“When we were kids, we built a fort beneath a sheet. Everything was fine under there. It was a great feeling there in that small space,” said Danny Anderson of Franklin. “I guess I’ve been looking all my life for another fort, a place where everything’s fine.”

He found his fort in the shape of a tiny home in an upscale gated community, Deer Lick Falls, in Monteagle. Anderson, managing broker of the downtown Franklin PARKS realty office, was treated to an early glimpse of this unique wooded development by a colleague, Jack Miller.

Miller, a Realtor and brand ambassador for Deer Lick Falls, introduced several Realtor friends just as the community was becoming available.

“We sold out the 48 lots in two and a half weeks,” said Miller, a life-long outdoorsman who also purchased a lot for himself. “We love it up there. A hiking trail winds through the area, there’s a huge waterfall, one of the largest in the state, a party pavilion for residents, but most of all, peace and quiet in the woods.”

While tiny homes have become a thing in recent years, appealing to folks who want to simplify daily life, as well as those who want a second home retreat, they date back centuries.

Marie Antoinette had a 225-square-foot home of her own; while things didn’t work out well in the end, one would presume she had good years in her little home.

In the 1840’s, author Henry David Thoreau built a 150-square foot residence at Walden Pond on land given to him by poet friend Ralph Waldo Emerson. He lived a quiet life there for two years, from whence came his most renowned book, Walden.

There’s no guarantee residents will become authors at Oakstone Land and Capitals’s second mountain community, Retreat at Waters Edge, but who knows. Time spent in this heavily wooded, small, quiet, peaceful place brings its own rewards.

Like Deer Lick Falls, this community is gated. Tiny homes are spread out around a 95-acre lake. Homes in both communities are in the 400 to 600 square feet arena. Amazingly, they have every amenity.

“We have 140 lots at Waters Edge,” said Miller. “Some have lake views, others are intertwined in deep forests. Like Deer Lick, this is a gated community. The homes may be small, but they’re luxurious.”

The best things come in small boxes, as the old adage goes.

Waters Edge looks and feels like Nashville area Radnor Lake. Fishing is good; hikes are plentiful. No motor boats are allowed on the lake, only kayaks, canoes and electric boats. No loud motors here to slice into this peaceful place.

These small mobile homes are built off-site, then placed on lots. Each homeowner chooses porches, driveways, landscaping, and of course the style of the home. Oakstone offers 13 different models, ranging from contemporary to rustic.

Chip Hayes, the developer of the retreats, says “We build roads around trees. We are determined to keep the woods as woods,” he said.

“The homes, and the communities are amenity rich. At Waters Edge we have party docks and fishing docks. Homes are upscale with luxury exteriors and interior finishes. Kitchens sport granite and quartz; ceilings are 12-foot.

Waters Edge is in Tracy City, near Deer Lick Falls. Each community is close to Sewanee and Monteagle’s many offerings including restaurants and shops, a Piggy Wiggly grocery and hikes aplenty.

Miller says most homes are used as second homes; many are on a rental program. Some are inhabited by full time residents. Those on rental programs may be found on Air B and B or are rented directly from the owners.

The communities have firepits, playgrounds and pavilions for parties, cook-outs and gatherings.

Miller, who specializes in luxury properties, says luxury is not limited to 5,000 square foot second homes on 30A in Florida.

“These retreats are high end, but with small price tags, and only about an hour and a half away,” he said. “Sometimes we go up for the entire weekend, or even for just one night since it’s so close to home. We love the outdoors; it’s a safe and peaceful place for families and couples.”

Anderson says he and his wife, Teresa, just love their tiny home.

“It’s so pretty up there. So quiet. Ours looks a bit like an English cottage with its shake roof. We have friends up there, so we often go out to lunch or dinner in area eateries. Well, prior to social distancing and the coronavirus. It’s a great escape up there. A place of peace,” he said.

Retreat at Deer Lick Falls,

Retreat at Waters Edge

Developer, Oakstone Land

and Capital, Chip Hayes,

(615) 927-1413

Realtor and listing agent,

Jack Miller with PARKS, downtown Franklin.

(615) 308-7776.

Buyers own the lot and the home. Prices are in the $100,000 to $200,000 range. As rentals, they are income producing.

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