There was a time when Vern and Arlo Mallory had six kids and lived in a 3,800-square foot house in Wenatchee, Washington.But now ,their children are well into adulthood and the Mallorys are enjoying their retirement in a 500 square foot tiny home with a 300 square foot add on room at Sky Valley Resort.
“We really have a much simpler life now,” Arlo said. “We don’t have six children living with us anymore. We’re not paying for college any more, and living in a park model, it’s less to take care of. I really don’t miss the big house.”
Growing numbers of retirees are finding that a tiny home lifestyle makes financial sense, and that when they purchase homes at Sky Valley Resort and Caliente Springs, they not only get to enjoy affordable living, but a resort lifestyle as well.
The two gated resorts feature four swimming pools; 10 Jacuzzis fed by natural hot springs; pickleball and tennis courts; several manmade lakes; a 3 park, 9 hole golf course; plus an extensive winter activities program.
Health and wellness activities feature water exercise programs, while arts and crafts classes include acrylic and watercolor painting as well as dichroid glass and pressed flower crafts. The resort also has computer classes and a variety of clubs for photography, hiking and book reading enthusiasts, among other hobbies. Nighttime activities include Friday night dances and Karaoke, while special events include craft fairs and dinner dance parties. The resorts also have an onsite chapel ministry with Bible study programs and related social activities.
Many of the retirees who purchase homes at Sky Valley Resort and Caliente Springs are snowbirds from the Pacific Northwest and Canada. But the resorts also attract empty nesters from Southern California and RV enthusiasts from across the country.
Lisa Gullihur, who works at the front desk at Sky Valley Resort, is originally from the Los Angeles area. But she grew up camping at the resort when her grandparents came to the desert. As an adult, she also came to the resort as an RVer with her husband.
But like many visitors, the Gillihurs soon found it was too difficult to leave Sky Valley Resort on Sundays so they eventually sold their home in the Los Angeles area and relocated to a mobile home at the resort. They have been at resort for 14 years and now live in a park model.
The Mallorys, for their part, didn’t downsize overnight. After their last child moved out, they sold their Wenatchee home and bought a duplex in Maui, where they lived and worked for 15 years. Vern worked in the jewelry business in Maui while Arlo worked as a dental assistant.
But when the Mallorys retired, they came back to the U.S. mainland, bought a 40-foot Holiday Rambler, and spent 10 years traveling on and off across the country, including three years as full-time RVers.
While the Mallorys enjoyed their travels, they kept coming back to the Coachella Valley every fall, where they could enjoy eight or nine months of the best weather in North America along with magnificent views of the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains.
When they discovered Sky Valley Resort, Vern said they knew they had finally found an attractive and affordable resort they could call home. They initially purchased a 1,250 square foot mobile home at the resort. But they eventually discovered they could stretch their retirement dollars even further by downsizing into a park model, which is essentially a tiny home.
“It’s half the rent. There is no property tax. The insurance is less. Everything is less,” he said.
Yet the Mallorys can still take advantage of all of the amenities and activities that Sky Valley Resort and Caliente Springs have to offer,.
“You can’t live any cheaper and have all the amenities we have here,” he said. “Where else can you live for $400 a month?”
Gulliher, for her part, said that park models offer an enticing alternative to RVers who are ready to settle down in a community that offers a resort lifestyle. “For what you can spend these days on an RV, you can get a really nice home at Sky Valley Resort or Caliente Springs, plus all the activities and the hot mineral springs.”