The last time I wrote about Maia Macabre’s Moochie was in January 2019 – see A Moochie Winter in Second Life – in what was a post-holiday visit. So this year I decided to make a pre-holiday visit and drop in to see the region in its 8th iteration of its theme ‘Tis the Season and have a little looks around.
This is a theme that carries with it from year-to-year familiar elements whilst also offering something new/and or different for visitors to appreciate. For example, the landing point tends to be located alongside a railway track; a place where arriving visitors can receive a folder containing an introduction to the region, a schedule of campfire events and a map denoting points of interest; there’s the ice-skating and the walk along a boxed hedgerow pointing the way to the local chapel; and, of course there are the many places for people sit together and / or enjoy a cuddle along the trails and paths and amongst the trees.
The smell of roasted chestnuts drifts on the air, and mugs of steaming hot cocoa are generously filled to keep us fortified during the cold nights ahead. The gentle whisper of singing carollers draws your ear, as the flickering festive lanterns guide your eye through the woods to awaiting pathways.
– From the Tis the Season introduction
And speaking of cuddles – couples who wish to enhance the romance of a visit may wish to available themselves of the couples walking rezzer also available at the landing point railcar!
The centrepiece of the region remains the frozen pond occupying a portion of the middle of the region. Surrounded by trees, this is reached by following the railway line south to where it is replaced by a string of wooden logs laid out over the snow to form a path. Illuminated by lights strung from and around the trees and by lanterns, its outer edge offers various places to sit and keep warm, whilst at its centre is a dance machine for those wishing to avail themselves of it.
Two further paths run through the tree from (or towards, depending on the direction of your wanderings!) this frozen pond; one of them taking visitors to the aforementioned chapel, and the other to where a box bridge spans a river as frozen as the pond. Beyond the bridge is a welcoming sight of a baked potato and hot drinks kiosk for tummies and hands in need of extra warmth, with copious seating seat out on the ice alongside the boardwalk running along what would otherwise be the water’s edge.
The kiosk, and another one across the ice, are overseen by Grannies Glittercrackers and Snoozypudding respectively. It is also on the ice of the river that visitors can avail themselves of the opportunities to skate on the river, go sledding or enjoy a tour around the region in the back of a sleigh (seating up to 2 avatars) as it almost circumnavigates the landscape, looping back through the start-point of the tour in the process, allowing you to resume your explorations from there. You can optionally jump out of the sleigh at any time to continue on foot, but it will immediately de-rez to avoid cluttering things up.
As well as offering the path down to the pond, the landing point offers a second route of exploration: a snow-bound track winding through the trees to the right of the North Pole sign at the end of the tracks, and marked by a red lantern. Also leading the way to the river, this path is marked by sleighs parked-up for cuddles, braziers bright with wood fires warming them and offering further illumination along the trail.
In retaining much that is familiar cross the years, ‘Tis the Season at Moochie offers something of a sense of tradition, comfort and familiarity to those who return each year. At the same time, the little tweaks here and there Maia makes to the setting helps to ensure there is always something new to discover and enjoy.
Those who do appreciate their time in the region can show their appreciation by signing the guestbook located at the middle of the frozen pond or by leaving a donation towards the region’s upkeep at the landing point. It is also at the landing point that people can send a postcard from the region to a friend in-world.
- ‘Tis the Season 2022 (Moochie, rated: Moderate)