Nestled in Maggie Valley, North Carolina surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, Maggie Valley Cabin Rentals is a glamping destination that has welcomed well over 10,000 guests throughout the years to stay in its tiny log cabins and yurts.
Small Accommodations, Maximum Comfort
Established in 2005, Maggie Valley Rentals was opened by Jamie and Lisa Milligan as part of a neighboring B&B, offering comfortable rentals in tiny log cabins. The couple has been upgrading and expanding the property since 2019 and began planning for their Yurt Village in 2020 after acquiring the adjoining six acres. As they already had six tiny log homes and wanted to focus on bringing the outdoors inside for their next project, they turned their minds to yurts.
Each of Maggie Valley’s yurts are permitted as single-family residences to provide year-round comfort. While planning took some time because they were the first of their kind in Haywood County, the team finally broke ground on the yurt builds in the fall of 2021 and opened the first three luxury yurts in the spring of 2022.
Get Close to Nature in Maggie Valley
Within an hour of Maggie Valley Cabin Rentals are amazing local attractions such as the Biltmore Estate and Gatlinburg, NC. Outdoor lovers will be ideally situated to explore the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Cataloochee Ski Area, and the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway.
Many of Maggie Valley’s visitors return year after year, including those of the wildlife variety. While staying in Maggie Valley’s Yurt Village, you may spot a family of geese residing on the larger pond’s island, ducks making the pilgrimage between the property’s two ponds, and a few elk confidently traversing the property.
Creating Maggie Valley’s Yurt Village
Initially, the area the Milligans designated for the yurts was overgrown farmland with a few hidden gems waiting to be uncovered. Along the road lies a beautifully restored barn and next to the big pond sits a relaxing covered pavilion with a massive stone fireplace. The Yurt Village is perfectly at home amongst such quaint and calming natural surroundings.
When asked about the advantages of using yurts as their newest lodge accommodation, the Milligans replied, “The sights and sounds of nature feel so close. The yurts are so toasty warm in the colder months, and those high ceilings are what it’s all about!”
The Milligans noted that first impressions of the yurts can be deceiving. “Some guests [despite having booked a yurt] get here and say things like ‘What is that? I booked a cabin…’ and then they walk inside and see what we have created,” the couple explained. “After they compose themselves, we get a quick apology or a big thank you. Let’s face it…yurts may not be for everyone, but almost all of our guests absolutely love them!”
Building Their Pacific Yurts
Pacific Yurts came highly recommended to the couple by their friends at Sky Ridge Yurts in Bryson City. The Milligans were yurt pioneers in their North Carolina county. As the first people to install yurts, they had to brainstorm and execute their own plans to make it happen. Working side by side with Haywood County, they decided to permit the yurts as single-family residences, resulting in a stronger, more energy-efficient dwelling that would provide year-round comfort for their guests.
All the comforts of home are present in the yurts including traditional power, residential HVAC, and residential hot water. They even have 2 EV charging stations on their property for guests to use free of charge.
Coming up with a passing R-value (a measure of insulating effectiveness) proved to be difficult. The Milligans worked with a local company to find a way to meet Haywood County’s strict guidelines around structure insulation requirements. A combination of NASA-grade insulation for the walls and the ceiling provided by Pacific Yurts was used. They also applied spray foam insulation to the underside of the platform to meet those guidelines.
For those looking to apply a similar solution, the Milligans suggest laying a vapor barrier down under the yurt (this was a requirement for them) and then closing your yurt in via a crawl space.
Mountain Laurel Yurt
Maggie Valley’s largest yurt stands proudly at 30’ in diameter and boasts two bedrooms, a king and a queen, with a sleeper sofa available in the spacious living area. The whole family can cook in the yurt’s full-size kitchen, complete with a dishwasher for easy cleanup.
After a full day of exploring the attractions nearby, guests can toss their clothing in the full-size laundry tower. A large, wraparound porch is perfect for relaxing outdoors with family and friends and indulging in outdoor dining. Truly, all the comforts of home are here.
Scarlet Oak and Loblolly Pine Yurts
Maggie Valley’s two studio yurts feel larger than their 24’ diameter footprint, thanks to their iconic yurt high domed ceiling and large porches, perfect for enjoying a morning coffee or yoga practice.
Complete with a king-size bed, sleeper sofa, full-size kitchen (with dishwasher), and private bath, studio accommodations have never felt more luxurious. These yurts are spacious enough to share with family and friends, and many guests choose to book both yurts for a group stay.
Advice for Prospective Yurt Owners
Now seasoned yurt owners, Jamie and Lisa share their top three tips for those looking to design and build their own glamping yurts:
- Make it so that your guests can’t wait to come back. The Milligans’ property is all about melding the luxurious inside with the natural beauty that surrounds us all.
- Make friends with whoever is approving your permits. They note that you will want and need their help throughout the process.
- Don’t cut corners or spare any expense. Like your home, it’s all about the kitchen and bathroom, a comfy bed, and more.
What’s next for Maggie Valley? They are preparing to break ground on the last two luxury yurts, and guests staying there this summer will be able to see the evolution in person. The couple hints, “One of them will be all by itself on the upper level — we refer to it as Honeymoon Hideaway.”