A unique stay, isn’t it the perfect way to escape from the busy, everyday life? Recently, I discovered such a unique accommodation in the Netherlands: de Rijsgaardhoeve. Here, you can recharge your batteries in a special framework. By sleeping in a peat cabin, for instance!
What is a peat cabin?
Around the year 1900, a lot of people lived in a peat cabin in the northern provinces of the Netherlands. It mainly concerned peat workers and poor farmers who were working in the peatlands of Drenthe to stab peat, which was an important fuel at that time. They built a peat cabin as a cheap dwelling. A peat cabin is actually a simple cabin, partly built under the ground. The roof, which is covered with vegetation, stands on the ground. Although such a cabin was not very big, it was often inhabited by large families with 4 or 5 children. The whole family slept in a so called ‘bedstede’, a sort of box-bed. As time passed by, more and more people moved to the cities. After WOII, the last peat cabins disappeared in the Netherlands. Years later, a number of peat cabins were once again built in the region, this time only for tourist purposes such as open-air museums.
B&B De Rijsgaardhoeve
‘De Rijsgaarhoeve’ isn’t just a B&B, it’s a wellness farm where you can spend the night in a peat cabin! The life circumstances in such a cabin must have been pretty hard in the past, but nowadays, it’s a romantic stay with all the facilities you need. De Rijsgaarhoeve has three different peat cabins on their property. I booked the ‘turfstekershut’ because this one has a wooden bathtub in the bathroom instead of a shower (just my preference). The cabin also has a seating area with fireplace. And of course, you sleep in a traditional box-bed, just like before. Doesn’t it look incredibly cozy? After a night in the box-bed, you will be surprised with a delicious breakfast basket.
In the sheepfold, you can enjoy a unique wellness expierence (reservation required). With the arrangement that I had booked, I could, for example, enjoy the herbal sauna, the hot water bed and a special steam cabin. The last one was my absolute favorite! While your upper body is surrounded by warm steam, you dream away by the scent of alpine hay. In between, you will be spoiled with snacks and drinks in the relaxation room of the sheepfold, from where you can see the grazing sheep. The arrangements are coordinated in such a way that you won’t be in the saunas with other guests. In de Rijsgaardhoeve, you can really enjoy the peace and quite. I would even say that for me personally it was the most relaxing day of 2019!
Elburg – the fortified city with rectangular street plan
De Rijsgaardhoeve is located close to the historic center of Elburg. Take a few hours to discover this small, medieval town! You will be surprised by the number of museums and places of interest. One of them is the ‘Vischpoort’, the medieval city gate of Elburg. Through this gate, you walk straight into the old town. Do not limitate to the (only) main street, but be curious and go exploring in the picturesque side streets.
The flowery Westerwalstraat, for example, is very photogenic. The way back to the main street is always easy to find, due to the rectangular street plan. Just outside the Vischpoort you will find the port of Elburg, which used to be the bustling core of the fishing town. You can also take a walk on the ramparts that surround the old city.
TIP: Along the road from Elburg to the B&B, you will see an old mill. This grain mill dates back to 1854 and is a bakery mill today (de Bakkersmolen van Schuld). There is a bakery shop located in the granary, which continues into a cozy tea room where you can taste the delicious pastries.