This Vinton company developed over the past decade from a hobby. Entrepreneur Don Harrison began designing small wooden homes that he could develop into a kit and sell to do-it-yourselfers. People quickly fell in love with the unique arch design of these structures, affording more room than a traditional home of the same size due to a cozy loft. Don and his wife Melody discovered early on that prospective buyers often wanted the homes pre-constructed. Due to popular demand, they created a smaller version of the home in the form of a small cabin that could be constructed off-site and transported easily on a trailer. This unique cabin design is similar to the camping pod concept now popular throughout Europe, offering a basic night’s stay with a unique experience and feel of solid wood construction.
Combining experience in rental properties with a love of cabin building, the Harrison’s are fulfilling a lifelong dream with this project. “We’re excited to be on the ground floor as one of the first vendors, and able to participate in the planning stages of this exciting project,” says Don. “We can envision a great future for Explore Park and we want to be part of it.”
This spring Don’s Cab-Inns will begin work on installing 18 camping units, consisting of both pod cabins and yurts. Each unit will feature heating and air condition, electricity, a refrigerator, fire ring, grill and picnic table.
Pod Cabins – These unique and locally constructed pods take advantage of a space saving high-arch floor plan. With a sleeping capacity of up to four, the cabins are approximately 8.5’ by 16’ with a queen bed below and a full bed in the loft. These units will be served by a bathhouse.
Yurts – For larger families looking to spend the night, several yurts will be installed capable of sleeping up to six people. These trendy camping structures maximize space through their unique circular shape. Measuring a diameter of 16’ and 20’ these units will each have a private sink, toilet and shower in addition to a pair of bunk beds (twin and full).
Reservations will be available within the next few months through our website www.ExplorePark.org or in person at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center (540) 427-1800.
The Hart family are Roanoke County natives with a passion for the outdoors. In 2012 the family moved out to the San Juan Mountains of Colorado to fulfill their desire for adventure recreation. During this time Jonathan worked with San Juan Huts, managing, maintaining and servicing overnight accommodations for outdoor adventurers.
When they returned home to the Virginia’s Blue Ridge in 2015, the Harts were amazed at the way our region had changed. They discovered a newfound excitement for outdoor recreation in our area, and more people taking advantage of the fantastic natural resources available.
“Being able to leave gave me a new appreciation knowing this is the place I’m supposed to be,” says Holly. “I want to grow those aspects and making this a place where families want to stay and grow. Capitalizing on what we have but taking care of those treasures through investment and maintenance. We’re excited for our business, but also for the community. For families to get outside and be active, it’s such a mental and physical benefit, and we’re proud to be making it more accessible for all levels from novices to enthusiasts.”
Blue Mountain Adventures will be operating several camping types at Explore Park, as well as optional trip planning and equipment rental services. Their motto is “You focus on the adventure, we’ll take care of the details.” The first rental sites will be available as early as April. Approximately 50 campsite units will be constructed over the next two years.
Canvas Tents – These 14’x16’ tents will be erected on a custom made wood platform for maximum comfort, with an extending rain fly over the 16’24’ deck to keep the elements off. Each tent sleeps up to four and comes with a queen bed and futon or pull out couch. These sites come with access to a small outdoor camp kitchen that can be stocked with groceries for an extra fee.
Canopy Camping – Several elevated platforms with canvas flies will be constructed for a unique “in-the-trees” camping experience.
Tipi Tents – Sleep in style while getting more in touch with nature in a roomy teepee tent. Measuring 16’ in diameter, these accommodations will board two adults and a child or two. Each one is on a wooden platform with two cots inside, or use your own sleeping bag.
Primitive Camping – Already have your own equipment? Explore Park will be offering rustic camping sites including a site to pitch your tent, grill, picnic table and fire ring.
Group Camping – Several camping areas will be set aside for group rental, allowing you to choose between a primitive site for up to 15 people or a drive-up camping experience for up to 20. Picnic tables and fire rings will be at all sites.
Reservations will be available within the next few months through our website www.ExplorePark.org or in person at the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center (540) 427-1800. For more information about adventure planning visit www.bluemtnadventures.com