Written and Photographed by: Jon Kreye
Nestled in between Lake Superior and the Lutsen Mountains sits Klarhet (pronounced “Klar” like bar, “het” like net) an up-and-coming eco-conscious destination for adventurers and foodies on Minnesota’s North Shore. Upon first stepping onto the property, I could see why the owners, Nicole and Kirk, decided to name the place after a feeling of complete transparency and quietness — a true sense of clarity, or klarhet in Swedish. The namesake of the property represents the feeling Nicole and Kirk eventually found while working together creating it and reaching for that bliss.
Waking up inside a dome is a refreshing feeling. With a spacious, bright and open concept, the design lends itself to feelings of peace and tranquility. The design of each dome is minimalistic, yet extremely intentional. While planning my stay, I asked which dome is best. After asking, Nicole shared that guests are encouraged to read about the name and intention behind each of the four domes and choose the one that best resonates with where they are in life at the moment. Interestingly, Nicole and Kirk named each dome one by one after completing them. One of the domes is named Laguz, which is Old Norse for "water, sea and the deeper consciousness." Laguz invites an inner stillness, like the depths of the freshwater sea in its view, where long-held forgotten dreams may ignite once again within. And with another quiet moment, those once-forgotten dreams may rush into the shores of your heart, guiding you forward forevermore. For my weekend excursion, I chose to stay in the Raidho dome, which is Old Norse for "joy of the journey, a new path forward, and new opportunities" which resonated with my current state, having exciting opportunities on the horizon.
The domes are well equipped with in-floor heating, a super-sustainable pellet-fueled fireplace, a kitchenette, a spacious bathroom and so much natural light, thanks to the huge windows facing Lake Superior. Every item and material inside the domes was sourced as close to Lutsen as possible. Even the live-edge wood counter in one of the bathrooms was garnered from a fallen tree on their property. Not a detail went overlooked in the design, as Nicole and Kirk considered sustainability, natural solar heat, lake views, and ethically sourced materials as they planned.
Intention is a word I would use to describe Klarhet. Not only in its design but also in the meaning and feeling of the spaces that have been created. The domes, created with sacred geometry at their core, offer a one-of-a-kind opportunity for harmonization that comes when aligned with nature, that place where creativity and clarity thrive. The goats and chickens, which are friendly neighbors of those staying in the domes, have a purpose within the property. The goats help graze and clear the grounds and are also milked. One of the goals of Klahet is to create educational opportunities for guests and community members; on any given day, you can join the staff in immersive farm-to-table culinary experiences. One such experience coming soon will include milking the goats in the morning, then using that milk to learn how to make goat cheese. In the evening, guests will make homemade pizza with that same goat cheese in their soon-to-be-finished state-of-the-art teaching kitchen with sweeping views of Lake Superior.
A deep-seated mission of Klarhet is to sustain the natural environment it sits on. In light of this, Nicole and Kirk are in the process of creating a regenerative food forest. What is a food forest? I wondered the same thing. Simply put, it is a food system that works with, rather than against, the challenges of the natural environment. Regenerative food forests strive to coexist with animals, insects and nature to nourish the body as well as the earth itself. During my stay, I was able to walk through the future food forest, which currently consists of mounds of brush and other natural elements. The regenerative forest technique helps promote soil development and growth of the organic edibles that will thrive in this minimally invasive environment. Currently, Klarhet boasts fruit trees, shrubs, vegetables and herbs with a goal of continuing to expand and even hiring a farmer to tend their gardens.
Nicole and Kirk’s passion for organic food stems from their childhood. As a child, Nicole watched her grandfather work in his small garden and learned quickly that food tastes different when it comes from the ground. Meanwhile, as a child Kirk was also learning about farming on his grandfather’s dairy farm. Nicole later became a nurse practitioner and completed her doctorate in nursing practice specializing in integrative health, which allows her to share with others her passion for consuming whole foods. These experiences have helped shape their worldview and their current lifestyle. One long-term goal for Klarhet is to integrate a clinical setting for health care providers to experience growing, cooking and eating whole foods that they can then share with their future patients.
If you take a step back to look at it all — a regenerative food forest, eco-friendly domes, purposeful animals, a teaching kitchen, secluded woods and dedicated owners — you’ll realize Klarhet is far more than just another North Shore Airbnb. Spearheading immersive educational experiences for the community and visitors with goals of creating sustainable food and jobs for the community, it’s really a movement. Ultimately, Nicole and Kirk want to create a space where masters of their craft (farmers, chefs, designers, makers, musicians) have a place to share it with others and build a strong community as they grow and learn from one another.
As a self-proclaimed Airbnb super guest, I am usually pretty content with my stays, but I don’t often leave with a whole new perspective on growing food, deep feelings of peace or inspiration to do my part to sustain our environment. Nicole and Kirk’s hope is that some of the inspiration they’ve found throughout their journey rubs off even a little bit on anyone who visits, to follow the dream of their own. I certainly found clarity during my stay. Will you?
Follow Jon Kreye's adventures on Instagram at @jonkreye.