Exactly a year ago, we first visited Nostalgia Falls, a Homestead region designed by Noisette Haller. At the time I noted the region was both photogenic and also the kind of place those who prefer Halloween themes that have a lighter touch might also enjoy.
Given it is the first anniversary of that visit (and given the region has a new home), I decided to hop back and have a look around, and was both surprised and please to see that the region offers both a familiar look coupled with more than enough changes to give me a comfortable sense of recognition whilst also presenting a lot that is new and ready to be discovered.
The sense of familiarity is born from a number of aspects: the region retains a similar L-shape to the one it sported in our first visit, with the north-south arm the home to a railway line hosting the Polar Express steam train by DRD as it sits at a station, a single railcar in tow. However, the landing point is now in the station building rather than on the train.
Across the tracks is a waterfront area complete with a trawler moored on one side – although the growth of reeds around it suggests it may not have seen open waters in some time, given rotating propeller blades would likely cut them down to size – and a carousel sitting on a broad terrace, a wall separating it from the buildings beyond.
One of these houses sits ablaze. Quite why is unclear, but perhaps it is the result of a gas explosion, as appeared to be the case at our last visit. However, this time around, the blaze is given a new twist: the wreck of a 1930’s ear car and the threat of an unexploded bomb amongst the fallen brickwork suggest the house has fallen through time from the period of the Blitz.
Beyond the burning house lies a relatively open space – albeit marked by trees to one side. It is the home of an aged and broken plaza topped by a broken rotunda.Home to a winged angel, the rotunda is being circled by a murder of crows that, together with the aged dead tree next to it, set a darker tone than the angel’s presence would otherwise offer.
An avenue of trees to one side of the rotunda shelters a horse-drawn hearse heading towards the tall, slim form of a 3-storey mortuary that has some strangeness to be found within it, a ghostly figure awaiting the hearse outside. Opposite the tree avenue, steps climb up a short slope to the imposing form of a grand house complete with cemetery behind, suggesting it is a family home of some age – although it and its grounds have clearly seen better days, with the interior of the house in particular a statement in mouldering age – and more than a little taste of creepiness.
Beyond this ageing house, and also reached via the carousel-bearing waterfront, the land opens out into a brighter, happier setting rich in the colours of autumn. Horses graze here, having doubtless been brought down from the barn that sits up on the flat head of a promontory that – again, like the time we last visited – extends southwards out into the waters surrounding the island.
A sandy track winds out from the barn to drop down to the western finger of the land, where sit three little houses, all cosily furnished and set out with lamps, jack-o’ lanterns, pumpkins and more in readiness for Halloween. Even the crows sitting along the telegraph lines overhead have entered into the spirit of things – although eyes might inevitably be drawn to the the fact that a witch has apparently come to a sudden telegraphic halt whilst testing her broom.
With mist hovering out on the waters between the island and the region surround, and the lightning flickering around the old house accompanied by the rumble of thunder, this iteration of Nostalgia Falls carries a rich sense of atmosphere. However, the open spaces, with their horses, deer and places to dance, together with fine dining on the train (albeit serenaded by a sax playing skeleton!) together with places to sit, Give this iteration of Nostalgia Falls a further touch of romance. And of course, it remains a richly detailed, photogenic region in which to spend time.
- Nostalgia Falls (Lost Darkness, rated Adult)