Zakk Lusch recently invited us to pay a visit to Cascadia, a Homestead region he has designed with the assistance of Lilly Noel and Jimmeh Obolensky. The name appears to be taken from the Cascadia bioregion, a theoretical region / country that, were it to come into existence, would extend down through British Columbia, Washington state and Oregon, and inland potentially as far as Utah, although more modest proposals limit it to the the Cascade Mountains.
In particular, this means the bioregion follows the line of the US / Canadian Pacific Northwest coastline, and it is in the spirit of this coastline that the region has been modelled. It offers the suggestion of a coastal headland backed by high mountains, a place where the local highway briefly winds between the two maws of tunnels to offer an expansive view of the northern Pacific.
One of the first things to note in general about the region is that it is in part residential, with three private homes located on it. However – and I assume this is a genuine comment – the note card that is delivered to visitors at the landing point states, “While all of the homes on the sim are indeed occupied by Residents, we strongly encourage you to enter these homes and disturb the occupants!”
That said, given the three homes do not intrude into the public areas of of the region, it is possible to enjoy explorations without having to worry about trespassing into people’s homes.
Like the coast on which it is modelled, this is a ruggedly beautiful setting, if the drop from high mountain peaks to foothills is perhaps a little abrupt. The landing point sits to the north-east on a deck build over a cove that cuts its way into the landscape. The deck is part of a cosy roadside area just across the highway from the local motel and gas station. The highway appears to be El Camino Real (The Royal Road) – otherwise known as Route 101, suggesting the setting is towards the northern end of the American stretch of the Cascades.
Running out from one of the two tunnels mentioned above, the road points south to pass between the landing point and the motel before making a hard turn to point westwards, passing over a bridge that spans the mouth of the landing point’s cove. In this, the highway offers the best route of initial exploration, although once across it, further paths of exploration open up.
One of these routes is a gravel track that offers a way along the south-eastern headland to one of the private homes. The latter might easily be mistaken for a café given the OPEN sign hanging alongside the door, but the furnishing and washing hanging on the line outside confirm it is a residence, a small and rough beach bordering it on two sides. Just before the path along the headland reaches it, it passes steps that descend down to a ribbon of beach that points westward, under a line of low cliffs that also see the continuance of a branch of the gravel path above which in turn sits the second of the region’s homes.
This second house sits on a square of rock between gravel and highway, trailing a tail behind it that narrows to a point where stone steps connect path and highway, a wooden bridge alongside crossing the waters to where the third house sits on its own island, offering an impressive view back across the region.
Cascadia is a photogenic, natural region that is given added life by the inclusion of static figures, each of which has been perfectly placed: the tourists pausing in their journey to take in the view, the cyclist taking a break from a ride along the coast, shoppers and storekeepers in the little roadside area, and so on.
There are also touches of humour to be found within the region – the advert for a shady lawyer, for example – together with numerous places to sit, some more obvious that others. For the latter, be sure to follow the signs for the woodland walks; one might lead you to a camp site being watched over by an unexpected visitor!
An engaging and considered design well worth the time needed to explore and appreciate it. Our thanks to Zakk for the invitation, an apologies for taking a while to accept it.
- Cascadia (whisperwoods, rated Moderate)