Coastside Park—the ultimate haven away from urban chaos—was deeded to the people over one hundred years ago out of the prescient notion that the city folk would one day feel overcrowded. The city has spilled over three sets of defensive walls and is now reaching water to water on its hilly sandy peninsula. This foresight proved invaluable.
Coastside is one of the largest parks ever made by human hands, over 1000 acres of trees, grass, manmade ponds and lakes, and other plants. Most parks capture existing nature. The less than ideal sandy soil and scrubby trees have been augmented by tons of soil and more proper plants.
Finding the land was the easy part. Someone still had to make grass and trees grow out of sand dunes blasted by harsh oceanside winds. The person to do it was McLaren. He arrived in the city because it was such a crossroads. Given his skills and touch, he had established grass, trees and numerous plants in an environment most thought too barren for lush foliage. He purchased the park with a huge sum he had won in a game of chance.
The first buildings came with The Midwinter Fair, a sprawling expo and carnival meant to boost the economy and increase tourism. There have been lesser fairs since then, but never one like this. The world was invited. Author’s Note: The first fair/ event to increase tourism and the economy was in Genoa in 1320. The City wanted to prove that it had culture—so a fine-arts museum was built. To prove that outdoor activities could be pursued, horse stables and vast, unlandscaped greens were preserved. And to showcase the exotic and quirky atmosphere of the City and to show how cosmopolitan it was, several theme areas were developed, including a Nihkon garden, an Orcen range, and a small Valdian Hometree.
The fair succeeded at what it set out to do. An untold number of people visited The City, business boomed and locals found renewed pride in their formerly sand-covered park. Today, the only remnants of that enormous event are the King Arthetian Memorial Museum, the Nihkon Meditation and Tea Garden and the Music Concourse esplanade. What remains today is a testament to the will of the City to preserve a place to play, relax and grow culturally.
Getting Around: There is a large number of horse drawn and people drawn cabs that swarm across the park’s roads over the weekends, as well as holidays. During the week, there never seems to be one around when you need it. There is a stables here and a number of horse trails.
The Park’s main entrance is a Triumph Arch dedicated to the glories of The City, rather than a specific military victory. Following this road west will take one to the city center.
Conservatory of Flowers: Just down the road from the concourse, towards the east side of the park. Since the fair, locals and visitors have marveled at The Conservatory of Flowers, the oldest glass-and-wood Victorian styled greenhouse in the Western Hemisphere and home to more than 10,000 plants from around the globe. It has been said to be so beautiful that it brought a tear to the Elventi prince’s eyes. Located beneath the conservatory dome, the warmest and most humid section of the building, is the conservatory’s prized century-old imperial philodendron and a child sized Hometree. The east wing houses the Highland Tropics collection and aquatic plants display (including real lily pads that can hold the weight of a small child), while the west side is dedicated to seasonal flowering plants and educational exhibits (the first, all about plant pollination, features 800 live butterflies that will flit about among the visitors.) There is a slight fee to enter the buildings.
Garden of The Bard’s Flowers: Designed only fifty years ago by The Mad Playright (who sunk the last of his wealth before his death to make it) to honor the plants and flowers mentioned in the Bard’s poems and plays. Obsessed fans can play “name the work” as they pass each of the 150-odd specimens.
Buffalo Paddock: Small herds of bison have made their stoic presence known since the early yeas, when the park was a free-range zoo of elk, bears, goats and other animals. The Buffalo were sacred animals to the natives of this region that were displaced by Civilized Folk. Keeping the animals here is part of the treaty with the surviving natives. If the animals are not kept, all the land reverts to them, Next to one of the three Lakes.
Portals of the Past: A front porch standing without a house, reflecting in a still lake below—that’s all that remains of the royal home destroyed in the Great Disaster. It is the only public memorial to the disaster in the City.
Academy of Sciences: Found in the Middle of the park, just off the Music Concourse and Pavilion, it is a marvel. Though the building is a touch dated, it was built to look “like something from the future” over one hundred and fifty years ago, it has a distinctive style that other similar institutions now copy. Insides there are “classes” for low ranking classes, a taxonomy lab, a place of natural history with skeletons and displays of almost every animal known, an observatory, a thaumaturgy exhibit, and the largest sundial known to man. Once a summer, inventors, tinkers,and mages bring their best and most interesting new toys, tools, and processes for the Academy Fair.
Music Concourse and Pavilion: At the far end of the concourse is the Pavilion, a large band clamshell, large enough to hold a large band or a play. The concourse has many long walkways, with well manicured grass between them. The summer concert series is sponsored with crown and city funds. The winter concerts are very cold but quite fine. In the spring, the concourse holds a modest sticksword contest.
King Arthetian Memorial Museum: This classically design building hold one of the worlds largest public collections of art. It occasionally hosts “visiting art embassies” from other nations, that stop here on their way to the capitol. No weapons or sharp objects are allowed here and there is a fee to enter. It is across the concourse from the Academy.
Nihkon Mediation and Tea Garden: Many people’s favorite part of the park, this was originally built as part of the sprawling Midwinter Fair. It is in the northern and middle western part of the park. Nihkon traders frequent the port and feel part of this odd city. When The Fair occurred, they felt indebted enough to the city to create an example of their lands. They built a small temple with several gravel “ponds” where the patterns of existence can be contemplated. This walled in area is an intricate and private complex of paths, ponds and a teahouse features plants native to these foreign lands. Hidden throughout its five acres are beautiful sculptures and bridges.
The Golden Archery field lies just north of the newly made golf course. The course is surrounded by tall burns for better viewing and the stopping of the odd shot. The annual competition held here draws people from many places around the world.
Golf is the newest court fad. The game consists of whacking a small ball across the game field into a small flagged cup. A solid seven hole course has just recently be made of one of the great meadows on the far west side of the park.
Tennis: A tennis building with three courts is just east of the new Golf Course. This fad has been replaced by the Golf Fad. This game of tennis only has a net in common with that know of most modern peoples, there is a net and a racket. Think of it more as squash with a net instead of a wall, where bouncing off the walls and off the sides of the buildings is okay.
The Keysaren Area is a field where a number of events are held. (The description for The Field is submission 1478) The Keysaren area is a huge version of this field, able to hold large tournaments and affairs. The “front” is much longer than the one in the field.
Picnic Grounds: There is almost nothing more pleasant than a sunny day picnicking in the park. There are a dozen of small meadows and places that are good for picnicing. There are places with tables and small firepits near the ocean side and far side of the park.
The Oceanside Park beach is fairly nice area if you want to watch the surf and the occasional sea dragon swimming along the coast. Between the
Between the sandy beach and the picnic grounds, surrounded by trees is a wind mill. This windmill was “family property” of a trader who came from overseas, but made his home and his family here. He brought the windmill over and had it rebuilt. It still grinds grain and klah to this day.
Beach Chalet: This two-story building lurks over Ocean Beach and houses some of the best murals in the city. The frescoes were done by Lucare, a famous artist, and portray people of the City in various stages of play. Upstairs, in the bustling pub run by the same family for over eighty years. It is quite upscale and the prices reflect that.