How do you enhance a popular luxury resort located inside a 700-acre state forest, listed on the Select Registry of Distinguished Inns of North America and home to a fine dining restaurant?

If you’re Savage River Lodge in western Maryland, you add yurts – specifically, eight 30-footers from Pacific Yurts. Guests who stay in a Savage River Lodge yurt for the first time nearly always have the same reaction to the experience, according to resort owners Mike Dreisbach and Jan Russell:

’Wow!’ And that’s a direct quote!”

Wooded trail with pine trees

Creating a Vision

Mike and Jan met at a conference in 1989 and went into business together as a management development and business consulting company. Their practice focused on what businesses can learn from nature. 

They bought the Savage River property in 1990 and homesteaded on it for eight years, residing in what is now the resort’s ski cabin. During those eight years, Mike and Jan were always on the lookout for a single meeting venue steeped in nature that included lodging and dining. Having no luck finding a property that fulfilled their vision, they decided to build it themselves.

Exterior of three savage river yurts

Vision Becomes Reality

Savage River Lodge is a place where people can escape the hustle and bustle of city and suburban life and find calm in nature. The lodge’s 10,000-square-foot, three-story main building, which offers a meeting space, exceptional food and drink, and plenty of room to relax, was built in 1998. One year later, individual cabin construction began and SRL was on its way to becoming a top tourist destination.

The resort’s driveway is a mile and a half of winding forest road and although it’s conveniently located near major metropolitan areas in the mid-Atlantic, it feels like you have entered another world. Hiking and walking trails wind through the resort’s 40 acres and extend into the state forest while fly fishing, mountain biking, and geocaching are all nearby.

When asked what the most rewarding part of creating Savage River Lodge has been, the couple say, “Offering our guests an opportunity to reconnect with nature. We are very much a four-season destination, and guests that over multiple years get a full sense of why this landscape is so special — from the brilliant autumn foliage, to magical snowfall, the quiet spring rain, and cool summer breezes. We love sharing it with as many people as we can.”

Pacific Yurts Arrive on the Scene

By 2013, with guest reservations often reaching total capacity, Mike and Jan decided to expand their lodging options. Mike had stayed in yurts while on trips in the Rockies and was drawn to their uniqueness, accessibility, and comparatively low cost. 

They turned to Pacific Yurts, and by May 2014, their eight yurts were in place and ready for guests.

“Pacific Yurts are proven experts,their products are well-engineered, consistent, and sustainable. The in-depth training program allowed us to be more flexible during our construction phase.”

fully equipped bathroom in savage river yurt

Yurt Features

Savage River Lodge’s yurts are a true getaway experience. The yurts Mike and Jan have created are some of the most luxurious you’ll find in any resort east of the Mississippi River. In addition to the heated floors, full bathroom, and ample hot water, each yurt offers guests a gas fireplace, king-size bed, private decks, and a breakfast nook.

Each yurt is powered with both electricity and propane. Although each unit has a gas stove, the primary heat source is a thermostat-controlled Warmboard radiant floor heating system. Each yurt also has a propane-fueled inline hot water tank, high-efficiency boiler, and backup generator. 

Due to the snowfall they get each year, Savage River Lodge has also equipped each yurt with snow-load upgrades which further protects the construction of the yurt even after getting multiple feet of snow.

Savage river yurt luxury bedroom setup

Yurts Drive Business

The Pacific Yurts at Savage River Lodge are often rented for nightly rates similar to the cabins and are now their most popular accommodation style. 

Thanks to that popularity, Savage River Lodge has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, as well MSN’s list of glamping sites across the US.

“Our yurts have helped to save our business. With the world looking to get away, but not far, we have now entered into a new business explosion,” Mike and Jan say. 

“We set a new all-time gross sales record in 2020 and at this point 2021 will be better than last year. We are even talking about adding more yurts!”

Plan a Weekend Getaway at Savage River Lodge

Savage River Lodge offers serenity, privacy, unparalleled relaxation, and multiple opportunities for fun. Whether you’re looking for your next getaway, company retreat, private event space, or more make great memories with Savage River Lodge.Make a reservation to ensure your stay today! Call Savage River at (301) 689-3200 or visit their website for more information about all the resort has to offer.