Crestwick Island is a small town sited in a picturesque bay, and it’s not unreasonable to state that it has perhaps been better days; the streets are a little careworn, some of the houses equally so. And while there are attempts at colour and gaiety in the town centre, it’s hard not to escape the feeling that you’re visiting a little corner of the world that has passed its prime while seeking to hang on to it as best it can.
Which is not to say it is in any way a place that shouldn’t be seen – entirely the opposite, in fact. Designed by Isa Messioptra and Ciphertazi Wandin, Crestwick Island is actually a joy to see and wander through, and considerable care has been taken to offer a place that has a very genuine feel to it while enfolding the kind of quirks and whimsy that will bring a smile to the face of any visitor as they perambulate through the streets and along the footpaths and tracks. There’s even a few nods towards the the realm of Hollywood – although they may escape immediate recognition except to the film buffs among us.
Take, for example, the town’s beauty salon; the sign over the windows proudly proclaims it to be The Best Little Hair House in Crestwick – a play on the title of a certain musical and 1982 film about a Chicken Ranch in Texas, and starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds.
The beauty salon shares the town’s main street with the local medical centre, newspaper offices, bank, books shop and dance studio, with the town hall presiding sternly over all of them. Sitting kitty-corner to the beauty salon is the still chic Rosewater Cafe, offering refreshments, a place to while away the hours and dancing for those in the mood.
At the opposite end of the street to the town hall can be found the art gallery, featuring Isa’s stunning artwork (which can also be found on Flickr, as can Cipher’s) and which sits under a fading billboard which will take movie buffs Back To …. another film from the 1980s starring Michael J. Fox…
Nor is art limited to the gallery; there is some impressive graffiti to be found on the walls of certain buildings, and it can also be found in doors as well. In this respect, do make sure you pay a visit to the local place of worship; it has something quite novel to offer visitors, and a trip to Crestwick Island would be incomplete without stopping by!
Further out from the town the landscape is a little more rugged, and a tall plateau rises to the north west, topped by what looks like an old observatory dome and a smaller building. Stone steps with rusting iron handrails offer a way up to the dome, as does a winding sandy track – and anyone who has visited Griffiths Park and Observatory in Los Angeles might has a slight sense of deja-vu walking up the track; I know I did.
Do take note, however, that like the town’s church, the observatory isn’t all it seems, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the name “Roswell” slips into your thoughts once you’ve climbed the ageing metal stairs up to the dome…
All told, Crestwick island is a visual treat, whether seen under the default windlight (to which I made only minor tweaks for most of the picture here) or under … well, probably just about any one you care to choose; it’s instantly picturesque, the slightly running-to-seed look actually adding to the look and feel of the town. If you’ve not visited already, it’s well worth the time in stopping by; you can even enjoy a little wine in the park or a snuggle at the cliff side camp…
- Crestwick Island (Rated: Moderate)