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Yurts So Good

Cross-country skiing in the Maine woods

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Too often, you plan a getaway only to find that everyone else had the same idea. But the Birches Resort in Rockwood, Maine, offers an experience guaranteed to one-up your friends. Sitting on an 11,000-acre Northwoods preserve, about a two-hour drive from the Bangor airport, the resort has 30 miles of ski trails and a range of accommodations. But the adventurous skip the guest houses and stay in one of the hotel's three yurts, located a few miles from the main lodge. Tentlike structures made from skins draped over a lattice framework, yurts were developed by Siberian nomads, who use them for warm and portable shelter year-round. The yurts at the Birches are a modern variation made of heavy nylon canvas and come with a wooden floor, a woodstove, beds, and other amenities -- perfect if you love the idea of winter camping but love comfort too. To that end, the Birches does the hard work for you: transporting your gear to the yurt (so you can take a leisurely ski out) and taking you back to the lodge for no-frills American country cuisine if you aren't up for cooking.

DETAILS The Birches Resort, 800-825-9453 or www.birches.com (yurts hold up to six people and rent for $20 per person per night on weekdays, $22 on weekends and holidays).


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