The Boho Refuge in Second Life

The Boho Refuge, October 2019 – click any image for full size

The Boho Refuge is a homestead region designed by Jaccaranda Jael which recently opened to visitors, offering a mix of public spaces and private rental properties. We were alerted to its presence by Sorcha Tyles, who recommended we hop over and pay a visit.

As I’ve noted before in these pages, writing a review about a region that offers rentals can be difficult; by its nature it is intended to offer people a private home, so providing a write-up that encourages people to drop in and wander around can interfere with the privacy those renting the properties might otherwise want. This can be particularly true if the balance between public spaces and private residences is biased towards the latter.

The Boho Refuge, October 2019

Fortunately, The Boho Refuge offers a good balance between public and private that makes a visit rewarding for casual visitors whilst keeping private residences reasonably well apart from the public areas. Most of the latter – 11 homes in all – sit around the coastline of the region or along the gorge that splits the region in two.

This gorge runs from west to east, leaving the bulk of the region as two rugged islands linked by a road bridge. The southern island offers the landing point, with the rental office sitting within a pink walled hacienda that looks like it might in another life offer a cosy bar / lounge, and that sits to one side of a dirt road that winds over the island from the bridge and down to a working quayside to the west. This, and the other little public buildings scattered  over the island offer plenty of opportunity for photography, while two of the rental properties lie on the southern coast and one on this side of the gorge splitting the region into its two main islands.

The Boho Refuge, October 2019

Follow the track toward the bridge and you’ll find it forks, one arm turning north to link with the crossing to the north island, the other continuing east. Follow the latter, and it will lead you down to the access points to the rentals, and also to a fourth private home at the eastern end of the region that sits on its own little isle; so do please respect the privacy of anyone renting the houses.

The slightly larger northern island is more rugged, and features seven rentals around its edges, either snuggled against the coast and facing to the north and east, or perched higher up on the cliffs and facing either north or west, a singleton tucked into the gorge rounding them out. A T-junction at the north end of the bridge allows visitors a choice of routes: west to the access point for rentals and a climb up to the island’s peak, or east and a curving route down to where the road becomes unsurfaced once more and splits to provide access to the homes at the eastern end of the island or to a small public beach (with a rental home just off to one side, so again, be careful when visiting).

The Boho Refuge, October 2019

The upper reaches of this island are open to the public, and accessed by stone steps or a board walk and wooden steps that curl around the highest peak from the western end of the island – although be aware that these were blocked at the time of our visit by a non-phantom tree throwing its physics across the steps. The tops of these hills offer an number of little points of interest: an outdoor spa, a little greenhouse that would make an ideal lovers’ meeting place, the old tower of an abandoned observatory and numerous lookout points.

Packed with plenty of detail, The Boho Refuge offers a fair amount to see, while each of the rental properties sits within its own parcel, making privacy possible for those renting them. They also include a security orb to help warn away straying feet. Finished with a rich sound scape and offering plenty of water fowl and otter to be spotted by keen-eyed visitors, the region could be a cosy home for those seeking somewhere to live – prices available from the rental office.

The Boho Refuge, October 2019

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A dish of Butter in Second Life

Butter, October 2019 – click any image for full size

Butter is the name of a charming Homestead region that opened to the public in August, and to which we were pointed by Miro Collas. Designed by Mona Molinaxil with a little help from jellomight, it’s a region of subtle contrasts and a welcoming look and feel, with plenty to discover and appreciate.

Described as a “forever a work in progress”, at the time of writing, the region offered a mix of beach front location, little working dock, and green hills dotted with signs of human habitation and with paths and trails winding through and over them.

Butter, October 2019

It is just above the beach that the landing point will deliver you; a broad board walk running west-to-east and sitting atop a wall separating it from the sands below, a stone balustrade guarding. the drop from board walk to beach. This is cut in three places by stairs that descend to the sand, while the western end of the board walk offers a why down to the working quayside.

The beach offers all that you might expect to find in such a place: sands (slightly grassy in looks) slipping gently into an azure sea and dotted with numerous places to sit, sunbathe and relax either out in the open or under the shade of parasols. A wooden deck floats just off shore, inviting people to swim / wade out to it, while for those wishing to stay dry while active, a dance floor sits back towards the sea wall, one of several points scattered around the region where people can partake of a dance or two.

Butter, October 2019

For those who might find all that messing around on a beach and in the Sun a little wearing, thirsts can be slaked and hungers abated up at the Butter Bistro and Bar that sits on the other side of the board walk. Bright yellow in colour, the adobe like walls of the bar, together with the palms of the beach and the odd sombrero or two give this part of Butter a slight Mexican feel – although that could simply be for the benefit of tourists!

A second bar can be found over at the quayside to the west of the region – but I’d been a little wary of the food here; the barman seems insistent that someone ordered a raw fish; although you can at least assume it is fresh, given the trawler sitting alongside. The bar is one of little row of establishments lining the quay, which appears to offer mooring space both in front and behind them.

Butter, October 2019

To the north, beyond the bistro and the docks, the land rises into a backbone of hills, whilst being split by a curving channel that slices the north-west corner of the region into an island of its own, a single bridge connecting it to the rest of the land. To the south-east, the hills form a rugged shoulder standing above bistro and beach, offering a camp site of trailer homes and glamping tents, the detritus of outdoor life – benches, barbecues and coolers for beer and drinks – scattered between them.

To the north, a windmill keeps an eye to the north, standing above cliffs that fall sharply to the sea, and looking past a smaller island. A cabin is perched on the latter, and while it didn’t offer clear signs of being private, it did sit within its own parcel, so perhaps it is best to treat it as not being open to the public.

Butter, October 2019

West of the windmill, the land drops gently down to a small beach at the north end of the channel splitting the land, while the hills themselves – the butterly hills – turn gently south and west. Within them is a rocky hollow, a “secret” place suitable for couples to enjoy. Across the channel, the north-west island offers a small farm, reached by a rough track and home to cattle, goats, geese and bees.

Finished with touches such as a sound scape, a little open market, a further place for music and dancing alongside the bistro bar, Butter offers a charming summer setting well worth exploring. Those taking photos can also submit them to the local Flickr group.

Butter, October 2019

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A trip along Fox Road in Second Life

Fox Road, October 2019 – click any image for full size

Writing about Fox Road has proven to be a little difficult, even after several visits to the region. Designed by Vertiline Colter, this Homestead region is both open to the public for exploration, and home to her Little Fox brand in-world store.

I say “difficult” in terms of writing about it for a couple of reasons. The first is that I’m not entirely sure it is finished: several details, large and small, have changed as I’ve hopped back and forth between the region and home; the most notable perhaps being further landscaping of the north-eastern arm of the larger of the two islands. The second is, that while Fox Road has a personality of its own, I cannot entirely escape feeling an echo of NevaCrystall’s design for Borneo, Gac Akina’s handsome region (which you can read about in  A trip to Borneo in Second Life).

Fox Road, October 2019

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the one is intentionally modelled upon the other; as those of us who travel Second Life are only too aware (and as I’ve occasionally noted in these pages), there are certain things – be they houses, bridges, landscaping elements, board walks, animals, cars, décor pieces, furnishings, etc., that tend to suddenly being en vogue for region designs to the point where it can feel you’re constantly tripping over them. Thus, visiting a region can oft put one in mind of another, quite coincidentally.

Here, the sense of familiarity is perhaps down to the way both regions are laid out: both share a very similar orientation and divide between the larger L-shaped island and the smaller; both feature cove-like beaches of grey shingle, and each has a wild, rugged feel. But Fox Road has more than enough about it to offer its own uniqueness of character.

Fox Road, October 2019

Take, for example the small cluster of buildings just to the south-west of the beach landing point. These have the suggestion that perhaps they was once the location from which fishing boats once put out to sea (something very much enhanced by the presence of two large trawlers in the bay), the old rail lines perhaps used to carry iced catches away to market. However, time areas to have moved on: the main quay where boats may have once come alongside looks to be in a state of disrepair, while the water weed blanketing the surface of the water beneath it suggest any boat attempting a mooring would end up with its propellers fouled.

Meanwhile, the bay formed by the two islands seems to have suffered from at least one land slip that has pushed gravel and shingle out into the water to the point of making it impassable to vessels and leaving the two old trawlers trapped in place – their only other route of escape being blocked by the low-hanging, if also ramshackle, bridge linking the islands. Indeed, one of the trawlers appears to have been here so long, her old hull may have been holed by the rocks of the cliff that plunges into the waters behind her, leaving her waterlogged and listing heavily to one side.

Fox Road, October 2019

The flat top of the main island is reached via a wooden steps and platforms that climb upwards from a shoreline cottage. Decking has been laid  out across the scrub grass of the hilltop as if it might have been put there at some point in time to give vehicles better traction. Now ageing under the Sun and in places in need of repair, a part of it acts as a path pointing the way along the top of the island, while the rest of it almost suggests an outdoor space for music – or at least for splashing around in an old paddling pool that looks as if it might benefit for a little more air being pumped into its sides.

A greenhouse to one side of this deck area, along with one of the buildings down below, gives the impression these spaces are still being used, both having furnishings within. But who might be using them is up to visitor to decide; is it a hermit or hermits with a bohemian lean, or are the barn and greenhouse used as club meeting spaces? Whatever might be the case, it is clear their use is not sufficient to prevent nature slowly laying claim to them, just as it is with the other buildings to be found here.

Fox Road, October 2019

No sound scape was evident at the times of my visits, but those wishing to rez props for photography can do so by joining the Fox Road group – note that auto return is active, but do still please pick up your pieces after use should you opt to rez anything. Those who take photos in the region are invited to share them in the Fox Road Flickr group.

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More Gentle Breezes in Second Life

Gentle Breezes, October 2019 – click any image for full size

It’s been two years since our first visit to Rosy Highwater’s Gentle Breezes, and while I have a handful of region visits stacking up awaiting write-ups, I’m jumping ahead of some of the newer places we’ve visited (which are either getting a lot of attention right now, or may still be undergoing some further changes) to write about it once again as the colder months start to wrap their fingers around many of us as winter approaches.

Gentle Breezes, October 2019

A homestead region, Gentle Breezes offers a balmy, semi-tropical location of low lying beaches and palm trees backed by hills and temperate trees. Cut by a channel fed by waters tumbling from high falls, the region offers a restful setting where numerous places to watch the tide and the sea birds await visitors who want to spend time relaxing and enjoying their time together.

Gentle Breezes, October 2019

Up on the hills are more places to explore: cottages and cabins, outdoor seating areas, picnic spots, and more. Beaches and uplands are linked by a single path, one that passes between two blocks of rock a short distance from the landing point, wooden boards easing the way up the slope. North of these is a smaller beach facing a small island across a neck of water. Home to a cabin, this little island offer a place to get away from it all even while you’re getting away by visiting Gentle Breezes.

Gentle Breezes, October 2019

Wherever you wander on the region there is something to see or a place to sit and / or cuddle – while for those who fancy, the shallows can be waded and the local wildlife can be observed.

Spending a lot of time writing about Gentle Breezes isn’t really what counts here; the region is easy to visit and explore and offers more than enough to keep visitors engaged while exploring. So if you are missing summer already and want to have a sense of warmth and sunshine and hot sands beneath your feet, Gentle Breezes with all its little beauty spots and touches of detail, could be just the ticket.

Gentle Breezes, October 2019

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Unconditional in Second Life

Unconditional, October 2019 – click any image for full size

Unconditional, designed by Tomisnotaboy and Moonsoul, is a Homestead region that has been garnering attention since it opened to the public in the past week – and rightly so. It is a visually stunning region, one that appears to have been brought together in a remarkably short period of time: the About Land floater suggests it arrived on the Grid on Tuesday, October 1st, 2019, yet it was open to all before the weekend had started!

The above should not be taken to mean the region has been in any way rushed – far from it; what is presented (although in part still a work in progress during our visits) is well put together, and offers a visually engaging setting that is rich in charm and flows naturally throughout.

Unconditional, October 2019

Unconditional love — in its most simplest form — means appreciating someone else for who they truly are. It means loving them when they are unlovable, and in spite of their imperfections and mistakes.

– from the region’s About Land description

Split into a number of islands, most of them low-lying, Unconditional presents the kind of place I think many of us would like to escape to and set up home, were we able to do so. Two houses are to be found on the region, both towards its eastern extreme, and to the south and north respectively. These have been placed by Chavonne McAuley, whom I believe is the region holder. Unfurnished at the time of out visits, both houses appeared to be open to the public, although the one to the north-east, and sitting on the highest point within the region, is placed within its own parcel and so may eventually be intended for private use.

Unconditional, October 2019

The island this house sits upon is the largest is the group, sitting above the rest as a pair of table-like hills that are home to both the house and a windmill that sits as if guarding the steps leading up to the house. The pairing of house and and windmill suggest this may once of been a working environment – perhaps a small farm (there are still geese and goats to be found here), but which has now been re-purposed.

Paths of various sorts run across the land here, perhaps the most fetching of them being an avenue of bent trees, reached from the house and windmill by a trail of cut log sections, that points the way to the western end of the island, a rocky bluff on which sits a little table of rock complete with brazier and seating – just one of many places to rest scattered throughout the region. A wooden board walk that also starts close to the windmill to present an alternative route west, stepping out and around the island’s northern cliffs, where waters tumble in a series of falls from a humped hill (which is also cut into by the sealed mouth of an old tunnel or shaft).

Unconditional, October 2019

To the west, the land falls away sharply, a little stone bridge connecting it to a sandy isle. Such is the narrow channel between isle and island, the two might have one time been a single mass, the gap between them created by a partnership of time and tide. Now this western lowland encircles a pond of  – presumably – fresh water, whilst itself is bounded by wetlands. The latter extend to the south and east in a haze of sun-bleached reeds and grasses through which winds a further board walk, this one offering the way to a stilted cabin standing above the reeds and water, a cosy deck – and at its end, a little sandy bar that almost forms the region’s centre.

The second house on the region looks, from a distance, to be a rather grand affair. It sits on its own island that has sea wall to one side and rocky shoulders on the other, allowing most of the island to offer a flat expanse of grass, rock and sand that forms a garden / yard space where, given the chairs and tables set out and the presence of a coffee / hot chocolate bar, visitors are more than welcome. Reached via a bridge connecting it to the larger island and its house, this is a place experiencing its own little pocket of weather: while the region as a whole sits in sunshine, here the rain falls lightly but persistently.

Unconditional, October 2019

The landing point for Unconditional sits on the long finger of a sand bar to the west of the region. Currently experiencing a low tide, the edge of this island has clearly been shaped by the action of tides rising and departing, as they have cut a low, but clear lip around much of the land in their back-and-forth passage. Linked to the rest of the region by yet another board walk (and rather novel tree trunk “tunnel”), this sand bar offers something of a different look and feel to the rest of the landscape, one that offers its own enticements and photographic appeal.

Rich in detail without ever feeling overcrowded, Unconditional really is a striking location for exploring, photographing and simply enjoying. Rezzing is open, but if you need props, etc., please remember to clean them up behind you.

Unconditional, October 2019

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With thanks for all the pointers: Shawn, Morgana, Wurfi, Miro!

Fleur: a region with a Dutch flavour in Second Life

Fleur Nederland [Dutch], October 2019 – click any image for full size

Magisch en kleurrijk dat is herfst op Fleur welkom op Fleur. Onze muziek is altijd goed.

“Magical and colourful, autumn is welcome at Fleur. Our music is always good” – so reads the About Land greeting for Fleur Nederland (allowing for my translation!). A Homestead region designed by Sammy Recreant and that has – as the welcome and name indicate – a Dutch flavour to it, we were led to visit on the suggestion of Shawn and Max

While the Dutch have a traditional Halloween-style celebration, Saint Martin’s Day on November 11th; although like many parts of the world they have perhaps absorbed more of what is regarded as the “American” approach to All Hallows Eve – pumpkin jack-o’-lanterns, trick-or-treating (rather than singing songs), and so on; and this is reflected within Fleur’s décor at the time of our visit. Thus, for the next few weeks visitors are liable to find a haunted house, witches, scuttling pumpkins (yes, scuttling), giant spider webs and more.

Fleur Nederland [Dutch], October 2019

Fleur’s landscape is now in the most beautiful colours that autumn brings. Come and have a look, enjoy the peace and colour. Welcome to colourful Fleur!

– Sammy Recreant, describing Fleur

Cast under a dusk heavy sky, Fleur offers a largely rural setting, heavily wooded and with scatted houses and other structures to attract visitors. There was no enforced landing point as the time of our visit, although one can be found in About Land, and I’ve used it as a starting point for this look around the region.

Fleur Nederland, October 2019

It’s actually good place to start, as it sits close to three of the public structures on the region – a cosy little garden hideaway watched over by sheep; a waterside barn converted for fine dining, reach via two stone arched paths; and – a little further away – a delightfully furnished stone-built cottage protected by a wall and grass embankments. Alongside and between these locations are dance systems offering visitors a chance for romance and gentle dancing.

Beyond these lie several more points of interest, all edged with hints of Halloween. There’s the little coastal chapel for example, a lone shelter sitting out on a headland and, to the south-west, a little dockside setting with wharves boats and little commercial properties set around a courtyard, all decorated for the holiday season and with the Dutch flag flying overhead. This area also have a bit of a North American feel, with adverts for New England lobster together with someone of a New England feel to the buildings.

Fleur Nederland [Dutch], October 2019 – “When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning or in rain? (Macbeth Act I, Scene I)
In the square there are further opportunities for couples and visitors to enjoy dancing – with the local radio station sitting on one of the wharves helping to make the area have a further celebratory feel. Take a walk out to the little ferry terminal and you’ll find a teleport disk. Right-click on it and select Teleport, and you’ll be lifted into the sky to the beach of Fleur, a wide expanse of largely flat sands and coastline modelled after the Dutch coastline along the Wadden Sea.

Currently with an incidental hint of Shakespeare with its Halloween dressing, rich with places for visitors and couples to enjoy, and with nice touches in the wildlife, Fleur makes for a pleasing visit, and those who enjoy Halloween hoping are also likely to enjoy dropping in.

Fleur Nederland [Dutch], October 2019

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