It’s Earth Day and the Party’s Outside

Celebrating Earth Day can be as simple as loving every little bit of what makes up our great planet. The 71% of it that is made up of water – which includes lakes, rivers, streams and of course, the oceans; or the 21% that is made up of sand; or the 31% covered by forests. And, of course, the best way to love something is to spend time with it. This April 22, get outside and enjoy what this magical planet has offer. Swim in the ocean or kayak a lake, climb a mountain, stick your toes in the sand, or trek through a forest. And, whichever you choose, remember the mantra to leave it the way you found it, if not better!

Tiny House Murphy at Tuxbury Tiny House Village in South Hampton, NH.

Forest Focus: Book a tiny house stay at New Hampshire’s Tuxbury Tiny House Village and you’re about 90 miles from White Mountain National Forest, which offers all kinds of outdoor activities from hiking and climbing to fishing and rockhounding. Another great tiny house and another great forest can be found in Leavenworth, Washington. Book a stay at Leavenworth Tiny House Village and explore the four million acres of forestland in Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest where you can mountain bike, horseback ride, and find plenty of hiking trails.

Tiny House Rudolf at Leavenworth Tiny House Village in Leavenworth, WA.

Water, Water Everywhere: Explore some of the waters that make up 71% of the Earth – start with the Pacific Ocean and plan a stay in one of the cabins at Santa Barbara’s Rancho Oso. Plenty of oceanfront beaches to choose from here. Looking for a brush with fame? Try Butterfly Beach and keep your eyes peeled for the occasional celebrity. Want to watch a great sunset? Try Hendry’s Beach where your four-legged friends are welcome to take in the show, too! Head to the Florida Keys and you’ll be surrounded by water. Snorkel, scuba dive, parasail, or fish these warm Florida waters. A tiny house accommodation at Sunshine Key Tiny House Village or a colorful cottage at Fiesta Key make the perfect Keys home base.

Yosemite Merced River el Capitan Panorama.

Mountains of Fun: While most people are familiar with Yosemite’s Half Dome and El Capitan, this magnificent national park is actually home to 20 mountains that exceed 10,000 feet in elevation – the adventurous can choose to climb while the aesthetics of these snow-capped beauties will please just about anyone! Make a reservation for a totally groovy yurt at Yosemite Lakes and then spend Earth Day amid the mountains of Yosemite. How about spending the day around mountains that have magic powers? Head to Sedona to experience the healing powers of the magnificent Red Rocks, specifically Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock. Book a tiny house at Verde Valley and soak up that magic. 

Glamping Tent at Marina Dunes RV Park in Marina, CA.

And that sand we mentioned – rent a cabin or a cottage at Oregon’s Pacific City and you’re so close to Cannon Beach and the iconic Haystack Rock; you can spend Earth Day surrounded by soft sand and the sounds of the ocean. Check out the coastal dunes at the Marina Dunes Preserve and stay at in an ultra-cool Glamping Tent at Marina Dunes RV Park.

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Glamping with Good Intentions

In the last several years, the Danish word hygge has gained popularity in cultures outside of Denmark and people have embraced the concept behind the word’s meaning to make their lives cozier and more content. On the heels of hygge, a few more words have crept up that can be applied to life in general, and definitely when it comes to the best way to glamp.

Tiny House Otto at Leavenworth Tiny House Village in Leavenworth, WA

Niksen: In short, the Dutch concept of niksen translates to doing absolutely nothing, and without purpose.  So, for those of you who schedule every minute of your vacation time, this might be a difficult one to swallow, but we think the idea of lounging around a tiny home, with nothing to do but enjoy the solitude and scenery sounds pretty good coming off of a year like 2020. It’s a bit different than practicing mindfulness because what niksen wants you to do is feel the joy of just being – not focusing on how or where, but just being! We think a perfect setting to get all into the niksen way is to head to the Leavenworth Tiny House Village, set up a comfortable chair outside your favorite tiny, and just sit there. Yes, there are trees surrounding you and the sounds of wildlife as a white noise soundtrack, but in reality, it’s just you, being you, in this perfect setting.

Tiny House at Sunshine Key Tiny House Village in Big Pine Key, FL

Friluftsliv: This Norwegian term is just perfect for any lover of the great outdoors because it translates to “open-air living.” How about that for a perfect match for any upcoming glamping trips you’ve got planned. First, before we embrace it, let’s learn to pronounce it – so let’s all say it together – “free-loofts-liv.” Now that you can say it, let’s figure out where to practice the concept. The point here is to get out into nature and appreciate what it can bring to us – happiness, tranquility, a clear mind. Norwegians practice it all year round so don’t let weather stop you. If you want to glamp in the winter climate, go ahead, but we’re gonna find our friluftsliv in sunny Florida. The Keys are the perfect location and the Sunshine Key Tiny House Village is a great place to start living life the friluftsliv way. Hike, bike, scuba dive, snorkel, beachcomb, frolic with dolphins, and visit the tiny Key deer. Take on all the outdoor experiences that can be found in the Keys and you’re on your way.

Cozy yurt at Pacific City Cloverdale, OR

Koselig: Another one from the convivial Norwegians, but this one wants you to bring the gang. Similar to hygge, koselig (“koosh-lee”) is all about being comfortable and cozy but tosses in the social aspect by adding in friends and family when it’s time for comfy and cozy. Studies have shown there is a clear link ] between social connections and well-being, so it’s important to get the friends and family involved when practicing koselig. “Kos” requires the same things as hygge, such as warm lighting, softer music, cozy fires, and a low-stress environment. And all that is to be enjoyed surrounded by the people who make you laugh, bring joy to your life and check the box when it comes to perfect traveling companions. Of course, there is nothing cozier than a cabin, so check out our cabins when you plan your next koselig-inspired glamping trip. Options include locations in California, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Rent several cabins, bring the whole gang and koselig like it’s 1999!

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Warmest Wishes

Hiking at sunset in Sedona, AZ

‘Tis the season….to seek out the sun. Why not give yourself the gift of sunshine this season and head toward the warm weather where the skies are sunny and coats are not required! Here are a few places to consider where you can let the sunshine in.

Palm Springs, California: Palm Springs is the perfect place to soak up some of that warm California sun thanks to its great location to all the nearby hotspots including Joshua Tree National Park, the hiking trails in Indian Canyons, and the Living Desert Zoo and Garden. Rental accommodations at Palm Springs include three cottages that have plenty of the comforts of home including TVs, microwaves, and plenty of space to relax in. Downtown Palm Springs has a celebrity Walk of Fame, shops, galleries, and restaurants.

Cottages at Palm Springs in Palm Desert, CA.

Santa Barbara, California: Enjoy beautiful Santa Barbara and plan a stay in some the coolest, and most unique accommodations you’ll find at Rancho Oso. In addition to its fabulous location, the resort offers cabins, cottages, covered wagons, and a tipi. You can’t beat that when it comes to something different. If you ride horses, or maybe that activity is on your bucket list, then Rancho Oso is the place to be. They have horses and guided horseback rides for groups. Visit nearby Solvang, a charming Danish-style town with plenty of shops and eateries as well as opportunities for wine and craft beer tastings. Of course, there is also beautiful Santa Barbara that offers beaches, architecture, wineries, and more.

Florida Keys: Sunshine Key Tiny House Village has five brightly colored tiny homes that are yours to choose from at this resort located on the 75-acre Ohio Key in the Florida Keys. Take the holidays to the tropics and spend some time exploring The Keys. The resort itself is quite the playground with opportunities for pickleball, fishing, and tennis. Plus, Key Boat Tours, a Blue Star Operator, is onsite for rentals of kayaks, stand up paddle boards and bikes, and also to arrange fishing charters and snorkeling tours. If snorkeling floats your boat, then a Keys vacation is the perfect trip since the first underwater state park in the US, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, is located on Key Largo and has some of the best snorkeling around the area.

Tiny House Lucy at Sunshine Key Tiny House Village in Big Pine Key, FL.

Sedona: Head for the sun and take the mountains as the added bonus when you plan a trip to Sedona, Arizona. Book your cozy cabin or tiny house at Verde Valley and set off to explore the very walkable downtown Sedona, the beauty and vortexes of Red Rock State Park, the abandoned mining town turned artist colony of Jerome, and some of the prettiest desert landscape you’ll find. There’s also a Verde Valley Wine Trail where you can toast the new year or ride the rails on the Verde Valley Canyon Railroad Adventure. All aboard for fun in the Arizona sun!

Cabin under a starry night at Verde Valley in Cottonwood, AZ.

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Cheers to National Lager Day

Friends toasting with beer glasses in the brewery.

Did you know the third most widely consumed beverage in the world is beer? With water and tea being number one and two, respectively, beer comes in at number three most likely due to the fact that cultures around the world have their own version of their favorite brew. December 10 is National Lager Day so why not raise a glass of lager and toast this popular drink? If you’re planning to continue to celebrate National Lager Day well past the December date, consider these popular lagers when you’re on the road to your next outdoor adventure.

BTW – what makes a lager different from other beers, you ask? Becoming a lager is all about the bottom-fermenting technique and using younger hops, a main ingredient in beer. Also, lager yeast can withstand lower temperatures, unlike ale yeasts, and that is where it gets its name. Lager comes from the German word “lagern” which means to store and lager is in cold storage while it ages. Some examples of lagers include Corona, Budweiser, and Miller Lite. We came up with a round of lagers from some of the smaller U.S. brewers conveniently located near our great Petite Retreat accommodations.

New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus, WI.

New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus, Wisconsin: Check out the Two Women lager at this Wisconsin brewery in the Swiss-style village of New Glarus. This lager is aptly named because it is the result of a collaboration between two craft breweries both run by women. Book a cozy cabin or a cottage at Yukon Trails and visit New Glarus to sample Two Women as well as the other brews made here, including the pretty popular Spotted Cow. Forget about the beer that “made Milwaukee famous” – New Glarus and Yukon Trails is where it’s at!

Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches, OR.

Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Oregon: The perfect tasting trip could combine a tiny home accommodation at Mt. Hood Tiny House Village and a visit to Deschutes Brewery in nearby Bend. Deschutes has been craft brewing since 1988 and has two really great lagers in their repertoire of beer – Pacific Wonderland and Rip City Lager, whose interesting name has ties to the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team. Want to be even closer to the brewery? Try staying in a yurt or snug cabin at Bend-Sunriver.

D.G. Yuengling & Son, Pottsville, PA.

D.G. Yuengling & Son, Pottsville, Pennsylvania: Reputed to be America’s Oldest Brewery, Yuengling (pronounced ying-ling) offers a traditional amber lager that comes in in a “light” version as well for those watching their waists! Plan a stay at Appalachian RV Campground in a cozy cabin or cottage and head to Pottsville to explore Yuengling’s brewing facilities, which features hand dug caves for fermenting. It’s just about a 25-minute drive through the lovely Pennsylvania Dutch countryside from the campground.

Doghaus Brewery, Leavenworth, Washington: Proving you don’t have to be big to be good, Doghaus Brewery bills itself as a nano-craft brewery with a micro-sized taproom, but nevertheless offers the German Pointer Lager (get the dog reference?). Based on an original blue-ribbon recipe, this one is described as a helles lager, helles being German for “pale in color.” That’s it for this small brewery when it comes to lagers, but they also offer IPAs, stouts, and ales. This is a good place to visit because the Leavenworth Tiny House Village is just 30 minutes away and who wouldn’t want to enjoy some beer in this beautiful spot in the Pacific Northwest?

Leavenworth Tiny House Village in Leavenworth, WA.

If you are looking for a craft brewery near your favorite Petite Retreat, visit www.craftbeer.com for a listing of breweries across the country. Cheers!

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5 Things to Do in… Leavenworth, Washington

Tiny Houses at Leavenworth Tiny House Village in Leavenworth, WA

Even if you choose to do nothing in this quaint little Bavarian-styled village in western Washington, you would still have an enjoyable time. The scenery, with the snowcapped mountains as the backdrop, highlighted by the Bavarian architecture is a visual vacation in itself. However, there are plenty of fun, exciting, and unique things to do here.

Pavilion in town square Leavenworth, Washington
  1. Golfing with Goats: Watch out for Snowball and Hansi, the resident goats at the Enzian Falls Golf Course. This gorgeous 18-hole course, which features beautiful mountain views, a waterfall, and the aforementioned friendly mountain goats, is fun for the whole family.  
  1. Eat: OK, so we realize everyone’s gotta get their three squares a day, but we’re talking about experiencing Leavenworth’s unique offerings one little bite at a time. Stop by the Gingerbread Factory for some delicious gingerbread cookies, plus all the other great cookies made here like gingersnaps and snickerdoodles. A visit to the Leavenworth Sausage Garten will be the wurst experience in a good way when you try the bockwurst, currywurst, bratwurst, and kielbasa, and don’t forget to toss in a side of German potato salad. If you still have room, try a Bavarian pretzel from Munchen Haus.
Traditional Bavarian cuisine featuring bratwurst and pretzels.
  1. Stroll an Organic Garden: The Organic Garden at Sleeping Lady is a two-acre garden planted with herbs, produce, and flowers. Visitors can glimpse wildlife, including hummingbirds and finches, and enjoy the scenery from the beautiful gazebo. 
  1. Walk the Wine Trail: Leavenworth’s local wine trail is unique in the fact that you don’t have to worry about driving while sampling since they are all conveniently located in town and walkable! More than 20 tasting rooms can be found in downtown Leavenworth.
  1. Enjoy the Outdoors: Leavenworth as a vacation destination really appeals to the outdoor lover. There is hiking, biking, mountain biking, white water rafting, and fishing, to start. Waterfront Park has a beautiful trail that runs along the Wenatchee River, which is a great spot for rafting. You can zipline, river tube, horseback ride, climb, and paddleboard in the great outdoors of Leavenworth.
Scenic views from the town of Leavenworth at night.

While exploring all that Leavenworth has to offer, don’t miss your chance to stay at the Leavenworth Tiny House Village. With five adorably named and decorated tiny homes, your Leavenworth experience is sure to feel complete with an accommodation like this.

Family Reunion, Tiny Style

Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches, OR

July is National Family Reunion month. Our tiny home villages offer the perfect opportunity to get the extended family together and still maintain safe distances this summer. Or, start planning now for Family Reunion 2021 and do a little recon on your own this summer to find the perfect location in advance. Each of our tiny homes are full of amenities and bursting with charm. The locations can’t be beat either – plenty of outdoor fun like hiking, biking, and fishing and nearby attractions round out the experience.

Mt. Hood Tiny House Village (Welches, OR): There are seven tiny homes to book here so the family can gather and enjoy the beauty of the Mt. Hood area. Each home has its own unique personality and the homes vary in size in terms of the number of people each can accommodate, but combined, the seven tiny houses at Mt. Hood Village can accommodate 31 people. Layouts are different but each home has a kitchen and full bath!

Things to do in the area include day hikes on the nearly 1000 miles of trails, visiting the historic Timberline Lodge, kayaking and whitewater rafting, and fishing. Don’t miss a trek to Multnomah Falls to view this spectacular 600+-foot tall roaring waterfall.

Leavenworth Tiny House Village (Leavenworth, WA): There are five tiny homes to book here and this is a great spot for a family reunion of 15 people or less. Like the Mt. Hood tiny homes, each home varies in size, but all have a kitchen and full bath.

The town of Leavenworth is a beautiful Bavarian-styled village with quaint shops and eateries, and the unique Nutcracker Museum. The area is also great for outdoor lovers and offers the options of picnics and paddle boats at Lake Wenatchee State Park, hiking the easy 4-mile loop of Icicle Gorge or the more difficult 4-mile round trip of Icicle Ridge, and trying your luck at fly-fishing for which the area has plenty of creeks, rivers, and lakes.

Tuxbury Tiny House Village in South Hampton, NH

Tuxbury Tiny House Village (South Hampton, NH): This is the perfect spot for a family reunion of 20 on the East Coast. Less than an hour to Boston and just thirty minutes from the Salisbury-Hampton beaches on the shores of the Atlantic, this tiny house village, with its five tiny homes, is a prime spot for all kinds of fun.

In Boston, take a history lesson while walking the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail around the city or drop your kayak in the Charles River and paddle around to view Beantown from the water. Get some friendly family competition going with challenges at the horseshoe pits or volleyball court back at Tuxbury or head to the nearby beaches and see how creative each team can get with sandcastle building!

Sunshine Key Tiny House Village in Big Pine Key, FL

Sunshine Key Tiny House Village (Big Pine Key, FL): Five great homes, all unique in layout and personality, come together to provide family reunion accommodations for a group of 20. That’s 20 of your nearest and dearest gathered in in the beautiful Florida Keys to enjoy a family reunion with a taste of the tropics.

Family fun can include deep-sea fishing charters, exploring nearby Bahia State Park or a drive down the Overseas Highway with visits to the other Keys, including Key West and all its Hemingway lore. A great thing about a stay at Sunshine Key is that they have partnered with Key Boat Tours, which has a location onsite and guests can rent bicycles, kayaks, and paddle boards, as well as schedule fishing charters and snorkeling tours. Let our tiny homes welcome you and your family to create the perfect combination for a memorable gathering!

Zoom from a Tiny House!

Add a little dose of tiny to your next Zoom session with friends and family. These Zoom backgrounds will make you feel like you’re in a tiny house while practicing social distancing. Simply download a photo, open Zoom, and select ‘Choose a Virtual Background’ to upload your photo. Happy Zooming!

Sunshine Key Tiny House Village • Big Pine Key, FL

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Sunshine Key Tiny House Village • Big Pine Key, FL

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Sunshine Key Tiny House Village • Big Pine Key, FL

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Sunshine Key Tiny House Village • Big Pine Key, FL

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Sunshine Key Tiny House Village • Big Pine Key,

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Mt Hood Tiny House Village • Welches, OR

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Mt Hood Tiny House Village • Welches, OR

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Mt Hood Tiny House Village • Welches, OR

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Mt Hood Tiny House Village • Welches, OR

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Mt Hood Tiny House Village • Welches, OR

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Leavenworth Tiny House Village • Leavenworth, WA

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Leavenworth Tiny House Village • Leavenworth, WA

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Leavenworth Tiny House Village • Leavenworth, WA

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Leavenworth Tiny House Village • Leavenworth, WA

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Leavenworth Tiny House Village • Leavenworth, WA

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Tuxbury Tiny House Village • South Hampton, NH

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Tuxbury Tiny House Village • South Hampton, NH

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Tuxbury Tiny House Village • South Hampton, NH

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Tuxbury Tiny House Village • South Hampton, NH

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Tuxbury Tiny House Village • South Hampton, NH

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Tuxbury Tiny House Village • South Hampton, NH

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Forest Bathing – No Water Required!

Forest Bathing is the latest way to go off grid and absorb the benefits of nature.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was a boom in technology that plunged the average, everyday person into the digital world, resulting in what could be called screen-time addiction. During that time, the use of home computers, hand-held video games, and portable pocket-sized devices for our viewing and listening pleasures became the norm rather than the exception.

So, it’s no wonder that in the early 1980s, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries began to promote the practice of shinrin-yoku to encourage people to spend time in nature. Shinrin-yoku translates to “forest bathing,” which is fast becoming a popular way to go off grid and absorb the benefits of nature.  ­

Studies have shown plenty of positive health benefits of forest bathing. It reduces levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. It also has been proven to lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, boost energy levels, and provide more sound sleep.  Plus, you don’t necessarily need to do anything strenuous – simply bathe in the natural surroundings and be present in the very moment!

Come stay with us and enjoy the nearby forests and take the plunge (no bathtub necessary) to see why forest bathing is making such a big splash these days.

The Deschutes National Forest is just minutes from the yurts and cabins at Bend-Sunriver. Bask in the beauty of the soaring trees, which include Douglas firs, Ponderosa pines, Western larch, and White pines. There are roughly 76 moderate trails in the 1.8 million acres that comprise the forest. Waterfalls, wildlife, and mountain views add to your bathing pleasure!

Safari Tents at Rancho Oso in Santa Barbara, CA.

If you’re planning a trip to Santa Barbara to stay in a teepee, tent, covered wagon, or cabin at Rancho Oso, you’ll be happy to know California’s Los Padres National Forest is conveniently less than 10 miles away and provides the perfect forest bathing venue. Coming in at approximately 1.9 million acres, Los Padres has over 1000 miles of trails and is home to magnificent coastal redwoods, pine and fir trees as well a variety of oak tree species, including Blue Oak and California Black Oak. Oh, and Pfeiffer Beach is also located within the forest so you can actually get wet while forest bathing here!

The Tuxbury Tiny House Village

The Tuxbury Tiny House Village in South Hampton, New Hampshire, has two nearby options for forest bathing: Cowden State Forest and Powwow River State Forest. While a short drive away, about an hour and a half to be exact, this puts you smack dab in the middle of the White Mountain Forest with plenty of hemlock, pines, and spruce trees to bathe in. Fun fact, the state of New Hampshire is the second most forested state in the US with roughly 81 percent of forest land, so everywhere you look, there’s an option to forest bathe!

Cabins at Tranquil Timbers in Sturgeon Bay, WI.

Take a trip to Wisconsin’s Door County and you’ll find yourself surrounded by forest lands, including Baileys Harbor Boreal Forest and Wetlands. A stay at Tranquil Timbers is a great way to get your daily dose of forest bathing. Baileys is home to spruce, cedar, birch, and hemlock trees as well as a bevy of birds including warblers and merlins who can add the soundtrack to bath time.

Mt. Hood Tiny Population Grows!

Meet Ingrid, one of the newest tiny houses at the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village
Meet Ingrid, one of the newest tiny houses at the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village

We are so excited to reveal that the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village has grown with the addition of two new tinies. Joining the existing five tiny houses, Zoe, Lincoln, Scarlett, Atticus, and Savannah are Anderson and Ingrid. The perfect complement to the existing gang, Anderson and Ingrid bring their own stories to the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village and provide two more marvelous opportunities to vacation tiny at Mt. Hood.

Anderson is all about the modern design and is a bike enthusiast to boot! For him, it’s all about the bike – mountain bikes, comfort bikes, road bikes, new bikes, old bikes. Find him a trail and he’ll gladly pedal it! When he’s not atop a two-wheeled machine, he’s most likely perusing a design blog, with a freshly brewed coffee in hand from his AeroPress. Green and minimalist are two more adjectives to describe this guy and the Pacific Northwest and its vast expanse of greenery and biking trails is Anderson’s happy place.

Anderson

Ingrid can best be described as a book lover but turn back a few pages and you’ll find she’s so much more than that. A lover of podcasts, craft beer and breweries she’s equally at home in a library as well as the great outdoors. She’s hard working, curious, and makes it a daily goal to learn something new or see things from a new perspective. An innovator, a reader, and a burgeoning social butterfly, Ingrid is a great addition to the tiny home collection at Mt. Hood.

At a robust 332 square feet, Anderson has room to sleep 7. Cedar plank siding with, of course, a modern design, the tiny home houses a full bathroom, kitchen, and a large living space. Anderson’s sleeping situation is two large queen beds in the loft, one queen bed on the first floor and a pullout couch that folds down to a twin bed, also on the first floor. No pets, please.

Ingrid

Ingrid, of course, boasts a Scandinavian design with sleek modern lines. At 385 square feet, five can sleep comfortably selecting from two queen/full beds in the loft, and a pullout couch that folds down to a twin bed on the first floor. A full bathroom, large living space, and kitchen add to the charm that is Ingrid. No pets, please. (Lincoln is our pet friendly tiny house!)

Mt. Hood is one of those destinations that is an all-star any time of year. In winter, the draw of the ski hills, snow-laden trails and snow-capped mountain views are the reason to visit while summer brings opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and swimming. And again, trails upon trails for hiking, biking and walking in the great Pacific Northwest are a major reason to add Mt. Hood to your to-do list.

Mt Hood Tiny House Village Tumbleweed

The Mt. Hood area must-dos include hiking the Timberline trail, driving the Mt. Hood Scenic Loop, a visit to the historic Timberline Lodge and exploring the beauty of Trillium Lake.

Don’t miss an opportunity to visit this breathtaking location in the Pacific Northwest and to make one of Mt. Hood Village’s tiny homes your place to stay when you’re here! Visit www.mthoodtinyhouse.com for information on making reservations!

Can You Dig It? A short guide to fossil hunting sites in the US

Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport, Oregon.

October 16 is National Fossil Day, which was established to promote the scientific and educational value of fossils. According to the National Geographic Society, a fossil is the preserved remains, or traces of remains, of ancient animals or plants. They are important in helping us discover the evolution of life and how life was lived thousands and thousands of years ago. Most fossils are formed when a plant or animal dies in a watery location and becomes buried in silt or mud. Celebrate National Fossil Day this year and see what treasures you can unearth. We’ve listed a few well-known fossil hunting sites here.

Capitola Beach, in Capitola, California, is a great spot to hunt for fossils during low tide. This little beach town can offer the motherlode of fossils thanks to the Purisima Formation, a geologic formation which preserves fossils from the Late Miocene and Early Pleistocene Era. Bones of whales and seals, as well as sea urchins and bivalves, and been unearthed here along with the rare shark tooth.

The fossilized bones of a mastodon, a camel, and a mammoth have turned up in Florida’s Peace River which has also revealed plenty of shark teeth, some as large as seven inches. Collecting shark teeth does not require a permit but if you’re digging for anything bigger, you need both a boat and a permit. There are plenty of guided tours available or you can go it alone, wading into the river from any of the public landings – but be aware of all the living flora and fauna!

Chesapeake Bay
Cozy cabins from Chesapeake Bay, about an hour from Westmoreland State Park.

Beverly Beach State Park in Newport, Oregon, is a beautiful beach with rock formations dating back millions of years that are filled with fossils. Winter is the best time for fossil hunting here thanks to the storms that dislodge several layers of sandstone unearthing new (old!) fossils. Petrified wood, dating back some 15-20 million years, and agate stones can also be found here.

Mineral Wells Fossil Park, in Mineral Wells, Texas, has an abundance of “Pennsylvanian Period” fossils, which date back some 318 million years! Thanks in part due to the erosion of the city’s borrow pit (which is a spot where material has been dug out for use at another location), fossils of ancient sea species have been found here which have included primitive sharks, brachiopods (marine animals in hard shells), crinoids (sea lilies), and pelecypods (clams and oysters).

Westmoreland State Park in Montross, Virginia, is a well-known location for fossil hunting and has been known to turn up shark teeth, whale teeth, and fish bones and vertebrae dating to the Miocene Age. There is a portion of the park known as Fossil Beach and it’s a great place to find shark teeth, including those of the megalodon. Situated between two towering bluffs, the beach is a short walk from the Visitors Center, and here you can sift through the sand using a colander or sand sifter (no major equipment allowed).

Pacific City • IG: @ofwildestheart
Yurt interior photo from Pacific City near Beverly Beach State Park. IG: @ofwildestheart