A Bay of Dreams in Second Life

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrBay of Dreams – click any image for full size

Solo Arte, the open-air gallery space for art and culture designed by Terrygold, is well-known for art displays and installations, as I’ve frequently covered in this blog. All of the art events at the venue have tended to be on platforms in the sky – Terry has designed a lovely outdoor urban setting, complete with small indoor galleries as well as the street-side areas for art displays, while additional installations can be set-up on their own platforms. This has tended to leave the ground level space of the quarter-region parcel unused where public access is concerned.

Or at least, it has until now. Bay of Dreams is a new ground-level setting Terry has created for people to enjoy – and it stands as another demonstration that you don’t have to have an entire region in order to create something special.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrBay of Dreams – click any image for full size

“It’s inspired by the Canadian woodlands,” Terry told me as we explored the space. “We will also be hosting some parties and music events here, and people are welcome to explore the woodland paths and come here for a little peace.”

The setting has the feel of somewhere in the Rockies – the parcel is bounded on two sides by curtain walls of rock to separate it from its neighbours, the remaining two looking out over open Linden Water, which one might imagine to be the waters of a lake. Scotts pine vie with the rocky curtains for height, a grassy path winding its way eastwards through them from the landing point, while a raised wooden board walk curls back to the western edge of the parcel and a waterside venue space.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrBay of Dreams – click any image for full size

A rectangular, lawned space bracketed to the north and south be a stage area and a pavilion-style bar respectively, and by water to the west and east, this events space is extremely attractive in design and layout. It’s fair to say – if an understatement – to say it embodies an artist’s eye, with simplicity of layout with a balance of design and placement of elements – notably pieces by fellow artists such as CioTToLiNa Xue – to create an elegant venue space. A wooden pier to one side offers a rezzing create where a canoe can be taken for a row out onto the southern waters – just be careful about paddling too far, as you might bounce off the region edge.

These southern waters are dominated by a near-nude rock that rises impressively from them. It is straddled by an equally impressive cabin crouching on study wooden legs rooted in the stone beneath. The cabin can be reached via two platforms at the base of the rock – against which a canoe can be moored – and ladder-like steps. For those who don’t like the idea of rowing to the rock, it can be reached via another wooden board walk.  This extends out from the eastern side of the woodland trail, winding its way over a small island between the shoreline and a the tall rock.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrBay of Dreams – click any image for full size

Along the path to this board walk can be found a little camp site and a tiny waterfall tucked away under the cliffs bordering the parcel. The trail itself continues beyond the board walk to where a sign points the way to a little cove where people can sit or cuddle – or take a HUD from the sign at the water’s edge and go for a swim.

Bay of Dreams is a charming, extremely well designed environment put together with an eye for detail. It has a balanced elegance about it which gives life to the truism “less is more”. Should you enjoy a visit, please consider a donation towards the parcel’s upkeep, and if you want to keep abreast of events at Bay of Dreams and Solo Arte in general, consider joining the Solo Arte group.

Bay of Dreams; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrBay of Dreams – click any image for full size

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Visiting the Apothecary in Second Life

The Apothecary; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrThe Apothecary – click any image for full size

The Apothecary is a new Homestead region design by Harlow Heslop which opened in April 2018. It’s an impressive outdoor design, which immediately puts one in mind of the Great Outdoors of North America, or possibly the wilder reaches of northern Europe or Scandinavia. Buildings are few, the landscape richly wooded with tall redwoods (hence the North American feel to the place) and larch, surrounded by tall mountains.

There is no landing point set within the region, but there is a greeter and welcome sign offering information on the region located on a deck in the north-east. This extends out over the water from the rugged coast of one of the three islands making up the landscape. An old barn sits close by, converted into a cosy lounge space complete with stacks of books and drinks on offer.

The Apothecary; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrThe Apothecary

The land rises sharply alongside this, with stone steps climbing the steep slope, passing between the tall trunks of trees to where a wooden bridge watched over by four lanterns floating in the breeze, spans the narrow gorge separating this island from its much larger neighbour, a  folly like building beckoning visitors to cross the bridge to the plateau on which it sits

The drum-like building, complete with a glass-domed roof was once an aquae spadanae, a water spa – although it has been converted from this use. The pool is now a water garden, a large sculpture occupying its centre while around it, old sofas and armchairs offer comfortable places to sit and an upright piano offer an opportunity for music. The building looks to be under repair, given the scaffolding around and over a couple of windows.

The Apothecary; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrThe Apothecary

Two paths descend from this plateau, one to a broad step of rock, bounded out its outside by an old path and with another open-air bohemian seating area on its inside, warmed by a fireplace. The second path – marked by stone steps and cobbled paths, offers a route around the rest of the island. Branching at the foot of the hill, one arm of the path leads the way to the Apothecary itself – a grand  old conservatory building, its frame and high roof now without glass, its floors largely overgrown and the bent back of an ancient tree reaching grasping boughs out through its woodwork. A chaise lounge and mossy grand piano sit within, along with the tools of a gallipot’s trade.

The second path leads onward around the island’s curve to another waterfront warehouse and deck. The warehouse is this time sheltering a bar with bar on tap and spirits on the shelves behind it, while the dock appears to be the setting for the occasional DJ events that may be held within the region. It looks out over the water towards the third island in the group.

The Apothecary; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrThe Apothecary

This third island, compact and crowned with trees, is given over to a cosy camp site where couples and groups can enjoy quiet and intimate times.  How it is reached other than by flying, is a mystery at present; while a rowing boat is moored alongside the deck on the main island with oars seemingly at the ready, it is for cuddles only rather than being a source of transportation.

While  I opted for daylight when taking my photos, the region lies under a darkening sky rich in horizon haze. This gives the impression of the land sitting in either post-sunset dusk, or a pre-sunrise morning. The introductory notes indicate that The Apothecary will evolve over time, so I suspect it could be a place we return to from time-to-time as it changes. Those wishing to rez props for their photographs, or who wish to keep abreast of changes make to the region or DJ events held there, can join the local group for a modest fee of L$175. Those taking photos are invited to share them through the region’s Flickr pool.

The Apothecary; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrThe Apothecary

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Salar de Uyuni in Second Life

Maison de L’amitie: Salar de Uyuni

Maison de L’amitie, the Homestead region held by Corina Wonder, is generally associated with beautiful landscapes such as this 2017 coastal setting. So I was a little surprised when good friend (and region discoverer) Shakespeare, sent me a slightly cryptic IM suggesting I go take a look. Intrigued, I hopped over – and surprised by what I found.

Sitting on an endless, plain sit two Jeeps, one of which is occupied by a Labrador dog. Overhead is a blue sky under which fluffy clouds are passing, reflected in the shallow waters covering the plain – and that is all there is. I was initially mystified until I read the About Land description: Inspired by Salar de Uyuni.

Maison de L’amitie: Salar de Uyuni

Located in the Daniel Campos Province, in south-west Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni is the world’s largest salt flat, covering an area of some 10,582 square km (4,086 sq mi), sitting at an elevation of 3,656 m (11,995 ft) above sea level. It was formed as a result of the evaporation of prehistoric lakes.

Despite its extreme size, and with the exception of Isla Incahuasi located in the centre of the flats, the elevation within the region varies by under one metre (3.3 ft) across its entire area. This, coupled with the shallow covering it during the winter months, have led to Salar de Uyuni being referred to as the “world’s largest mirror”, and is frequently the subject of photographs that (if you’ll pardon the pun) reflect this fact – as seen below.

Salar de Uyuni. Credit: Takashi Nakagawa

It is in celebration of such images that Maison de l’amitie has been made over: a near-perfect flat expanse over which hangs a perfect sky, the two Jeeps emphasising the mirror-like finish. It’s a simple, elegant setting which, after the initial surprise of its bareness, can captivate. However, in order to full appreciate it, do make sure that you hop into you viewer’s preferences and go to Graphics > (Advanced) and make sure the Water Reflections option is set to Everything.

Another thing Salar de Uyuni is famous for is humorous forced perspective photographs, such as the one shown below, by Danish traveller Miriam. It would be interesting to see if Second Life users can use Maison de L’amitie’s tribute to the region in a similar manner.

Salar de Uyuni via Adventurous Miriam

Despite its apparent harshness, Salar de Uyuni is an extraordinary place – potentially one ripe for features to be added to Maison de L’amitie – although adding too many could spoil the impact. The salt flats are, for example, a major breeding ground for several species of flamingos; whilst located close to their expanse is the train cemetery, recalling the time when trains used to haul minerals from the region to the Pacific coast ports.

A uniquely curious setting, one that has can exercise a strange draw on the eye.

Maison de L’amitie: Salar de Uyuni

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Spring and romance at Luane’s World in Second Life

Luane's World; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrLuane’s World – click any image for full size

It’s been two years since I first visited Luane Meo’s Luane’s World and some fifteen months since a last visit to the neighbouring Luane’s Magical World – so a re-visit to both was long overdue.

Luane’s World, home to Luane’s store of the same name, tends to change with the seasons, offering visitors something new to see as each year progresses. At the time of our April visit, the region was sporting a springtime look, rich in greens on boughs and underfoot, with just a hint of summer blossoms to be seen and flowers blooming in the grass. A visit begins (as always) at the store, located in the north-east corner of the region.

Luane's World; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrLuane’s World – click any image for full size

From here, three paths mark possible routes of exploration. Two, marked by stepping-stones, lead the way south and east and south and west, respectively offering routes to  Luane’s Magical World or out into Luane’s World itself. A third dirt-topped paths bends north-east, leading to Luane’s World – Live the Dream, a third Homestead operated and designed by Luane. However, as this is largely private rental properties (enquiries to Luane), we opted to respect people’s privacy and keep out, despite the public paths leading partway around the region.

The path point south-west into Luane’s World leads you along the banks of the waterway which cuts between the region and Luane’s Magical World from the south, feeding into a large hearted-shaped pool of water sitting at the centre of the region.  The path circles this pond, carrying itself over the little channel feeding it to offer the way to an old windmill on one side, and the way past a cosy little café to where it branches, leading the way past a tree house to a beach that curves around the north and west of the region.  Above the beach to the west, the land rises a little, providing space for an old fort, watched over by a lighthouse sitting just off the coast.

Luane's World; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrLuane’s World – click any image for full size

Throughout the region are plenty of places to sit, cuddle and relax – such as the little cottage on the little southern island or scattered across the beach.

Across the water to the east, reached by either stepping-stones or a wooden bridge, is Luane’s Magical World. Hidden by a veil of mist, this is definitely a place for lovers and romance. Frosted tree a spread across waters frozen in time. In this, it remains similar to the first time we visited in December 2016. However, beneath the boughs, the environment has changed – most obviously in the frozen water replacing the snows.

Luane's World; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrLuane’s Magical World

There is no set path through this region, it’s a place to wander and let go of time – although fallen leaves suggest footpaths to follow. Lights glow from the frozen trunks and branches, whilst waiting to be found throughout the region are places to sit and cuddle. These range from an old greenhouse to beds under nets to a hanging chair suspended from a leaf and watched over by unicorns, to a tent guarded by albino elephants.

Elsewhere, under a table of rock at the northern end of the region there are tunnels and caverns awaiting exploration, while those seeking a celebratory meal will find it in an old gazebo, or if a romantic dance is preferred, the impressive ruins of a Gothic chapel offers a stone flagged floor and dance machine.

Luane's World; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrLuane’s Magical World

Luane’s World and Luane’s Magical World can be visited individually or together, depending on your mood. Both offer plenty of opportunities to share time together, and both are beautifully designed (as always) by Luane, and make for memorable visits. Should you take photos during your visit, consider adding them to the Luane’s World Flickr group.

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The Hamptons in Second Life

The HAmptons; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrThe Hamptons – click any image for full size

A homestead region designed by Haye Von Ayenhaha (Haye Aya), The Hamptons offers a taste of the great outdoors, inspired by Northern East Coast or Western European landscapes. It’s a photogenic location, with a rich mix of landscape, walks, hints of human presence and places for couples to enjoy.

The land is split into three long-fingered rocky islands, linked by high wooden bridges. The western most of these island is where the landing point is located, on the broken courtyard of a former piano factory. It shares the courtyard with the detritus of the factory, a little café-style space, and assorted vehicles. South of this is a private area of the island, with ban lines warning people to keep out – a sign and security orb might be more preferable, but that’s a minor point; the rest of the region is nicely open to exploration.

The HAmptons; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrThe Hamptons

North of the old factory are board walks overlooking the ocean, places to sit and cuddle, and a bridge linking the western island with the middle one of the trio. A second board walk angles away from the bridge, offering a way down into the gorge separating the two islands, where a rowing boat offers another cuddle spot. It’s possible to walk along the edge of the water here – just mind the bushes! – but remember, the south end of the island is off-limits.

The middle island flows around a large rocky spine into which an old mine shift drills its way back to a large cavern. Paths snake around either side of this backbone, the one to the west leading to a little terrace garden connected by wooden steps and low bridge to the private house. The terrace with its green house and potted plants can be visited, but the bridge to the house is again off-limits.  The path on the east side of the island offers views towards the final island in the group, and a board walk build out from the cliffs courtesy of a sturdy scaffold. An old barn sits part-way around the path, and another cuddle spot sits at the end of it.

The HAmptons; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrThe Hamptons

Reached via another bridge, the final island of the three offers a more open-topped plateau than the others, the trees here fewer, allowing for open rugged grass to carpet it under the sky. Again, an arc of board walks offers a view out over the sea to the east, a single wooden stairway leading down to a shoreline platform – note this is signposted as being reserved for women only! There’s a little bit of an oriental theme here – a little Japanese-style structure sits on the plateau while down on the shore of the channel between this and the middle island a larger house is under construction.

An interesting aspect of the region is that Haye has used a number of her own custom mesh builds to fit the design – notably the board walks and steps; this greatly add to the feeling that a good deal of care and attention has gone into the design.

The HAmptons; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrThe Hamptons

The Hamptons is a delightfully uncomplicated region design, very photogenic under a range of windlights, and presenting visitors with a quiet place in which to pass the time. The construction work I spotted suggests the region is still evolving, so don’t be surprised if you find more than I’ve described here.

All told, a very pleasing and relaxing visit.

The HAmptons; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrThe Hamptons

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A Green Story of two halves in Second Life

Green Story; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrGreen Story – click any image for full size

Green Story is a homestead region design by Dior (Rich Canis), who states to those visiting, “You have to relax here. You have to think here.” The twin ideals of relaxing and thinking somewhat reflect the matter in which this is a region largely of two halves.

A visit commences up in the sky, where a night scene awaits to capture eyes and thoughts. Perhaps a little dark for some, the rain adding to the atmosphere, this is a place that takes careful exploration, as not everything is immediately visible. As the landing point is on a wooden dock, be careful where you tread until things have rezzed.

Green Story; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrGreen Story

Off to the left, a semi-ruined tower rises, reached by what appears to be charcoal sands – be careful on crossing them, as they’ve been set to phantom. A staircase rises from the seaward side of the tower, offering a way up to the first level, where a swing and poses can be found. Above, on the roof, is another place to sit, and a dance machine – but how you get up there is a matter of personal preference.

Across the landscape from the tower, a plateau rises, a path switch-backing up one side. It’s top forms what appears to be a place of worship, partially walled, a folly forming the centre of contemplation as the rain falls outside. A statue stands in the lee of an old watchtower, while behind the plateau a steep hill rises. It is not connected to the plateau in any way, so again, finding your way up to the trees houses crowning it is up to you.

Green Story; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrGreen Story

Scattered across the low-lying lands are more places to sit, indoors and out, and bric-a-brac of all kinds lies scattered around, while lights are strung from the trees to provide some additional illumination. This is a quiet, contemplative place, one that encourages thinking, and perhaps a little romance in the rain. But, for those who prefer to continue their explorations, there is a teleport board close to the landing point – not always easy to see, but it leads the way down to ground level.

Here is a very different setting: two sandy islands sit under a bright sky from which snow falls to dust the sands. A great light-house points a white finger to the clouds on the south-east side of the region, a strange board-walk extending outwards from near the top, held up by long stilts. Below this are various places to sit and relax – a hut, and broken railway car, a deck and – out on the little island, another dock, with chairs and fire, sitting close to an empty shack.

Green Story; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrGreen Story

There are one or two rough areas in the sky build – the aforementioned phantom sand, plus a couple of points where the mesh land forms don’t quite marry up. However, these don’t really detract from the ethereal sitting in the sky.  The ground-level island present a simple setting, carrying with it a reminder of winter. Deer wander the dunes and a windmill turns in the wind. This is a place where people are free to sit and relax. However, there is one more place to visit in the region for those so-minded.

A small skybox environment offers a small backstreet setting, surrounded by the glowing lights of a city. There’s not actually a lot to see here – but it does offer a curious contrast to the other settings – and if auto-return were set to 10 or 15 minutes, it could be a handy backdrop for photographers.

Green Story; Inara Pey, April 2018, on FlickrGreen Story

Green Story is a little different to the places we usually visit, but it is nevertheless photogenic and makes for an interesting exploration.

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