The history of our estate goes back 400 years. Such a long history includes also hard times, especially the war years 1939-1944, when four Yli-Kaitala brothers served the country. Two of them didn’t return from the war.
The Yli-Kaitala estate was active in farming and cattle breeding for a long time, and we are still growing grain. Our travel company was founded 20 years ago and we have been building it up ever since. The naturally beautiful landscapes of Kettujärvi lake and Kymijoki river offer great opportunities for further development.
The construction of the first cottage started with logging the wood from our own forest in spring 1992. Next year we had the topping out ceremony of Mäntytupa, our first self-built log house. Since that we’ve expanded the company little by little, cottage by cottage. We’ve also built tracks for skiing and hiking so that our guests can enjoy the activities here, just around the corner from their holiday cottage. Kipinä Lapp hut, the lean-to on Lakinsaari island and the cottage in Harakkakoski have also been built by us.
At some point the guests started to ask for a restaurant. So we got to work and turned our old barn, built in the 1920s, into a cosy restaurant called Ketunleipä. Now it’s used for weddings and other family celebrations as well as business meetings.
Then it was time to renovate our old sauna (from the 1940s) by the lake. The steam room of Kettusauna now has four big windows with a magnificent view across lake Kettujärvi. The sunsets over the lake are something to behold. In 2011 we built another big sauna, this one is called Moss sauna (sammalsauna), as the building is covered with moss. The walls of the half-round steam room are decorated with several thousands individually whittled wood carvings.
All this fits in well with the local history, since the village Mankala took the first steps towards tourism over 100 years ago. Back then Mankala rapids were still untamed and many brave souls ventured here for the rafting. In the 1930s to 1950s the area became famous because of a number of films that were very popular at the time - romantic "rafting films" were shot at the rapids of Mankala. They were even featured in the first travel film about Finland, released in 1911.
While respecting the pristine beauty of the natural landscape and the history of the estate, we aim to offer a wide range of eco-friendly tourism services, which at the same time emphasise the safety, privacy, entertainment and comfort of our guests. These values have guided us in developing the local infrastructure.
Our own electricity network is backed up by an extra generating plant to secure the supply in cases of breakdowns (due to stormy weather, for instance). This extra powerhouse also secures the functioning of our ultra-modern sewage treatment facility, which we installed after careful consideration. The facility uses UV light to kill the bacteria, then the purified water is fed back into Kettujärvi, making sure the lake stays clean.
We use as much of our own wood as possible for construction projects. All in all, we prefer using local raw materials and services.