The SpaceThe Gnome Dome has proven invaluable to me in my time to Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. It has provided me with shelter over the first few winters while I established my other infrastructure. It has taught me important lessons about what does and doesn't work in buildings, and how to fix those things. And it has been an outlet for creativity and troubleshooting challenges in tiny house design.
Physically, it is an earth bag dome embedded into a hill and opening out onto a patio (this patio will be brick, but is currently gravel). It's a very round space-- it's hard to find a straight line anywhere! While very quaint and cozy, the Gnome Dome is a very small space. The custom bed is about 6'3" long. I'm 6', and it has served me through two winters, but it's something you should be aware of, particularly if you're tall.
It will be comfortable, but the exterior landscaping is far from finished (I will likely be installing stone masonry while you're there). It will be cool, but it may be humid (humidity is a big part of the weather here in NE Missouri). It does have a fan/ventilation system to help condition the air.
I have since moved into my own house, but few things delight me more than seeing others use and appreciate this space! Guest AccessGNOME DOME AMENITIES:
Internet: Wi-Fi, good signal
Bedding: I'll have clean bedding on the bed upon your arrival, beyond that laundry is your responsibility.
Kitchen: None. There are meal options available (see below). I can make half of my dorm fridge available if you let me know beforehand, otherwise there isn't refrigeration available.
Bathroom: There is a rustic outhouse (and hand washing station) 20 feet away. There are also modern facilities (toilet, bath, shower, sinks) in the common house (see below).
Heat/AC: There is a custom masonry mass heater for the winter, and a ventilation system for the summer. (The space is generally comfortable due to being partly underground.)
DANCING RABBIT ECOVILLAGE: The Gnome Dome is located at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, an intentional community of about 50 adults. We're ecologically oriented, so there's a lot of alternative sights to see and experience while here. Many houses use timber framing, strawbale, cob, or otherwise green construction techniques. We use consensus governance through a village council. Folks who live here focus on conservation and a mindfulness of the natural world around us, and we encourage guests to do the same, as you're inclined.
A stay in the Gnome Dome includes a walking tour of Dancing Rabbit. This can be anything from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how much information you want! By staying here, you'll get an interesting window into a radical and dynamic environmental experiment (don't worry, we're also down to earth).
COMMON HOUSE: Many of your needs will be met by the Common House, which is about a 3 minute walk away. This building is one of the few shared buildings at Dancing Rabbit (most homes are privately owned). Here you will find bathrooms, showers, laundry ($1.75 per load), library, shared office space with scanner / printer, and social lounge area. (You should be aware that our bathrooms use a composting system, and therefore don't use flush toilets. I am happy to give more information.)
FOOD: For food and dining, guests are welcome to eat with the Critter Collective, my food co-op that serves about 8 folks. We can cater to all dietary needs. We're an agriculturally based subcommunity, so there may be ducks at large! We ask for $7-$10 (sliding scale) per meal per person to cover the cost of food and time. We ask for a 24 hour notice to accommodate meals. We eat lunch and dinner, so breakfast is not available. Other food options are as follows:
MILKWEED MERCANTILE: A few minutes away from the Gnome Dome is the "Milkweed Mercantile." Functioning primarily as a pub, it also sells various snacks, pastries, toiletries, and souvenirs. The Mercantile serves a full breakfast on Sunday morning and handmade pizza on Thursday evening. They also serve coffee every morning 8 - 9 AM.
ZIMMERMAN'S GROCERY/DINER: Three miles from the village is the amazing Zimmerman's Grocery store and diner. This is a quality and comprehensive Mennonite run operation. They package most of the dry goods themselves. Lots of tinctures, salves, and herbal treatments. The place is open from 8-5 Mon thru Sat and serves classic diner comfort food.
RUTLEDGE MEAT MARKET: If you like meat or cheese, you're in the right spot. This small town country butcher shop is very friendly, affordable, and offers top quality simple food.
TRAILS: The village is located on a 280 acre land trust that includes a few miles of trails through prairie and woodland.
SWIMMING: Just outside the village is a nice swimming pond. The entire village is clothing optional - adult and child swimmers are often naked (no need for alarm). On the "beach" is a small floating dock, a few wooden chairs, and a drying platform under an osage tree. This swimming hole is quite popular during the warm season. Interaction with GuestsYou'll get a warm welcome! Guests can expect a general orientation to Dancing Rabbit and the Gnome Dome, plus a tour that's customized for your interests and time table.
In general, exercising common courtesy is all that's needed when interacting with other folks at Dancing Rabbit. For example, please ask folks if it's alright to take their picture before snapping shots. Some areas of the village are nudity optional (like the swimming pond), so please be aware. The NeighborhoodYou're encouraged to find more information about Dancing Rabbit by searching "Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage" online. We have a comprehensive website. Getting AroundDancing Rabbit is designed as a pedestrian village. Most places can be traveled by foot within minutes. Our internal roads are surfaced with small gravel, so biking is possible, although mountain bikes work better than road bikes (also, we are located on a gravel road). Towns nearby include Rutledge (5 min by car), Memphis (20 min by car), Kirksville (45 min), and Quincy (1 hour). Other Things to NoteThis space is extremely small. I have it listed as suitable for two, because I didn't want to absolutely exclude pairs of people for whom it might work. I myself overwintered there with my girlfriend. But please note that for the most part, this space is best for one person. Drinking water can be found at a hydrant, a stone's throw from the Dome (it is county water). Checking in after dark can be difficult for all parties, and is not recommended. Toiletry items such as shampoo and soap need to be biodegradable (like Dr. Bronner's etc), or they may harm our greywater drainage system.