Welcome one and all to the Last Door on the Left – a travel agency for the adventurous soul. Have you always wanted to see the world beyond the wardrobe? Longed to wait for the train at 9 ¾? Pined for tickets to hear Plava Laguna sing at Fhloston Paradise? Look no further.
Greetings and glad tidings to you, my globe-trotting gallivanters! Hopefully the new year is filling your adventurous souls with exhilaration and glee. We here at the Last Door on the Left hope that sunshine and merriment are finding you, wherever you hang your hat. In fact, in the wake of the woeful wanderings of our last adventure together, we thought something more pastoral and idyllic might offer an appealing and entrancing – or at least refreshingly relaxing – alternative as a vacation destination. With that in mind, say goodbye to the desk job at the Joja Corporation (it was soul-sucking, anyway! You’re better off.) and hello to the country life on a farm in Stardew Valley.
The view as we enter the vale is an arcadian array of small homes and businesses artfully interspersed amongst the fields, forests, rivers, and lakes that make up the landscape of Stardew Valley. Stardew really is a one-stop shop for all your vacation needs, as the Valley finds itself conveniently nestled between mountains in the north-east, the Calico Desert in the north-west, forests to both the east and the west, and the ocean to the south. Why, if you manage your time correctly, you can be sunning yourself on the beach in the morning and adventuring in the mountains that same afternoon!
Packing Pro-Tip #1: A good backpack. In an environment as vital and versatile as Stardew Valley, you’re going to need to carry any number of things around with you at all times. You never know what you might need! Beach towel? Check. Fishing rod? Check. Pickaxe? Check. Water? Check. Sword? Check. Wait… what?
The current adventure begins with our lodging for the duration of our stay: a local ranch. As favoured patrons of the Last Door on the Left, you are all savvy travellers and have stayed in many different types of accommodations, from the gruesome to the grand. That said, there’s definitely something new and different about staying on and maintaining a farmstead. Early mornings and chores quickly become par for the course as you clear the land and prepare for crops and planting.
Savvy Traveller Side Note #1: Take advice where you can get it. There is definitely something satisfying in setting a goal and achieving it, in seeing something come to fruition, to being successful. But it can be difficult to get there if you don’t know where to start. Cultivate the resident resources by talking to the locals, they have a lot of helpful things to say. And if you can catch an episode of a TV program called “Living off the Land”, pay attention.
Planting and watering your seasonal crops is strangely soothing, no doubt, but don’t get so caught up in the zen-like nature of nurturing your nettles that you miss the forest for the trees! There’s a whole lot more to Stardew Valley than just the farm. Pierre’s, of course, is a must-see shop. Despite fierce competition from the Big Box JojaMart that opened up on the east side of town, Pierre’s is still the go-to store for all of your seeds and produce needs. Not only can you purchase all of your seasonally available goods – and Pierre’s produce is bar-none! He invariably wins the grange display at the Stardew Valley Fair in the Fall – it’s also the only place you can buy the traditional courting bouquet: a bunch of flowers given to someone to indicate your romantic interest. Plus, there’s a weekly exercise class held in the next room, for all of your fitness needs.
For the budding geologist in the crowd, a trip to the mines is always a great idea. The elevators need a little maintenance, so definitely start with the ladders, and that sword we mentioned earlier? Bring that along. Just in case. But, oh what fun there is to be had gathering rocks and finding ores and gems and minerals, oh my!
Savvy Traveller Side Note #2: Bring food into the mines. Collecting rocks is serious business and takes a LOT of energy! Be sure to listen to your body and not let it get too depleted or tired, because passing out in the Deep is a BAD IDEA. You never know what is going to come out of the black, but you DO know it’s going to steal stuff out of your backpack. Uncool.
While you’re in the mountains, it would be remiss of us not to recommend a trip up to the spa. An underutilized resource in Stardew Valley, you’ll find the steaming waters a relaxing place to reflect on your progress as you soak your now overutilized muscles.
Packing Pro-Tip #2: Sturdy shoes. And maybe a Fitbit. You will do a LOT of walking in Stardew Valley, make sure to take care of those toes.
Of course, paying for a vacation is always an issue, especially for an extended stay such as what we recommend for getting the most out of Stardew Valley. As a result, we suggest you take advantage of the Mayor’s conveniently set up system whereby you can store anything you forage, find, fish, or farm in a box by the house, and he’ll sell it all overnight and leave you the resulting “g” for your spending pleasure.
Back in town, another spot on the must-see hit list is the local Stardew Valley combo Library and Museum. Admittedly, it’s not much of a resource when you first get to town, but as you start donating things you discover, the collection will begin to round out nicely. And the perks for donating – aside from the obvious glow of self-worth and civic duty – are often lovely, if mystifying pieces of home decor.
Savvy Traveller Side Note #3: Always dig up worms. If you see worms squirming in the ground, it’s time to start digging. Sometimes all you’ll get is dirt, but more often than not, wiggly worms mean pay-dirt.
And of course, what picturesque parish could be complete without a local saloon? In a hamlet whose streets roll up at 5pm, having a speakeasy stay open until midnight is glorious. Here is where the whole town gathers on a Friday night to shoot pool, play an arcade game or two, even put a coin in the jukebox and enjoy a dance. You can buy a beer, some pub food, and Gus – the proprietor – will often even have a special on from time to time, while quantities last.
Savvy Traveller Side Note #4: The Saloon is a great place to meet and greet the locals. Who doesn’t love a free round of beer? Or coffee? Both are popular choices with the Stardew Valley crowd, and will go a long way to taking you from stranger danger to familiar face.
So remember: when you need to unplug from daily grind of modern life and your adventurous soul is craving something soothing, Stardew Valley awaits. You’ll visit for the pastoral pleasures of tending farm and fishing in lakes and oceans, the rugged charm of unearthing ores in the depths, and the quiet solitude of foraging in the forests and along the oceanfront. The reason you’ll stay, however, is the wholly unexpected sense of community that sneaks up and forms around you when you’re looking at everything else.