Kess Smith (Kess Crystal) recently invited me to previews that spring 2022 design for her Homestead region of Deer River ahead of its official public opening. Unfortunately, time was against me and I was unable to make a visit ahead of the opening, so I hopped over to take a look as soon as I had a couple of days to explore properly and photograph.
As its name suggests, Deer River Spring sees the region take on a spring / summer look to offer a theme Kess describes as “boho festival”. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what that means – while there are touches of the bohemian to be found within the yurts within the region, on the whole, I found the look and feel to be more North American rural rather than carrying a noticeable bohemian feel.
Which should not be taken to mean Deer River Spring in any way fails to deliver; quite the reverse in fact. It’s is a richly engaging design presenting a richly detailed, natural retreat within which there is much to see and do, surrounded by of-region hills and islands.
The most obvious route for exploration is the dirt track that loops its way around the setting. This starts and finishes at the two covered bridges that cross from the circular landing point islet located in the north-east of the region. Exactly which bridge you take to join the track is simply a matter of personal choice, as either direction will bring you to the region’s major points of interest.
For example, to the south, the track parallels the narrow ribbon of rocky sand that marks the shoreline to lasso a trio of weathered buildings within a loose loop. Between them, the buildings form a fish market (the produce presumably delivered by the fishing boat lying just offshore), a garage / filling station and a café with a trellised outdoor seating area.
To the west, meanwhile, the track will take people past a rugged festival field occupying the northern sweep of the island and which is clearly intended as a festival / music space. It is home to two of the yurts to be found within the region, one offered as an “art station” and the other a “zen station” and both open to visitors. Continuing beyond the field, the track turns more southwards to reach a long wooden bridge that runs along a deep pool of water. This is fed from multiple falls dropping from an arc of blocky cliffs at the edge of the region, the bridge passing over the water to region the track as it turns to meet with its southern arm below the steps of a craggy hill that rises to the south-west.
Stone steps have been set against the rocky side of this hill to provide a way up to where a cobbled path has been set out over the grass and which lead to a little wooden cabin. Perhaps it is owned by whoever runs the fish store / café / garage; perhaps it is a place set aside as a little retreat. It’s certainly cosy and has a welcoming meal set out on the front veranda, while the horses grazing close by are clearly unconcerned by any visitors the cabin brings to itself.
Beyond it, more steps have been laid to give access to both a secluded meadow set out with a small deck and open fire and a high platform extending out from the western cliffs to offer a look-out point covering a channel between the surrounding hills.
The southern end of the region lays screened behind a curtain of trees, the path through them marked by a fence and a sign that warns it leads to the island’s two rentals, so informing visitors that privacy should be respected when passing through the trees. The rentals (intended for short-term stays at L$250 a day) sit within their own grounds, each with its own view. However, it is not their location that makes them interesting, it is the fact that they are also yurts, and within each of their comfortable cylinders that the bohemian aspect of the region is fully in evidence.
While the track looping through the setting has been rutted by the passage of wheels and the odd car and light goods vehicle can be found here and there, the preferred ways for getting around the region is on foot, horseback or bicycle. For the latter two, a Teagle horse rezzer can be found at the landing point and a bicycle rezzer close by the café. Those who have wearable horses / bikes can opt use those. Nor are the tracks the only marked routes across the island; cobbled paths offer alternate routes, whilst the spine of the island forms a sinuous grassy hill that makes for a gentle walk with views across the land.
Throughout all of this are multiple places for people to sit and pass the time, from the cabin on the hill and the deck and look-out point nearby, to the little ice cream truck sitting in the lee of the hill through to swings hanging from trees and desks built over the waters of the river, and more. Finished with an ambient soundscape and with its own wildlife and waterfowl waiting to be spotted, Deer River Spring has much to commend itself to the Second Life explorer and to the photographers among us (joining the local group confers rezzing rights for those needing photo props – but please remember to clean up after yourself!).
Deer River Spring (NewMoon, rated Moderate)