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When you've had your fill of car-choked streets and the clamor of the city, nature makes for a perfect retreat. And what better way to relax from the stress of the big city than to shrink into the woods?
There are a few caveats -- the water is shut off for half the year. And you won't own the land, which belongs to the government. What you get is the little cabin (you'll own the rights to the structure) and a 20-year lease on a quarter-acre of land close to rivers and lakes -- which is more than enough time to get in touch with your own "Walden."
"That's the nice thing about these cabins," says Carol Butler, owner of 50 Cabins. "Waterfront, lakefront, nearby creeks -- [at these prices] you just couldn't touch it if it were on 'real' property." Butler's company rents and sells cabins in the area, which has been a vacation spot for almost a century.
According to Butler, in the early 1900s folks from the Sacramento area headed east to the Lake Tahoe Basin area and built vacation cabins.
This particular cabin was built in 1936, long before tiny houses were trendy. The 498-square-foot home is made almost entirely of cedar and pine wood. And while there's an outhouse on the property, it has since been converted into a shed. (No worries, though: There's indoor plumbing.)
The interior's exposed and finished wood surfaces reinforce the living-in-the-forest feeling. Butler notes some cabins have been renovated to look completely modern, but this cabin's owner wanted to maintain the traditional style.
Those looking for a year-round retreat should look elsewhere, as should buyers who require financing. Butler says the water is turned off from around Halloween through Mother's Day. Also, since banks don't offer mortgages for this type of property, buyers will need to pay in cash.
And not everyone who owns a cabin in these woods is swimming in money. Butler says "anybody and everybody" -- from "senators, doctors, [and] lawyers" to "single moms and plumbers -- can enjoy cabin living.
"When you come to the cabin, it doesn't matter what you do," she says.