My husband and myself are pretty much up for almost any experience during our travels, but when I suggested staying in a yurt for a couple of nights he looked askance at me. I was considering the yurt offerings at Merridale Estate Cidery at the time, which are most definitely not what you would call rough camping.
With a little cajoling hubby agreed to join me (otherwise he was going to miss out on three wonderful days in the Cowichan Valley, so it didn’t take a lot of convincing.) The Merridale yurts offered a lot of amenities and a new experience for both of us.
Yurts are portable bentwood-framed dwelling structures that were traditionally used by Turkish nomads. The ones used at Merridale and other locations across North America utilize high-tech materials and are highly engineered, making them more of a permanent structure than an easily transportable home. The evolution from a moveable round felt tent-like structure to our home-away-from home at Merridale was quite remarkable and, thankfully, probably a lot more comfortable than the original designs.
Essentially the Merridale yurts are similar to a one-room cabin. The round structure – no sharp edges or corners – imparts a serenity and coziness not found in many accommodations.
We stayed in the large yurt, which offered many of the comforts of home, including two bathrooms. There was a cozy sitting area replete with reclining armchairs, a lovely deep claw-foot tub and a warming gas fireplace that helped keep the place warm even in early Spring. Returning to the yurt each evening after a busy day of exploring the Cowichan Valley was a real pleasure – soft lighting and firelight infused our evenings with coziness and warmth. When we tucked in to the comfortable bed we could look through the skylight above us, and the Spring song of frogs at the nearby pond lulled us to sleep.
There is no WiFi, television or telephone at the yurts at Merridale so being ‘unplugged’ added to the relaxing effect.
There is a kettle and coffee supplies at the yurt, so we began each day lolling about in bed with a hot beverage. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t conducive to sitting on the deck when we visited, but I could envision myself enjoying my first coffee of the day out there in warmer weather.
We headed up to the Merridale Bistro around 10 each morning, where we were served scrumptious fresh-baked goods, fresh fruit, yogurt and a cornucopia of other flavourful and healthy breakfast items.
All told, staying in the Merridale yurts was a unique and lovely experience. Even the over-zealous rooster who woke us each morning had his charms – it made for a true ‘country’ experience.
If you are considering the Merridale yurts, there is plenty to do at the place without ever leaving the property. I wandered through the extensive apple orchards, enjoying the fresh Spring air and the sounds of nature. There are cider tastings and great food at the bistro, a shop offering gourmet food items. There is a spa on-site, and you can enjoy a self-guided tour of the cellar to learn about the cider making process. There is never a dull moment at Merridale, but the rural ambiance permeates everything, leaving visitors delighted and relaxed.
Further information on Merridale Estate Cidery and the yurts can be found at the website:
Merridale Estate Cidery is located at 1230 Merridale Road, Cobble Hill
GPS co-ordinates are:
Lat. 48.664441 Long. -123.586655
N 48 39.866 W 123 35.199