiking and fulfilling all our foodie's heart's desires.

- Laura the Explorer

P.S. You can use my airbnb link for $40 of travel credit if you haven't already signed up! Book yourself a yurt weekend! You deserve it.


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