Despite the exploding popularity of tiny houses, there are still relatively few options to experience tiny living first-hand. Even scarcer, legal parking options. But how do you go about changing all of that? Meet Abby Hobson, a young, enthusiastic entrepreneur with a big vision.
Tiny Estates aims to e people the opportunity to create their own opinion of what a tiny house and being in one can be like. So much of the tiny house “struggle” is due to misunderstanding or lack of awareness so we aim to combat that. Our goal is to showcase different tiny home opportunities- for full time living, as an investment, or as a unique lodging experience for nightly stays in order to provide a boilerplate of what can be done for tiny homes across the country. Ultimately Tiny Estates aims to build tiny house communities nationwide in order to bring the unique experience to many!
Abby Hobson, CEO of Tiny Estates
Tiny Estates is a tiny house resort community in Elizabethtown, PA. It features short-term tiny house rentals and long-term lot rentals– bring your own tiny home on wheels. Guests can currently choose from 14 nightly rentals, each distinct, varying in size, layout and style. If CEO, Abby Hobson so chooses, there could ultimately be up to 100 tiny houses at Tiny Estates, with 10% reserved for full-timers and handful set aside for those traveling through, like us. We recently pulled in with our tiny home on wheels for a week-long stay. My first impression: how beautiful! It is set on a large wooded lot with gentle rolling hills, well manicured lawns and two ponds, complete with ducks and a family of geese. The individual tiny house lots are sizeable, by RV park standards, and are skewed from one another. There is an overall quaint village feel, emphasized by the community spaces with fire rings, grills, picnic tables, hot tubs and outdoor games like cornhole and giant Jenga. I was blown away by how near the surrounding neighborhood is to Tiny Estates. It’s practically a pocket neighborhood, while still retaining a semi-secluded feel.
The “big house” neighbors are ecstatic about Tiny Estates. There is no NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) attitudes here. That’s because the old campground had become a major eyesore and source of distress for the neighborhood. Crime and drug use were common. One neighbor, Ron the Bagman, described it as a literal trash dump. But he said it wasn’t always that way. For many years, it was a delightful family campground. Past campers helped Ron build the deck off the back of his house. But after the owners moved off the property, the campground began to operate like a wild west mobile home park with little to no oversight. There were numerous unpermitted and unsafe features, as well as subpar maintenance and sanitation.
Abby had searched all over Pennsylvania for land to park her first tiny house. All the planning departments she dealt with were unable or unwilling to help her overcome the zoning obstacles. But when she discovered the old campground in Lancaster County, she saw an opportunity to turn a problem property into positive community solution. The local officials agreed and eagerly worked with her to ensure the successful redevelopment of this property. Regarding allowed length of stay, it was determined that a long-term tiny house resident could stay for 180 days; then the resident, not the structure, is required to leave for one day. After basically a “day-cation”, the resident can stay for another 180 days. A simple and solid work-around for full-timers.
Abby took in upon herself to meet all the neighbors to address any of their concerns. One thing that came out of the conversations was granting permission for the neighbors to fish at Tiny Estates two ponds. It was a beautiful thing to see Ron and his sons come by each evening to fish. Ron explained to us that this simple kindness had given his sons a sense of ownership and pride about the new tiny house community. They make sure to pick up after themselves and are courteous to all Tiny Estates guests.
Currently, there is one full-time resident, Cody, the on-site caretaker. He built this own tiny home but had nowhere to park it. After connecting with Abby, he settled at Tiny Estates before it was open. Ever since he has helped develop the land and is now eagerly awaiting the arrival of his first full-time tiny house neighbors coming in July. These folks will be parking in the upper section, set aside for full-timers, with room for a community garden. Lot rent is $600 per month and includes all utilities (water, sewer, electric, propane, and internet), as well as grounds maintenance and access to site amenities. The list of amenities will be growing tremendously over the next couple of years. New additions will include a community/event center, pool, rocking climbing wall, and renovated docks.
Whether you’re looking for a place to call home or a temporary tiny living experience, you can sign-up for a daily tour or book night’s stay in one of Tiny Estates many beautiful tiny houses. Since opening this Spring, one of their guests has returned each month for a week-long stay. Her goal is to try out each tiny house to determine what would work best in her future tiny home. During our stay, we were charmed by Abby and her team. She has designed and decorated many of the tiny house rentals, each named in honor of those who made Tiny Estates possible. Abby stays in each one before opening to guests. Her goal is to ensure a high-quality experience for her guests. It was apparent to us that she is not only business savvy but sincerely wants to see her community become a shiny example of how to incorporate tiny housing into communities everywhere. Abby and her fiancé, Ryan, are currently converting a school bus. Stay tuned skoolies and treehouses could be available for short-term rentals in the future at Tiny Estates!
Would you live here? Let us know in the comments below.
-Alexis Stephens, Tiny House Blog contributor