White Hawk is situated on 120 acres of land. About ten acres are forested, and we are actively working with a forester on reforesting with native species. There are two creeks, a few ponds, and wild blackberries, raspberries, and ramps for picking. We often see beautiful sunsets and enjoy a lovely view to the east. Actually, all the views are lovely, but that one tends to elicit the strongest response. At night, we can see the glow of Ithaca off to the north, but the darkness here is great for stargazing.

Walking on the land, you’re likely to see deer or stumble upon their tramped down sleeping areas. You might spot groundhogs, rabbits, and hawks. You’ll probably see cats and kids wandering around. You’ll likely hear roosters crowing and geese honking in the day, and coyotes and owls doing their thing at night. Bears have been stumbled upon, and bobcats have been captured on trailcams.

According to soil testing done by Cornell University, there are about 30 acres of good farmland. This land has been farmed in the past, and two of our members are starting farms on this land. We are interested in growing crops and warmly welcome anyone else who wants to grow more food. For now we garden close to our homes.

What have the humans added to the White Hawk land so far?

  • A play area, fire pit with picnic table and community garden in the inner circle
  • Dozens of nut and fruit trees
  • A community sauna
  • Coppice grove
  • Backyard gardens that include rainwater collection, high tunnels for growing season extension, small ponds, work pods and artist studios, compost making systems, and backyard chickens and coops
  • Trails
  • Collectively cared for chickens
  • Pastured land for turkeys, heritage pigs, sheep and rabbits (none of these beings currently call White Hawk home, but maybe they will again someday!)
  • A blueberry grove
  • One acre of hazelnut trees
  • A farm producing heirloom dry beans, popcorn, and other crops (Check out the awesome dry bean CSA Buttermilk Bean, started by White Hawk member and farmer)
  • A fledgling young farm with hundreds of hazelnuts and plans for much, much more.

Our Village: the Residential Section of the Property

Pictured above is an artist’s rendition of White Hawk. “The village” is the circle in the middle where the homes are located. As you can see, there are plans for a centrally-located common house surrounded by a circle of 30 homes.

Homes may be single or multi-family units. Part of the appeal of White Hawk is the fact that members can build individually-designed units on private lots within a circular village pattern. Affordability is an important part of our mission. Lots cost $40k and come ready with hook-ups to septic, water, and electricity. A few of the homes here have received affordability grants, and we successfully partnered with Habitat for Humanity to have a house built here in 2022 (we wanted to have more than one built, but we only received funding for the one). Costs have increased in the last few years, but many of our members have found ways to keep costs down, be it through modest design, chipping in themselves to reduce labor costs, or finding builders who are amendable to working within a budget.  Larger and more complex homes are of course possible for those with a flexible budget. At White Hawk your home is truly what you make of it!

White Hawk homes are built with sustainability in mind. What that means is up to the imagination and preferences of the homeowners. We do have general guidelines in place; you may request a copy. Folks have worked with a number of local builders here — current houses range from SIPS construction, log cabins, and timber frame straw bale, to post frame barn style homes.  So long as it is up to code by our town, anything is possible. If you see a house here that makes your heart sign, we are happy to put you in touch with its builder or designer.  Interested households are also welcome to work with any designer or builder they wish. A few houses here were designed and built by their highly skilled owners themselves (“self-builds”).

The village center has plenty of room for recreation. Right now it contains a play area, a chicken coop with twenty or thirty chickens, fire pit with a picnic table, community garden and a bunch of fruit trees. Our common house will be built there someday. What else will spring up? More landscaping? A pavilion?  Volleyball net? We look forward to what comes next!

Down at the pond we enjoy skipping stones, squishing in the mud and swimming during the summer. A few brave members also enjoy taking a winter ice plunge, but don’t worry, it isn’t mandatory. There is another retention pond close to the highway. The rendering of White Hawk was prepared before any homes were built, so it represents what was envisioned at a particular stage in our development. We have plenty of farmland here and think it would be a fine thing if someday we had more orchards, barns, and a full greenhouse (as pictured), but our development has been slow and steady and we aren’t there yet.

As you can see in the above rendering, there is a parking lot located directly below the village. This is where we usually park. The general understanding is that we’re a pedestrian-type village. We like to park in the parking lot and walk to our homes. We also like to drive up to our homes when our cars are fully loaded, when it’s pouring rain, or when our kids have fallen asleep on the way home, or if a resident or visitor has mobility challenges. We are receptive to the parking needs of all members, so our discussion of how to make our neighborhood both people-friendly and accessible continues.

We know this sounds idyllic, and it’s really true.