Have you ever stayed at Sky Ridge Yurts in Bryson City, NC? If you’re looking for a fabulous outdoorsy adventure away, that’s not too far from the Upstate, you’ll want to check them out. KAG’s Kristina brought her family and they had a blast. Here’s what you can expect at Sky Ridge Yurts.
I never quite understood people who said they felt like home when staying somewhere other than their home. A hotel? Nope. An AirBnB? Maybe. But I finally got it when I opened the door to my yurt in Bryson City after a long day of driving, that feeling of just being in a place where it’s inherently like home, like a place you belonged and where you can relax and just breathe easy. That’s Sky Ridge Yurts, just a couple of hours’ drive from Greenville.
What’s a Yurt?
A yurt is a round tent-like structure with a high ceiling that forms an open dome at the top. Its walls are made of strong, waterproof fabric held up with lattice wood and it’s a typical home for people who live in Central Asia. I first heard of yurts when one of my very best friends stayed in one during her travels abroad and then I saw them on the Travel Channel.
I thought they were super cool but never in a million years would have guessed I could stay in one near Greenville – and that would be beyond my wildest expectations. The “wow factor” was significantly off the charts as soon as I caught a glimpse of them driving up the gravel road to the yurt village.
The Sky Ridge Yurts Are an Epic Experience
Sky Ridge Yurts have modern amenities like beautiful bathrooms, central heating and air, wi-fi, and satellite television and are oh-so-stylish. These yurts take glamping to a whole other level. The beds are outfitted with luxurious sheets, the bathrooms have super soft towels, and the comfort level is one where I never wanted to leave. These yurts have a deck with a gas grill and share a firepit with other yurts. I met a couple from Ohio when I was there and we chatted about our travels – it was fun to meet other people who were sharing the same experience.
Since I stayed in the yurt during the hot and humid summer months, a midnight thunderstorm wasn’t uncommon. The rain sounded incredible as it hit the roof of the yurt. It was something out of a movie or song, the raindrops creating a symphony in the middle of the night.
The dome of the yurt allows you to see the night sky and do the whole outdoor experience without the inconvenience of a bathhouse away from your camps or a lack of air conditioning in the summer heat.
Grilling Out + S’mores Are Easy
When I travel with my kids, I try to plan out meals to bring and make instead of eating out, which can become very pricey. There is either a full or efficiency kitchen in each yurt with a small refrigerator, sink, microwave, and coffee pot (with local coffee!), which really helps out on the food budget. We ate breakfast at the yurt, packed lunches for our day excursions and then used the grill at night, picking up essentials at the Ingles nearby. There is a picnic table on every deck so you have plenty of space to gather for meals. It doesn’t get any better than grilling out on the deck of your yurt while overlooking the mountains of the Nantahla Gorge right next to the Great Smoky Mountains.
And every night we roasted marshmallows at the campfire for s’mores to end the day, something my kids really looked forward to. I’ve found that eating outside, making s’mores, and having adventures all day make for some great dinner conversations with the kids. I was relaxed, the kids were tired, and we all slept so well in the yurt, well-rested for the next day’s fun.
Rising from Tragedy
Melissa Little, owner of Sky Ridge Yurts and a mom herself, overcame an exceptional tragedy that led to the creation of her business and memories for families and couples for years to come. When she lost her husband, Adam, in a cycling accident nine years ago, she was a stay-at-home-mom with two little girls and no idea of what to do next.
Originally from Charlotte, NC, her and Adam loved Western NC and often took trips there to enjoy the outdoors. When the property on the ridge came up for sale, she jumped at the chance, using the insurance money to purchase the land and build the yurts.
“It felt a lot like Adam saying ‘do it here; you have my blessing’,” she said. “It’s nice to be on the Ridge for most everyone that visits; for me, it’s extra special knowing he was here with me so much in our life together.”
Her family initially thought she had lost her mind but supported her and eventually became investors in the business. As to why she chose yurts, she said they are just cool. Her mom was already living in one so she had an idea of the unique vibe on the structure and the experience she wanted to create for people. She thinks that people ultimately choose Sky Ridge Yurts because of the view, which I agree is stunning.
“I think guests like that we’re only a few minutes for the Nantahala Outdoor Center, which is a huge draw for this area,” said Melissa. “And I like to think that they choose us because we offer them a true experience rather than just a place to stay in the mountains.”
She’s absolutely right. I wanted to go for the experience and location. I wanted to share something unique with my kids, something that they will remember and bring a smile to their faces.
Ideal Location – Tubing, Smoky Mountains, Leaf Peeping, Polar Express
Sky Ridge Yurts is located just 20 minutes from downtown Bryson City where you can enjoy shopping and restaurants. I feel like the true gem of the location of the yurt village is its proximity to tubing, rafting, zip lining, and kayaking, and the Polar Express of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad. Of course, the leaf-peeping season is a big draw as well.
I had some kayak envy checking out all the beautiful kayaks atop dozens of cars around the area. The Nantahala Outdoor Center is right down the road so rafting and water sports are very close. I took my kids tubing at Deep Creek in the Smoky Mountains, where there are no less than half a dozen tube rental places just outside the entrance to the park. You can rent a tube for cheap and spend your day on the river.
The super-popular Polar Express is nearby as well, just 20 minutes away. Staying in a yurt can help save on the budget and certainly make for an even more memorable family trip. Bryson City is also in the heart of prime real estate for viewing the leaves changing colors in October. Check out the leaves during the day and then get cozy at the firepit to top off an enviable trip.
If hiking, waterfall chasing, or mountain biking is your thing, Bryson City is a gateway to the Smoky Mountains, a huge playground for the outdoor enthusiast. There is literally no shortage of things to do in the area.
Yurts Are Great for Families & Couples
The yurts at Sky Ridge can accommodate anywhere from four to six (maybe more, especially kids) people. You can rent just one or the whole village – perfect for a family reunion or girls’ weekend or whatever else you can come up with to stay in a yurt. There are five yurts total, two 20-foot yurts, two 24-foot yurts, and a 30-foot yurt. All are outfitted with the same luxurious linens, towels, and an unmatched glamping experience.
I wish I took a photo of the faces of my kids when they saw the yurt. They had nothing to compare it to so their reaction was pure excitement – in all honesty, mine was too. I was blown away. I thought the yurt would be pretty awesome; I just didn’t know it would be this awesome.
Sky Ridge Yurts is also expanding with plans to add two more yurts by January 2020 – one is a 30-foot yurt with two bedrooms and a full kitchen and the other will be a 24-foot yurt with a full kitchen. Both will have exceptional views of the Nantahala Gorge.
Sky Ridge also has a glass cabin available for rent called Stecoah House. The cabin sits atop a mountain and can sleep six people comfortably, which is perfect for families. It has a full kitchen, washer and dryer, wi-fi, and complimentary, locally-ground coffee. Prices range from $179-$279 depending on the season.
I Want to Stay In a Yurt
Rates for the yurts vary by size, season, and weekday/weekend. Winter and spring are usually the least expensive, starting around $94/night for one of the 20-foot yurts during the week and $104/weekend (spring) and $114/weekend (winter). The largest yurt is the Fontana, which has a full kitchen, private bedroom, washer and dryer, two televisions, and pull-out twin and queen sofa beds. Rates range from $134 for a spring weekday up to $214 for a leaf season weekday night. For all yurts, a flat fee of $55 is charged for cleaning.
Sky Ridge Yurts are also pet-friendly. I was a little nervous about this aspect since I have terrible allergies to cats and dogs but I had no issues at all. For guests who want to bring their pets, there is a $20 pet cleaning fee.
The yurts are spotless and comfortable and just have that feeling of being wrapped in a hug by a longtime friend. It feels so good to stay at Sky Ridge. It’s relaxing and rejuvenating. We all need time to unwind and escape from our daily lives, even if just for a night or two. This place is absolutely where to do it. I loved watching my kids explore the area and be amazed by something they had never seen before. Those are the kinds of memories I try to create for my family and Sky Ridge Yurts delivered big time in helping me do that. I can’t wait to come back.
Sky Ridge Yurts
200 Sky Ridge Drive, Bryson City, NC