Au Petit Jour in Second Life

Au Petit Jour, Hrodas Fen; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Au Petit Jour – click any image for full size

Au Petit Jour is the latest Homestead region design by Elyjia (Elyjia Baxton) and Brayan Friller (Brayan26 Friller) – who you may remember as being the couple behind The Heart of the Sea, which Caitlyn and I visited back in March 2017, and found to be a beautiful, tranquil location.

Those who remember The Heart of the Sea may notices that Au Petit Jour (“At Daybreak”) has much in common with that former build, whilst also being an entirely unique design.   There are two primary islands, for example, one of which includes the landing point, and a number of smaller offshore islets. As with Heart of the Sea, and as its name would suggest, Au Petit Jour is caught in the rays of an early morning sun, whilst the land presents a similar mix of lowlands and rocky, grass-covered bluffs and mesas.

Au Petit Jour, Hrodas Fen; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Au Petit Jour

But where Heart of the Sea rose from open waters, Au Petit Jour sits surrounded by other islands with tall green slopes and grassy shores which, to the east almost stretch out far enough to make part of this landscape a headland, rather than an island. To the north, between the rounded shoulders of these mighty hills, lies the open sea, a silver-grey Moon dipping slowly towards it, facing another open channel and the sea beyond, to the south.

The landing point is located on the north side of the largest island, under the shade of two tall trees with trunks gently bowed from age, bluebells blossoming around the feet. Birds perch on fences greeting the morning in song, and a cinder track cuts across the grass east-to-west, separating a shaded arbor from a nearby Romany camp, beyond which a light house is perched upon a rocky outcrop rising from reeded waters.  Follow the track eastwards, over an old stone bridge, and you’ll reach the second of the two large islands.

Au Petit Jour, Hrodas Fen; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Au Petit Jour

This throws a rugged face towards the tall hills to the east, crowned by an old folly (where dances can be enjoyed). The cinder path splits before reaching this flat-topped cast of rock, one arm leading to the steps that offer a way up to the folly, the other cutting between rocky faces to arrive at a low-lying area, shaded by trees and looking south over a cinder beach and across the inlet to the other islets in the group.

Go west along the track from the landing point, up a small flight of tone steps, and you have a choice of going south (left) or north (right). The southern path leads past more steps offering access up to a windmill seated on the island’s highest point, to a cove-like sandy beach presenting another vantage point looking towards the largest of the remaining islands. This is home to stilted beach houses built out over the water, with  cabins for rent on the low hill above them.

Au Petit Jour, Hrodas Fen; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Au Petit Jour

Northwards, the land remains flat and low, forming a hook to enclose a small bay into which waters tumble in falls down the side of the windmill’s table of rock. The hook offers a small place for music and dancing, while a raft anchored in the little bay presents another place for sitting and cuddling.

Beautifully laid out, with places to sit, places to cuddle and places to dance – as well as plenty to see, Au Petit Jour  offers much for the Second Life traveller to enjoy. When visiting, do keep in mind that the small island to the south-east, with the little cabins on the rocks and the little white boat dock, is a private area and not open to the public. Should you enjoy your visit, please do consider a donation towards the upkeep of the region.

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With thanks to Shakespeare (Skinnynilla) for the LM.

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Simbelmyne and a Love Story in Second Life

Simbelmyne

Simbelmynë, also called Evermind, has its roots in Tolkien’s tales of Middle Earth. It was a white flower that grew in Rohan; now, in Second Life, it is the name given to one half of the homestead region of Isle of Love.

Designed by L E S (Lestat Heninga) with assistance from Arol Lightfoot, Simbelmyne in Second Life presents a beautifully wild landscape carrying echoes of Tolkien’s Middle Earth without intending the be representative of Middle Earth.  Covering the northern half of the region, it is entirely open to the public with the exception of the beach house in the north-west corner of the land, which is a private residence.

Simbelmyne

The SLurl will deliver visitors across the region from the beach house, in the north-east corner, where they’ll immediately see the Tolkienesque influence. An ancient ruin stands atop a set of worn stone steps and runs southwards over a series of arches spanning a shallow inlet, to arrive at an old fortification, itself in ruin. Headless and armless winged figures stand guard over the steps, and across the bridge-like arches a stone robed figure stares blankly westwards.

A mist drifts slow inland from the arches, sharing the space between tall fir trees with ferns and white flowers which could so easily be simbelmyne, to where more walls, these intricately carved, sit within a small copse. Beyond them the land opens out, pointing the way towards the beach house on the horizon, allowing the view of it to remind visitors it is a private residence.

Simbelmyne

Further south, the trees give way to a small lake fed by a waterfall. An old wooden shack sits on the bank of the lake, bracketed by a moored rowing boat on one side and a small camp on the other, across the neck of a reedy channel that points eastwards to the sea.  A track meanders by the lake, heading west to the beach (open to the public), the ground carpeted in ferns and flowers which slowly give way to grass as the sands on the beach are reached.

Across the curtain of cliffs dividing the land is Love Story – Lost at Sea, by Lauren (Daisy Kwon). This is a coastal setting with a story of its own concerning lost love, hopes, the passing of time, and a love that encompasses a lifetime. The best way to enjoy this story is to read it for yourself from the note card that#’s presents to all arrivals to the land, and I’m not going to repeat it here.

Love Story – Lost at Sea

Hemmed to the north and east by high cliffs, but open to the sea to the west and south, the land presents itself as a coastal village or hamlet – where is not important, although the buildings running along the single street suggest this is somewhere along the European coastline of the Mediterranean. These buildings – a tavern, a bakery and a coffee-house – look out over a small, square harbour where sailing boats are tied alongside old wooden piers, watched over by a squat lighthouse. The latter seems needed, given the wreck brought up against the rocks to one side of the harbour entrance.

An old shack sits in the shadow of the lighthouse. It occupies a small space of flat land between lighthouse and rows of grape vines which step their way down a gentle slope. The shack forms a part of the story to the region, as does the gravestone close by. Looking out over the harbour, the shack is the perfect vantage point for sea views, perhaps only matched by the ruins of the old pavilion on the far side of the harbour, a place now devoted to dancing.

Love Story – Lost at Sea

Set beneath a setting sun, both Simbelmyne and Love Story – Lost at Sea offer romantic locations ripe for visiting. Each has a number of spots where sitting and cuddling can take place, and both are very photogenic.

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Isle of Love is rated Moderate

Lost dreams in Second Life

Le Sixième Sens, Les Reves Perdus; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Les Reves Perdus – click any image for full size

Les Reves Perdus (“Dreams Lost”) is a public homestead region designed by Chanell (zaziaa), which Caitlyn and I were drawn to visiting after seeing a photo by Wurfi, a fellow photographer and blogger. Described as “an original world of dreams and creativity, with the atmosphere of nature,” it is a place visitors are invited to enjoy and photograph, and it does indeed present a relaxing landscape in which to wander and spend time.

Placing the region is a little hard; there is a touch of provincial France about it, together with a little twist of Tuscany, thanks to the villa occupying part of the region. The low-lying parts of the island, however, could be representative of just about any temperate coastal / marshland area in the world. Nevertheless, the theme works, and everything comes together to create a charming, photogenic scene.

Le Sixième Sens, Les Reves Perdus; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Les Reves Perdus

A visit starts on the low-lying part of the island, at the end of a dirt track which gently undulates along an avenue of trees, leading the way to a set of stone steps which rise to the highland reaches of the region, of which more anon.

Mostly grass-covered, this lowland is home to grazing sheep and horses, with the greenery broken up by bright splashes of rapeseed and wild flowers.  It is also split into two, linked via stone and log bridges, with some marshy outlying areas sitting a short distance across the water to the north and north-west. Over the bridges, the land is more divided between grass and sand, the former giving way to a widening arc of the latter, offering plenty of places to sit and enjoy the view out over the open waters to a sailing ship lying off the coast, or inland over a shallow bay, fed in part by a horseshoe waterfall, to the cliffs of the highlands.

Le Sixième Sens, Les Reves Perdus; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Les Reves Perdus

A lone outcrop of rock rises from the south-eastern end of the beach, a wooden cabin sitting on its flat top. A rope bridge spans the narrow neck of water separating it from a promontory on which sits another cabin, the two offering a cosy place for couples. From here, it is possible to climb up onto the higher ground – but I don’t recommend it: there is neither a path for doing so, nor is the immediate landscape designed to be seen from this side.

Instead, the best way to appreciate the upland area is via the track and stone stairs near the landing point. These will take you up to a broad, largely flat plateau where the Tuscan villa sits, a tide of wild grass and rapeseed washing around it and held at bay from reaching the pool in front of the villa by bushes and bright flowers. Deer roam this wild garden, while the villa’s dining room is set for a formal meal, and its outhouse offers a lounge area with light refreshments. Climb the stairs of the villa, and you’ll enter the realm of an artist, whilst beyond the walls of the villa, the land grows wild on one side, and offers a small orchard on the other, an old pick-up truck offering another place for couples to snuggle.

Le Sixième Sens, Les Reves Perdus; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Les Reves Perdus

Les Reves Perdus makes for a charming visit, and the default windlight offers plenty of scope for photographs and the region as a whole presents plenty of scope for those who like to use their preferred windlights or like to experiment. This is an ideal place to visit if you’re seeking some quiet time on your own or with a friend. Caitlyn and I took certainly found it relaxing to sit on a hammock chatting, while looking out over the water to where the little folly sits amidst the pinks and greens of the marshy outlands.

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A sixth sense in Second Life

Le Sixième Sens, Le Sixième Sens; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Le Sixième Sens – click any image for full size

We first visited Le Sixième Sens (“the sixth sense”) in January of 2017, at a time when the region was popping up in blogs and photo streams. As I didn’t get to write about it then, I recently found myself hopping back to see what had changed and to catch-up on my own write-up for the region.

Designed by Natacha Haroldsen, the region presents itself as a little corner of Tuscany, where “a plaza surrounded by old shops that give you a rustic feeling,” sits beneath a pale azure sky, and a vineyard climbs the slope of a hill, beckoning those who stand at the archway of the plaza to explore the land before them.

Le Sixième Sens, Le Sixième Sens; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Le Sixième Sens

Six months may have passed since Caitlyn and I first followed the track down from the boutique shops gathered around the landing point and out over the arched back of a stone bridge, but little has changed in that time. Le Sixième Sens retains a wonderfully relaxed feel, offering the kind of setting you hope to find whilst travelling on vacation; a place that calls on you to stop, explore, run your fingers lightly over the delicate curl of flower petals and watch the water slip slowly under bridge and bough.

From the little piazza, visitors can wander across this gentle, rocky landscape, passing over the waters which divide it into three islands, and meander among the sunflowers, poppies and trees, going wherever their feet my take them.

Le Sixième Sens, Le Sixième Sens; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Le Sixième Sens

There are, of course, the vines mentioned above, paraded in neat rows up the slope of a hill to where a villa-style farmhouse sits. The lower slopes of this hill are covered in tall grass, on which horses graze and sheep roam and chickens cluck their way around another, smaller farmhouse. On this northern headland, extending out from the vineyard’s hill, sit old ruins which both face the piazza of shops across the water to one side and shelter moored rowing boats on the other, before the land ends in the broken finger of a lighthouse.

South and east, separated from the other island by bay and channel, sits a tall rocky plateau. A path rising from the trees below it forms a switch-backs up one of the otherwise sheer cliffs to where a small studio, gracefully called The Writer’s Workshop, sits. It commands a view out over the water, and offers the perfect vantage point for a painter. Linked to the rest of the land by a single bridge and with its screen of trees guarding the path from that bridge, the plateau gives a sense of tranquil separation from the rest of the region without ever feeling apart from it.

Le Sixième Sens, Le Sixième Sens; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Le Sixième Sens

Throughout this landscape, filled with the sounds of birds singing, can be found numerous places to sit and relax, or share a cuddle or a dance. A picnic blanket awaits under the shade of bushes in one direction, a chess set and sofa can be found among the farm’s outbuildings, the ruins hide a swing chair, while the rowing boats offer their own places to sit and contemplate the world – or one another. And that’s just the start; much more awaits those who take the time to explore.

Wherever you roam in Le Sixième Sens, there is something to be found and enjoyed, whether you are seeking a place to relax or a location to photograph (join the region’s group and you’ll get rezzing rights as well). The default windlight setting presents the region under what might be one of the cooler days of late summer or autumn – the hay bales in particular adding to this autumnal suggestion; but this is a place which invites tweaking and playing with windlights, and I couldn’t resist taking some photos suggestive of warmer summer days.

Le Sixième Sens, Le Sixième Sens; Inara Pey, June 2017, on Flickr Le Sixième Sens

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