by Nishi Serrano
“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream …” Edgar Allan Poe
Places fuel our imagination. When we journey the planet to locations that influence our minds to think of times past or possibilities of the present, it inspires all manner of divineness in our hearts. And for this reason, as a guest writing on the most esteemed ‘Steamed!’ blog, I wish to share a few of these magical sites that have unlocked within me romantic, otherworldly musings. As a suggestion with these fascinating spaces, one would be advised to dress in your very best steampunk attire to fully immerse in the experience.
Afton Villa Gardens:
If you live anywhere in or near Louisiana, I suggest a sojourn to Afton Gardens. Whimsical and mystical, it is one of those eerily beautiful sights left over from the Victorian era. Be warned though, you must go when the days are cool, as it gets quite steamy otherwise.
There are paths lined with sentinels of greek mythology, an expansive and lush labyrinth, and stairs that lead you up airy paths to nowhere in particular except for a view of the magnificent landscape. The ticket price is five dollars to enter, and it is virtually devoid of tourist. If you have a row boat, there is a charming pond on which to cruise. Bring a picnic basket and tea. You will want to stay there forever. www.aftonvilla.com
Rip Van Winkle Gardens:
Since I have mentioned the South, this grand spot is one you can spend the night at, and is not far from Lafayette, LA. They have a quaint café, tales of pirates and sinkholes, and a garden filled with peacocks, ruins, and hidden paths.
Imagine yourself wandering the starlit passages arm in arm with your true love as you search the night for the ghosts of pirates past. www.ripvanwinklegardens.com
Now let us travel to the West, where anything is possible and most likely probable!
If, like me, you are a western steampunk at heart, Columbia is a dream come true. I never tire of visiting this originally kept gunslingertown. I once spent two nights and had quite the adventure. Let me give you some advice—no matter how much whiskey you can slam at the saloon, a midnight walk does not mean you can pet a random roving mountain lion just because you think it is a deer!
And if you wander amongst the eldricht shaped rock formations, be on the lookout for bandits (we snuck up on the one in the photo getting ready to rob the stagecoach!)! Don’t forget to visit the schoolhouse and do a snip of ghost hunting in the cemetery behind it. www.columbiacalifornia.com
Built as a country poor farm in 1911, the charm of Edgefield and its grounds is not to be missed. Gather a group of your friends and stay at least one night, and bring your parasols and goggles. There’s a shack for fine cigars and a lawn for summer concerts (or croquette!).
Mcmenamin’s is famous for brewing their own spirits, whether it be port, wine, brandy, or beer, the libations flow until you say “Alas, good gents—no more!” www.mcmenamins.com
Wherever you find yourself, there are treasures to be had with but a bit of poking around. Dig, do your research,and then assemble your jolly fellows for a romping good soiree that is only limited to your imagination!
If you would like to read more about my adventures visit my blog at: http://www.nishiserrano.blogspot.com
My steampunk erotica ‘Mile High Airship Club’ can be had August 19th at: http://www.decadentpublishing.com