The return of The Shire in Second Life

The Shire; Inara Pey, May 2018, on FlickrThe Shire – click any image for full size

We were delighted to receive an invitation from Ima Peccable to visit the newly re-opened The Shire, the enchanting Tolkien-themed region designed by Chocolate Aftermath, and which Ima is now helping to run. As it’s been over two-and-a-half years since our last visit, we grabbed the first eagle flight across the waters and dropped in for a visit.

For me, the great attraction with this region has always been the way it blends considered region design with a very Shire-like feel, where hobbits and Big Folk can mix.

The Shire; Inara Pey, May 2018, on FlickrThe Shire

The new design for the region retains this feel, although the landscape is perhaps further removed from Tolkien’s Shire, being somewhat rugged and suggestive of a coastal region of Middle Earth, complete with multiple small islands lying off the main bulk of the land. There’s also more of an elven feel to the place than perhaps on our last visit, which harkens back to the time of my first visit in March 2015, when the region originally captivated my eye and heart.

I’m not sure whether it is merely a matter of the intervening years playing tricks on me or not, but this new iteration of The Shire seems to have more rental properties on offer than previous iterations. Nevertheless, it still has plenty for the casual visitor to see and appreciate, and the overall design means that it is hard to accidentally transgress into someone’s private space.

The Shire; Inara Pey, May 2018, on FlickrThe Shire

A good many of the rental parcels are located on the outlying islands or on small headlands extending from the main bulk of the land, with its public upland areas located atop the tall cliffs. It is here that the landing point sits within a pair of tree houses linked by a rope bridge and which is home to the rental map for the region. It shares the plateau with a garden area and a windmill, with different paths leading down from the plateau offer assorted ways to explore the region along its public paths.

The rental properties are a mix of hobbit holes and regular houses, while two towers suitable for wizards overlook the land. There aren’t intended for rent (as far as we could tell at least, but appear to offer high perches from which to look out over the land. Also to be found along the paths and trails leading around the region are elven-like gazebos offering places to sit under crystal domes – and in one case at least, a feast fit for a … hobbit; while out on a tongue of land stretching out into the water sits a larger structure, set for weddings or other celebratory events.

The Shire; Inara Pey, May 2018, on FlickrThe Shire

These seeking a place to live in Second Life that has its roots in fantasy but without overburdening rules might want to give The Shire a look; the mix of accommodation is rich and – for those wanting a little extra privacy – extends into the sky, where houses float serenely on little airborne islands of their own. Also scattered around the region are little reminders of Tolkien – such as the spider’s webs to be found here and there providing little echoes of a certain journey through Mirkwood, while mushrooms can also be found, offering another reminder of a path trod by a certain group of hobbits.

The public area of the region seems to be a little more limited that in previous iterations, and the outlying islands, while offering those renting them an added level of privacy, do tend to break up the land somewhat – there’s no direct route from them to the public places should residents wish to enjoy them. However, this doesn’t detract from the peaceful beauty of the region nor the opportunity to take photos or simply relax with a visit. Certainly, for those who wish to rent a parcel within The Shire,  the region has a lot to offer by way of finding a Homely House.

The Shire; Inara Pey, May 2018, on FlickrThe Shire

With thanks to Ima for the invitation.

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