Find Your Yurtopia

What’s your ideal getaway? Do you seek solace off the beaten path? Away from the hustle and bustle of city living? Do you strive for peace, tranquillity and quiet comforts without having to outright rough it? Yurtopia could be your hidden haven.
Conceived by the husband and wife team of Jeff and Jane Sears, Yurtopia is the only authentic Mongolian yurt in Newfoundland and Labrador, which has rapidly become a must-stay attraction in the now booming tourist hub of Port Rexton.
The couple, who fell in love with the scenic community after purchasing a residence in Port Rexton 16 years ago, originally acquired an authentic Kyrgyzstan yurt as a pop-up shop for their then business, Port Rexton Hiking & Clothing.
“The initial design was to have it as a retail store and to use it as a drawing card because this is something that most people, never mind Newfoundland or Canada, will never see, an authentic, handmade, hand-carved Kyrgyzstan yurt,” Jeff shared during a sit-down with Downhome. “We felt that it would be a nice way to grab people and get their interest. And it did. I had grown men come in, take pictures, and cry because they recognized the historical significance behind it.”
Drawing interest from patrons with the idea of converting the yurt into a rental dwelling, Jane and Jeff sought to find the optimal yurt experience best suited for our wild Newfoundland weather, something cozy and comfortable, while well insulated and suited to our unpredictable elements.
“I said if we’re going to do this, we need to do the real thing. A real true Mongolian yurt, not from eBay or Amazon,” Jeff recalls, explaining that, with the help of yurt go-to’s Groovy Yurts, the couple purchased an authentic Mongolian yurt, which has been Canadian-ized for optimal weather protection.
“You have a frame, then you have, basically, a big cotton liner that goes over the frame, then sheep’s wool on top of it and a layer of tie back, and one big, solid piece of heavy canvas that covers the whole yurt,” Jeff explains. “It’s four layers of protection.”
Setting to work on the structure and all it entailed, Yurtopia was launched into being in the summer of 2021. The feedback and demand from day one, the proprietors share, was incredible.
“It’s amazing the number of people who, even though they’ve seen pictures and they’ve seen it online, they walk in and it’s amazing watching people’s expression once they enter,” Jane says of the initial response from patrons. “People always say, ‘Wow, it’s way bigger in here than it looks on the outside!’ And it is.”
Yurtopia has quickly attracted both locals and come-from-aways looking for a different sort of getaway.
“We started quickly realizing that our customers were a lot of retired professionals from Canada coming here to look at icebergs, look at whales, and just wanted something other than a hotel room to stay in and I think we kind of ticked that one off,” adds Jeff, doubling down on the uniqueness of the yurt experience.
“You’re staying in the same type of structure that Genghis Khan stayed in. 62 percent of Mongolians still live in yurts. It’s still their home. So you’re actually staying in something today that dates back 3000 years and is still utilized.”
Aptly located within walking distance to the Skerwink Trail, Port Rexton Brewery, Two Whales Cafe and Fisher’s Loft, Yurtopia is the optimal Bonavista Peninsula jumping-off point for tourists and islanders alike looking to indulge in hiking trails, boat tours, puffin viewing and a general take-in of the region’s breathtaking scenery. Though of course, the yurt itself is as big a draw as any.
“We’ve had people stay with us and cancel their dinner reservations that didn’t want to leave the yurt. They say they just want to sit here tonight, have a glass of wine and put on some music,” Jeff chuckles. “You’ve got a hot tub literally two feet outside your door. And now we’re working on putting a sauna in for the late spring. So we’re trying to create a little oasis where you can come to relax. After a long day you can have a sauna, have a soak in the hot tub, just sit on the deck, have a fire and relax.”
Firmly devoted to promoting the no longer hidden gem that is Port Rexton that swept them up over 15 years ago, Jeff and Jane are committed to providing world-class accommodations under the backdrop of one of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most picturesque regions.
The couple plans on launching a second yurt just in time for the 2024 tourist season, with all the trappings, commitment to service, and memorable stay outside of the norm, remaining intact.
“We wanted something different that would make us stand out. And if you don’t stand out you’re just like everybody else,” Jeff said, reaffirming the pair’s desire to bring business to the Peninsula.
“We just fell in love with the place. So this is kind of our way of encouraging people to come and stay. The more people we could have come stay with us, it’s good for all business and good for everybody.”
Interested in booking a stay in Yurtopia? Visit the accomodations page through Airbnb at Yurtopia in Port Rexton!
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Downhome Magazine

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