Otter Lake is one of the most alluring homestead regions we have recently visited. The work of Sharon Hinterland, this is a truly remarkable region in terms of the amount of space the region exudes, the beauty of the design, and the richness of detail. So much so that it is actually hard to believe it is only an Homestead region and thus capped with a land capacity of 5K.
I wrote those words back in June 2019 following our first visit to Otter Lake. We recently made a return to the region after receiving an invitation to do so from Sharon, who noted she’d made a number of changes to her design, and hoped we’d be able to take a look.
Now, to be honest, given the region really did captivate and offer a stunningly realistic design, hearing that it may have changed did cause something of a surge of anxiety: would the charm be retained? Would there still be the same sense of of depth, the same natural beauty? Might something have changed to cause the magic of the region to evaporate, even if only in part?
Well, the answer to all of these concerns proved to be an emphatic “no”: Otter Lake remains as captivating and enticing as ever, the additional elements offering further depth and opportunities for photography and for simply appreciating Sharon’s work as a landscape artist.
Retaining the lake and home that gave the region its name, fed from on high by waterfalls dropping from a hilltop pool, the region offers a pleasing mix of the familiar and the new that combine into a further natural setting ready for exploration.
Perhaps the most obvious new element in the region is the fishing wharf that now forms the landing point. It’s an interesting focal point on its own: while this retains the warehouses of old and has a salmon trawler tied up alongside, fishing no longer gives the wharf’s purpose. The tallest of the warehouses has been converted into a home, the smaller into a cosy café, while what might have once have been fishmonger’s stores are now boutique shops.
Across the region from the wharf, a lighthouse raises its light over the trees, perhaps causing those who have visited the region in the past to recall another lighthouse that once stood there, albeit one without a tower. Other touches of the former design also await discovery: the humpbacked bridge, the broken delivery truck and much more besides.
As a firm fan of Alex Bader’s landscaping kits, I admit to particularly like the use of his stream building kits and specifically Sharon’s clever integration of elements from the Studio Skye Zen Garden Building Set. The later are to be found throughout the region and offer subtle accents throughout the landscaping.
Also among the newer elements are further buildings snuggled among the trees and paths, as well as some of the paths and trails themselves. Between them, the latter of take visitors on a marvellous trek through the region, one that again gives the feeling of walking through a space much, much bigger that the usual 65,535 square metres supplied by a region, without ever giving the impression that the space is in any way limited or feeling of walking in circles.
Sharon confessed to me that she wishes she has the land capacity to use “better trees”. However, while they my be low LI, the rich mix of trees that are provided across Otter Lake make for a rich – and quite natural – mix that varies by altitude, adding further depth to the region.
Filled with colour and natural sounds that change throughout the day – a day, by the way, enriched with a custom windlight -, with numerous places to sit in the open under boughs of trees, along river banks and paths and with much to see that doesn’t unduly impact viewer performance, Otter Lake remains one of the most alluring an natural settings it has been our pleasure to visit.
- Otter Lake (Lanzarote Cove, rated Adult)