Feature: A Change of Perspective

Little River Escapes-2edited (2)
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Want to downsize and simplify without cramping your style and quality of life? Little River Escape offers tiny-cabin living with a sense of community and plenty of outdoor amenities.

By RANDY GRIDER

Downsizing isn’t exactly a new concept, but it has gain steam, especially in the wake of the housing bubble and economic downturn of recent years. Some people are taking the anti-McMansion mindset to a different level – stepping way down to embrace the so-called tiny-house movement.
But reducing one’s residential footprint to 400 square feet or even smaller doesn’t necessarily mean stepping down in lifestyle. “Living large in small spaces” has become the philosophical tagline for those wanting to de-clutter or simplify and still enjoy a certain quality of life.

Ed Watters, developer of Little River Escape, is making small-home living an easy and realistic option. His tiny-cabin community along the east fork of Little River in Cloudland, Ga., offers a turnkey approach to a new lifestyle that is more than just a gated RV park.

The cabins are park model units built on a recreational vehicle chassis and constructed of high-quality materials that rival stick-built cabins in style, comfort and efficiency. A community pool and pool house coupled with the natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities further set the development apart.[s2If !is_user_logged_in()]

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[/s2If][s2If is_user_logged_in()]“For many people, this simplifies their lives; whether it’s a second-home vacation destination or a retirement home,” Watters says. “It’s also convenience and it’s efficient. Our highest power bill here has been $47, and it averages much less. And there is the ease of maintenance and upkeep. It really simplifies matters for many people.”

While Little River Escape is a first for the Lookout Mountain region, small-home communities are cropping up around the country – aimed at different demographics and those who share common passions. In Jackson Hole, Wy., the Fireside Resort functions as a standard RV park with a frontage of tiny cabins for tourists. Highland Lake Cove in Flat Rock, N.C., is a getting-back-to-nature retreat featuring a lot of different landscape options that accommodate homes from 350 square feet up to 850 square feet. In Blairsville, Ga., there is a tiny-home development catering primarily to motorcycle enthusiasts. Florida, Arizona and California, to name just a few, also are seeing an increase in small-home developments.

Watters, who owns Watters & Associates Landscape in Rome, Ga., believes Little River Escape will appeal to mixed demographic groups ranging from millennials to retirees seeking a vacation home.

“If you think of people who have a winter destination in Florida and may be from the North – they may want to go halfway back instead of all the way back for the summer,” Watters says. “We have also had interest from families with small children. I believe it can and will be a mixed community.”

In the first phase of the development, there are 12 three-quarter-of-an-acre lots ready for lease. The cabins – ranging in price from $39,000 to $70,000 – are sold separately, custom-built, delivered and set up. Turnaround from purchase to move-in can be just a few weeks depending on options selected.

“We do the driveway, the sidewalk, the back-fill, the basic landscape, the patio, the septic tank and hook everything up so it’s move-in ready,” Watters says.

Watters says he has worked diligently to save as many trees as possible and preserve the natural aesthetics of the property. The 5-year ground lease includes water, garbage pickup, property maintenance and access to common areas and recreational opportunities including: an outdoor pavilion, pool and pool house, community fire pit, horseshoes and bocce ball, walking trail, canoes and kayaks and clubhouse (in phase two of the development).

For serious potential buyers, Watters offers a “try before you buy,” opportunity that allows a night or two in the cabin that currently serves as an office and a future rental guest house for residents.

“The thing about [Little River Escape] is that I want it to be fun for the residents,” Watters says. “I know there is not another tiny-home community is this area, but I don’t think there is another development here that offers common amenities and activities for people to do. That’s what makes this place so great for people who love the outdoors – canoeing, biking or just enjoying the natural beauty.”

For more information, visit littleriverescape.com or call 706-936-0007. Cabins are also available to purchase for private property; see riverridgeescapes.com.

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