Magical, Miniature Homes

Sep 15, 2014

I’ve always wanted to live in a fairytale. Not for the handsome prince, the magic apples, the seven dwarves nor even the castles. I’ve always wanted to live in a fairytale for the little house hidden in the woods. It’s the kind of house that will only fit me and a few really special people I invite into my magical world.

I finally found my magical fairytale land and you’ll never guess how close it is: near Pocahontas, Ark., on the Eleven Point River. It’s a place called Shady River Getaway, a 120-acre paradise owned by Linda and David Bowlin.

There are three little houses on their property, each less than 500 square feet.

The beauty of a tiny house is that it is ingeniously planned to take advantage of every square inch. David designed these little jewels. David knows a thing or two about tight spaces because he’s lived on his sail boat.

The couple knew they wanted to live near water and found this spot on the Eleven Point River. Their land is a Garden of Eden setting with lush Ozark vegetation and flowers all around. They bought the land 19 years ago and started constructing a dreamland for their retirement. Linda just recently retired from practicing law in Pocahontas.

For about $100 to $140 per night, Linda and David are willing to share their paradise with others. Word is spreading about Shady River Getaway, Linda said that people from St. Louis, Memphis, and Little Rock are finding their way to their tiny door. It’s become a popular destination for couples celebrating anniversaries and for couples with children. It’s the kind of place to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Each tiny house has its own name. The first one I visited was “Cane Brake.” It features not only the lovely little house, but also a beautiful garden. If you choose Cane Brake as your little cabin you can pick from the garden all you want: fresh tomatoes, onions, and much more.

My second cabin I visited was “Wit’s End.” It was uniquely decorated and featured the tiny cabins’ signature deck that reaches out into the wilderness and a luxurious outdoor bathtub shrouded in lush greenery. It was easy to envision myself soaking in that tub at day’s end with a glass of good wine.

The third cabin is known as “Fire Fly.” It not only fulfilled my little house fantasy, but my tree house fantasy as well: a tiny house in a tree!

David is even building an observatory which will feature a 17-inch reflector telescope. Linda explained how this is the perfect spot for a telescope because there is no light pollution out in the middle of the woods. “You’ve never seen the stars look so bright,” she said with wonder.

Included in the rental of each tiny cabin is the use of a golf cart to explore their 120-acres which includes 1.5 miles of hiking trails. You also have access to a private gravel bar on the pristine waters of the Eleven Point, as well as the use of their canoes and boat ramp. Each little house has its own fire pit, for intimate nights by a cozy fire with fireflies lighting the evening all around.

One of the trails goes by an old farmhouse dating from 1919. It reminds one of what it was like living in the Ozarks in the days long before cars, electricity, and running water. A simpler life, but sometimes a hard one.

The tiny house concept is a growing movement that exemplifies the attitude of “less is more.” It keeps life simple. Limited space means no need for extraneous stuff.

The cost of tiny house construction can also be comparatively tiny, depending on the types of materials used. They generally range from $15,000 for modest to more than $80,000 for luxurious.

Some tiny home enthusiasts add the idea of mobility by placing their little jewel on wheels. A few tiny home communities have even sprung up. Several communities are looking at tiny homes as a way of solving the problem of affordable housing, even changing their zoning laws to allow for tiny homes.

She told the story of one couple who came back year after year and finally fell so much in love with the concept that they found a river lot and built their own tiny house on it. “They asked David if they could use his house plan,” Linda said. “And we were happy to let them use it.”

With an excitement in her voice, Linda said, “There is just something so charming and cozy about tiny houses. A lot of people really do feel like they are stepping into a fairytale.”

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