Wanderlusting: Holiday Vacation at the Yurt in Cape Lookout State Park
There is nothing I love more than mixing the holidays with a vacation, and this year my family pulled off something pretty cool. We not only celebrated Thanksgiving in a yurt on the coast of Oregon but we cooked a full turkey dinner. And in case you are wondering everyone is still alive and on good terms. No joke this was one of the best Thanksgivings I have ever had.
I do want to say that I am not a girl who camps or hikes mountains but I am a girl who is up for a little adventure in life. Who is happy to think outside the box and is pretty good with rolling with the punches. Which you need to be if this sounds like a holiday you would like to try. I also want to say we went on this adventure with two professional campers (my in-laws) so that comes in handy a lot. Especially if you are like me and haven't camped since you were in single digits. =) As a gift to you, I leave you with some great camping tips from the professionals below.
Our family rented a yurt which if you don't know what a yurt is, don't feel bad I didn't either before this vacation. It's an enormous round tent that fits 4 adults and probably 2 children comfortably and comes with electricity, heating, furniture, plus it sits on the wood floor which makes it a great in-between to a tent or cabin. I was also a big fan because even though it rained I didn't feel like we were trapped in a small tent fighting the elements. The yurt was located on the Oregon coast at a wonderful state park opened all year long called Cape Lookout State Park. The views are absolutely stunning and with a quick walk to the ocean you surrounded by mountains and relaxing in the trees making for a magical vacation.
To conquer a large dinner like Thanksgiving it's important to plan out what you are going to cook on the grounds. Along with what to prep or complete before you get there. For instance, the pies we had were made beforehand and brought to the yurt. We also planned out what cooking items that can pull double duty. Don't want to bring your whole kitchen with you but you want to bring key items that will make your cooking life easier. One example of this is the crock pot, we used it Wednesday for a delicious lasagna and the next day to cook the stuffing. Large boiling pots, we had two, and they had multiple uses for cleaning dishes and cooking staple foods like the mashed potatoes. Also, a cast iron frying pan can create a fantastic breakfast in the morning and saute green beans in the evening. I think the most impressive thing about the dinner was the cooking of a full sized turkey with two small Weber grills. After brining the turkey for two full days my husband cut the turkey in half and placed each side "cut-side" down. The turkey was cooked to perfection and took a lot less time than we thought.
One of the biggest things I did was make sure we have a Thanksgiving table. We brought plates and silverware from home along with linen napkins, tealight candles and my wine cork pumpkins I had made earlier this fall. It may seem like a silly idea to bring all this extra stuff, but for me, it was important that the dinner felt like a special moment. Everyone relaxed and not eating their dinner in their lap with plastic utensils that break when you press too hard, =( or does that just happen to me? It's also my favorite part of the holidays, the great big table set to perfection. I love it!!
I will say I am so grateful I was able to experience such a wonderful holiday vacation, sitting around the fire, drinking wine, laughing and sharing stories, playing games and watching my son explore the outdoors, dogs laying by our feet, and begging adorably at the dinner table. This vacation like so many of our travels recently have reiterated the importance of creating memories not things in our lives. To love the people and enjoy the time with family not to stress about all the small things the holidays stir up.
Just as I promised 5 Tips from the Experts:
(From the In-Laws themselves)
5. Organize your car for easy retrieval of items you want fast.
4. Unleash your inner gourmet and cook good food and a great cup of coffee. (No instant allowed for freeze-dried foods) =(
3. Plan for inclement weather. Jackets, rain gear, a shovel to dig a trench around your tent.
2. Bring toilet paper... Need I say more
1. Bring water! Not just for drinking but for cooking. You don't want to end up in a campground where the water has been declared unsafe. (Yes that has happened to us or the spigots have been shut off)
Bonus tips: Have a good sleeping bag and bring extra blankets. flashlights or lantern is also essential for nighttime reading and midnight walks to the bathroom.