Returning to the beauty of Winter Moon

Winter Moon; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrWinter Moon – click any image for full size

Incredibly, it’s been five years since I last wrote about to Winter Moon, the always evocative Homestead region designed by Dream Shadowcry (see here for more). How I’d managed to let it drop from my list, I’ve no idea – so my thanks to Annie Brightstar for the reminder via Twitter.

In 2013, the region was a near-perfect embodiment of a monochrome setting, watched over by the tall tower of a lighthouse and making good use of water and coastline to present a memorable location. The lighthouse is still there, something of a signature piece for Winter Moon, and the use of water is retained, giving a feeling of familiarity after so long since my last visit, but unsurprisingly, everything has changed.

Winter Moon; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrWinter Moon

From a monochrome photograph to a lover’s sanctuary, the transformation is wonderful to see – as are the many details that link this iteration of the region with past versions. The aforementioned lighthouse for example, or the ivory piano and the curve of a rocky arch; the upturned boat on the beach and the elegant use of water and land to present a memorable, romantic place in which to spend time.

Resembling an atoll with its southern aspect open the sea, the region sits beneath a default pink misty sky. Atmospheric when it comes to romance, the environment serves to make walking the ring of the atoll a journey of discovery. However, those wishing to take photographs may want to try an alternative windlight – and I have to say that doing so in no way diminishes the sheer beauty of the design; it can also make finding one’s way through the more wooded parts of the island easier.

Winter Moon; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrWinter Moon

An informal path runs around the island, progressing from the landing point in thee west, not far from the lighthouse, to pass over flowered field and under leaf-heavy boughs. Circling a good part of the inner pool of water, it leads the way to where the land climbs towards a set of high, narrow cliffs forming a curtain on the east side of the island. Water tumbles down three sides of this high divide, which separates the lagoon on one side from and eastern expansion of beach on the other, a beach that circles visitors back to the open mouth of the lagoon, spanned by a bridge that reaches out to the lighthouse.

The beach, with broad sands and cut into three by narrows channels spanned by low bridges, looks out on three compass points, and is reached via wooden steps running down from the northern end of the high cliffs. Scattered across the sands are numerous places to sit in the Sun or under shade, be that shade from a windswept tree or the lacy drapes of an Arabesque pavilion.

Winter Moon; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrWinter Moon

The beach isn’t the only place available for sitting: more chairs and perches can be found up on the cliff top, whilst array around the lagoon and seaward coasts are more pavilions and chairs sitting under the boughs of trees.

There is a wonderful mixing of styles here that increases the sense of beauty and romance. The Arabesque pavilion mentioned earlier, for example, sits on the beach like a tent in the desert, not far from the steam flowing outwards from tumbling falls where African elephants sit and bathe. Within the rounded shallows cupped by the land, and elven-like series of arches march out over the water to form a circle where couples can sit or dance to suitable music from the piano sited there; while from numerous trees chandeliers perhaps suits to the halls of some great Georgian house  hang to light the woodland paths.

Winter Moon; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrWinter Moon

Throughout, there are many little touches that bring Winter Moon to life as a place used by lovers – such as the typewriter to be found in a waterside pergola, a heartfelt letter caught on its rollers or the champagne waiting on ice in another pavilion. Over all this, the susurration of water washing the shore or falling from high rocks mixes with the song of birds and the tinkling of chimes caught on the breeze, combine to add further depth to the setting, bidding visitors welcome and encouraging them to stay.

Beautifully imagined and executed, with a lot to see and discover, Winter Moon comes with a fitting dedication:

You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That’s where I’ll always love you, that’s where I’ll be waiting.

Winter Moon; Inara Pey, October 2018, on FlickrWinter Moon

For lovers, romanticists, grid travellers and photographers alike, this is a region that remains an enduring place to visit and appreciate – and return to.

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