Long-time best friends of 30-years build a tiny town where they can grow old together. Take a tour at the “Llano Exit Strategy” below:

What do you want to do with your life after retirement? When confronted with similarly hectic lifestyles and schedules, a group of Texas couples decided to guarantee themselves a lifetime of group getaways nearly 30 years ago. To be closer to each other and the environment, the couples decided to establish a tiny town for themselves. They have built a community known as the “Llano Exit Strategy” outside of Austin, Texas, consisting of four tiny cottages facing the Llano River.

The tiny town built by friends who will retire together.

They discussed their options over several glasses of wine and dinners, which ranged from purchasing a fleet of expensive Airstream trailers to purchasing a piece of land on the Texas coast, which is also expensive and far, according to Outside. When they finally settled down, they became a more practical bunch. Because three of the four couples lived in Austin, their “exit strategy” had to be within 90 minutes of the city, or visiting and keeping up would be difficult.

The tiny cottages at the Llano Exit Strategy

The living area must be large enough for the four couples to spend as much time as possible together, but they also require bedrooms and bathrooms, and it must be as environmentally friendly as possible. According to Jodi Zipp, who co-led the search with her husband, Fred, they desired a location where they could spend a lot of time together eating, drinking, and hanging out while also providing solitude and separation for those who needed to get away from the gang.

Interior view of the tiny cottage

Meanwhile, in states such as Vermont, California, and Colorado, the tiny-house movement was gaining traction. Miniature houses, typically less than 1,000 square feet in size, were glamorized online and then built in real life, fueled by the 2008 recession and a less-is-more attitude toward living spaces. In March 2011, the group purchased 10 acres of land on the Llano River and met with architect Matt Garcia to discuss potential plans.

Living area of the Commons building with tv and comfy sofa

Garcia proposed a tiny town of small, eco-friendly cottages, implying that only some things must be bigger in Texas. “Everything just clicked,” Garcia says. “I mean, there are only so many ways to arrange a queen-size bed, loveseat, and bathroom, so we had the basic concepts in hours. You can move quickly and have a lot of fun with these kinds of projects.”

Commons building's extra room with two double deck beds.

The 400-square-foot tiny homes, which cost around $40,000, were designed to be as environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible. When there is no burn ban, guests can use everything, including the kitchen, laundry room, kayaks, canoes, outdoor shower, and any of the four campfires. The “Llano Exit Strategy” quickly became popular. “All the attention was unexpected, but also affirming,” Jodi says. “It made us realize how many people value the idea of having a dedicated space to spend time with your friends as you get older.”

The tiny cottage's two queen size beds.

Meanwhile, Matt’s architecture firm has received numerous emails and phone calls from people who want a tiny town or something similar for their groups of friends.

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