Tiny House Expo ...and other various adventures!

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We had an awesome weekend about a month ago, in mid-May. On that Thursday night, after Wiehan returned home from work, we went for a beautiful evening walk together - a favorite pastime when we’re eager to get outside in the fresh air, but in need of a rest day from cardio. The next day, Wiehan was able to leave work 90 minutes early, so we went for a fun bike ride and picnic along the W&OD trail. Wiehan rode his bike from the house and I arrived on the trail an hour later by car. We met up and cycled for an hour and then veered off the trail to pick up dinner at SweetGreen in Reston Town Center. With our dinner in hand, we found a quiet bench along the trail to sit and eat. Forget dressing up for fancy dinners or parties! This basically sums up a perfect Friday night for us. 

The next morning, we woke up early and hit the road for Fredericksburg. After two straight hours in stop-and-go traffic along 95, we arrived at the Tiny House Expo! And first, if you haven’t yet heard about tiny house dwellings, let me explain. The term “tiny house” is typically used to describe a home that is built on a flatbed trailer. It can be plugged into a grid system for water and electricity, or it can be furnished with things like solar panels, rain barrels and compost toilets, to allow the resident to utilize mother nature’s plentiful resources. There are two benefits to building on the trailer: 1) The house can be moved several times, depending on whether or not its been built to withstand a road trip - beneficial for people who aren’t 100% sure where they want to settle down. 2) If the house is built on a trailer, it’s not considered a residence, and thus is not subject to mortgage taxation. I wrote more about it in my last post.

We were particularly smitten with the porch on Craft & Sprout’s home, and the general layout of the Sugarloaf Tiny House presented by Humble Houses. We have a running list of items we want to include in our home, as well as a general idea about layout. We want tons of natural light through skylights, big windows, and perhaps even glass doors. And we want to be off the grid, so we listened to the talk titled Solar/Wind Hybrid Systems for Tinies by Ken Kotalik of Primus Windpower and Kyle Norton of AltE Store. It was super technical and we’ll consult with and hire an electrician when the time comes to install the components we need. But the biggest take away was learning that there’s a solar and wind hybrid energy solution, which is best located by water, on a mountain or pretty much anywhere in the U.S. that isn’t Virginia and the states directly below it. Here’s the United States Annual Average Wind Power map, if you’re curious.

The only thing stopping us from starting the building process for now is not knowing where to park the house. There was supposed to be a talk at the expo titled “Where Can I Park It? Zoning Issues,” but instead there was a talk about downsizing. Permanent residency in a tiny house is technically illegal in most of America. So for now, we dream and plan.

When we walked outside the expo center, it was HOT! Hello July weather in May! With the air conditioning on full blast, we drove to historic downtown Fredericksburg for lunch at The Mercantile. Wiehan had a burger, but allowed me steal most of his fries off his plate (he’s the nicest!). I had a summer salad with chickpeas, blueberries and grilled chicken. Then we shared an ice coffee from Hyperion Espresso. We’ve come to know and love these spots from photographing weddings and engagement portrait sessions in beautiful Fredericksburg. Next, we drove to Old Mill Park and parked in the shade and changed into running gear. We first went for a casual stroll and followed a trail that led to the shore of the Rappahannock River. After a little bit of exploring, we walked up to the Rappahannock River Heritage Trail and decided to start our run. Wiehan went on ahead of me, as I got off to a slow start. I ran for about 1200 meters and then slowed down to a walking pace. Gosh, it is HOT! I said out loud. I stopped and took a picture with my phone of all the people out on the water with rafts. That looks way more fun, I thought. And then I started back up with the running - very slow running. All in all, I ran 2.6 miles, with an average pace of 10:15 / mile. I turned around when I saw Wiehan coming back my way. We both expressed how hot it was and then he passed me and headed back toward the park. I walked and jogged my way back. By the time I got back to the car, I was completely out of breath and had to walk it off in the shade, while Wiehan insisted I drink the rest of his ice cold water (seriously, this guy is the best!). 

We continued to cool down with a 9-minute Runner Cool-Down session from the Nike Training Club app. Well, Wiehan did the stretches. I just kept walking in a circle, trying to shake off the heat. Eventually, we got ourselves back in the car, stopped at the filling station for extra hydration, and then headed back up 95. That evening, we had a fun dinner together with some family, in honor of Mother’s Day. And the next day, Wiehan and I were back up and ready for our next adventure - fun on a farm! Read about it here!

- Christin

What's your idea of a perfect Friday evening to help you unwind from a busy week? And what do you think - is a tiny house too tiny??