We’ve fallen in love with a little town in Colorado called Paonia. It’s so small, and not so well known, that the locals keep asking us, “How did you find out about Paonia?” You see, it’s a bit of a secret, this gem of a town, and many here like to keep it that way. Last night, this little oasis with 1500 people had a baroque clarinet and piano concert at The Blue Sage while Miner, an indy folk rock band, played at The Paradise Theater across the street. This ain’t no sleepy little cow town. It boasts about 10 wineries here in the valley, some of the highest fine wine crafted in the U.S., and countless organic farms and ranches with grass-fed livestock.
But this isn’t an article about Paonia. I’m here to gloat about our first experience living in a yurt. On both Air BnB and VRBO, you’ll find a family here has a beautiful getaway property right along the North Fork of the Gunnison. It’s a gorgeous stretch of river right in the heart of farm country, with views of the West Elk mountain range, the Raggeds and Lamborn mountain, which dominates the sky just north of town. George and Devon have two yurts here, and we came to suss out whether one day we might want one on our property.
Yurts were designed and innovated by the people of the high mountain steppes of Central Asia. We don’t know exactly when they first appeared, but archaeology tells us that they were firmly established as homes for nomadic peoples by the 5th century BC. Their circular design mimics symbols of the unity and interconnectedness of all things.
One of the yurts here is more rustic than the other, with no electricity or running water, but it’s our favorite because it’s set in an old growth cottonwood forest that feels like a fairy glen one can wander through and marvel at the trees in various states of growth and decay.
Both yurts are 30 feet wide and the one in the cottonwood forest has traditional wooden-strut walls covered in poly fabric, a concrete floor covered with carpets and a wood stove for heat.
This “glamping” yurt has the coolest composting toilet, out in a little horse trailer.
I kid you not, this outfit is worth seeing.
The yurt we’re living in is just like any house, with drywall walls and a propane insert fireplace. There’s a full kitchen and bathroom inside, even a piano.
We’ve felt what it’s like inside on a breezy morning and this baby is tight. The circular design lends itself to withstanding wind, as there are no corners or straight walls for the wind to buffer against.
As much as we love the inside of these structures, our energies are spent outside, enjoying all the things we can do here.
Evenings have been spent by the fire pit or in the hot tub.
And during daylight hours, the kids have been enjoying the bikes we have rented from The Cirque Cyclery in town, a cool juice bar and cycle shop combo that’s worth visiting, as the old building renovation is worth a look inside.
We’re so impressed with this little town, life in a yurt, and all the things one can do here.
If you’re interested in experiencing yurtopia, we highly recommend this little spot in Paonia. I’d be happy to get you in touch with George and Devon if you’re looking for a getaway dream vacation here. Just let me know in the comments below.