Bailey’s Norge – click any image for full size
In late January, Caitlyn and I visited Bailey’s Norge, designed by the Bailey family and in the Homestead region of Forest Haven. At the time, it wasn’t clear how long the region would be open to public visits, but as it is still open to people to explore, I thought I’d write a few words on it.
Designed to represent a piece of rural Norway, the region sits within a ring of green mountains, surrounded by water as if snuggled at the inland end of a fjord, a single channel leading out to sea, watched over by the rotating eye of a lighthouse.
A visit starts close to the centre of the region, on a set of stepping-stones running across the mouth of a channel separating two of the region’s islands – so be sure to wait until everything has rezzed and rendered before taking too many steps, or you might end up taking and unexpected bath.
These stones link the two largest islands with one another. The easternmost of these islands has a north-south orientation, and is occupied by two large houses. One of these sits alongside the stepping-stones, the second to the north, reached by a walk through the long grasses which dominate the flatlands of the island. This second house has the look of a working home – a pier sits on the shoreline close by, perhaps home to the fishing boat out in the bay, and with fish drying on the lines alongside the pier. And old pick-up truck has been converted into a makeshift flower garden, while a seating area lies in the shade of trees.
A box bridge spans the water separating the northern end of this island with one of the two small islands on the north side of the region. Cut by a man-made water channel, where a little snuggle spot can be found atop a raft, it is otherwise deserted. A second small island lies to the west – but please note it appears to be a private residence, so exploration there should perhaps be avoided in the interests of privacy.
Travel south through the grasslands of the east-side island, and you’ll find your way to a small cabin snug against the southern coastline, looking west towards the second of the large islands, on which sits a large number of structures. A gable roofed bridge sits close by, spanning the narrow channel dividing the two islands from each other.
The closest of the buildings across the bridge is a large Scandinavian-style house. It is clearly a family home, given the swings, slide, roundabout and see-saw in the fenced garden. Surrounding this on two sides are outhouses and barns. These give the house the feel of being a farm, although the outhouses have been converted for particular uses: a bathhouse and a small photography studio / gallery.
Slight further afield, on the north side of the island lies a little shop, a converted boat dock nearby, a swing seat replacing the covered moorings. Further along the curve of the shoreline sits an old Norse building, its apparent age hinting that there has been a settlement here for a long time. Meanwhile, on the west side of the island sits a wood-framed church. This faces a boathouse sitting on the shore alongside a wooden deck that extends out over the waters. As well as offering cosy seating indoors and chairs on the deck, the boathouse also has a hot tub and hammock outside.
With rich, open spaces with places to sit and / or cuddle scattered throughout, and one or two little surprises waiting to be found – keep an eye out for the Norwegian troll keeping a watch on things from the tree-line – Bailey’s Norge offers a lot to see and enjoy. Should you enjoy a visit, please consider offering a donation towards the upkeep of the region (the donation box is at the southern end of the east-side island). And if you take photos, please consider sharing them with the region’s Flickr group.
- Bailey’s Norge (Forest Haven, rated: Moderate)