I recently had the opportunity to return to into Aero Pines Park, Cindy Bolero’s multi-region recreational / residential / training estate.
For those unfamiliar with the estate, Cindy offers a rich environment where visitors can partake of a range of activities – horse riding, flying, canoeing, motorbike riding, show jumping, balloon flights, rodeo bull riding, etc., as well a providing open spaces and some fabulous homes which people can lease from her through her region sponsorship system.
Currently comprising six regions, Aero Pines is, rather interestingly, modelled on the area in which Cindy grew-up in RL: the Aero Pines Air Park in the Northern California Sierra Foothills. The impact of these childhood environs is very clear as one explores the SL parklands – all of the pursuits Cindy enjoyed growing up are reflected in the park’s activity options, and there is much that goes on which is related to the larger community surrounding the RL Aero Pines Air Park.
It is the sheer range of activities available at Aero Pines which can serve to make them very attractive – and well worth a visit for those seeking “something to do”. Exploring the regions of the park present all of the activities mentioned above, plus a range of other options, all of which are landmarked through a notecard “brochure” delivered to you on your arrival in the park (if it doesn’t arrive automatically, click the green sign).
Where you go from the arrival point is up to you – just pick a road / path and follow it; the scenery is more than inviting, and there is a lot to see around the place. Or if you want to try your hand at something specific, use one of the landmarks contained in the notecard.
Aero Pines Park is designed to be low-lag, so it is appreciated if you keep your script load low, and most of the region crossings are relatively stable – I’ve only ever encountered the odd problem of sinking into a road surface on crossing between regions, other than a lone occasion of being thrown into the sim boundary on the edge of the estate and ending up stuck until I relogged.
One of the attractive elements of the estate is that, while there are some vendors on public display – the ones alongside the jeep rezzer, for example, and others at the airstrip and around the centre of the equestrian activities, most of them are indoors, or completely hidden from view – such as inside hills – which helps maintain the rural feel of the regions.
As you explore, keep in mind this is also a residential park, and while the stores, etc., are all regarded as public places, the homes which can be found scattered across the regions are not. These are pretty easy to identify, although some have helpful “Private” signs on the fences surrounding them, and it is asked that residents’ privacy is respected,
In terms of residency at Aero Pines Park, Cindy offers a rather interesting approach: rather than renting out properties per se, people become sponsors. On the surface, this might sound little different to renting – at the end of the day, you have a parcel of land, a home and pay a monthly fee.However, by promoting the idea of sponsorship, Cindy is also promoting the idea and ideals of the Aero Pines community as a whole, and that someone is effectively investing in the community itself.
Parcels come complete with themed houses – although sponsors are free to replace them with one of their own, so long as it fits with the theme of the estate – all houses cost towards the prim allowance in the parcel. Prospective sponsors will also go through an interview process prior to taking up residence, again to help ensure the look and feel of the park will not be adversely affected. It’s also worth pointing out that parcels come at cost; Aero Pines Park is a non-profit park, and there is no additional mark-up on land above covering tier costs.
As well as offering visitors the opportunity to partake of a range of activities, the park also holds events throughout the year, some of which are themed to the season (there has recently been a Valentine’s Ball for example, and the pond at the centre of the estate is still frozen over for ice-skating).These events also help foster a sense of community and encourage visitors to spend time in the park exploring and enjoying themselves.
For those wishing to use their own form of transport rather than those provided through rezzing systems, visitors can join the Aero Pines Park group and obtain object entry rights within the park. However, whether taking to the road or the water – please keep in mind that this is a park, not a racing circuit. Visitors are expressly asked not to rez road vehicles (especially not emergency services vehicles or military vehicles) but are welcome to rez their own horses, traps, etc. No such restrictions apply to using the waterways or the Aero Pines airstrip.
If you’re into caves an caverns, Aero Pines Park also offers you a treat with the chance to go underground – just make sure you set your viewer to midnight when you do.
There is much on offer here for role-play groups, photographers and even machinima makers. Role-play groups should refer to the park’s brochure notecard, and machinima makers would be best served contacting either Cindy or one of the park rangers about filming. For photographers, the park offers some beautiful scenery and works well with a wide range of windlight settings.
All-in-all, Aero Pines Park is a great place to visit and explore. At six regions (currently), it offers plenty of room to make exploring interesting while avoiding tripping over other visitors / explorers, but it is not so big as to be overwhelming.
Why not go see for yourself?