Winter is coming. At least in the northern hemisphere it is. I know this not so much because the days are getting shorter and colder (although these are both the case), but because today my car went to the garage for its pre-winter check-up. I’m a bit of a Sloane Ranger in that I don’t exactly live in the countryside (although I’m not far off it), but I do drive a 4×4 in the shape of a Land Rover Discovery. It’s a bit of a monster, I know, but I in part got it after my previous car was totalled in a head-on, courtesy of someone deciding going around corners on the wrong side of the road was a good idea. My other reason for getting it was that at the time, spending a good deal of my winter time in the woolly wilds of Northumberland, and having a 4×4 up there in winter really is a good idea.
Anyway, all the talk of winter checks and making sure everything was topped-up, cleaned-up, safe for the rigours of winter driving (ice, frost, snow, slush, salt, etc.), left me feeling I needed a little bit of an early winter wander in SL. There’s obviously going to be a good many regions switching to winter themes over the coming weeks (many already have, I know), so I opted to start my winter travels a little modestly, visiting a region I dropped-in on back in summer, but never actually blogged about.
Small Town Green has been completely redesigned since my initial summertime visit. Most of the region has been sunk to form a deep water bay surrounded by a U-shaped island, with a rocky central islet. While the theme is again winter in look and feel, rather than presenting a contiguous scene, the region is perhaps more of a series of interlinked tableaux, which makes for interesting wandering.
You start at the small town (village?) of the title, which lines a winding road leading away from the railway on the west side of the island and which meanders around to wilder country to the north-east, and the towers of an old stone bridge which looks to have once spanned the mouth of the bay.
Meanwhile, the railway line, running from nowhere to nowhere on the west side of the island, forms a little tableau of its own which links with the town with the snowy hills to the south. Here sits a log cabin, possibly a house or perhaps a hunting lodge, with trees bereft of their leaves climbing up the hills behond in orderly ranks.Wander through the trees and you’ll pass reindeer and come to a small camp at the top which someone has managed to reach in their own 4×4, ready for a spot of snowboarding.
Each of these elements, together with the central island, linked to the rest by two slender rope-and-wood bridges, present the visitor with individual scenes to be enjoyed and photographed, while also leading one on from one to the next, encouraging exploration.
Within each of these scenes are additional stories, each of which is separated from the others and yet part of the whole. In the town, for example, there’s the pizza bar, clearly a takeaway service, sitting at the side of the road with only an old telephone box from the UK to keep it company. Is the ‘phone box actually where orders for pizza are received? And what’s the story at the cottage at the foot of the hills? Clearly someone is living there – someone with a good taste in literature, given they’re reading F. Scott Fitzgerald. Are they a resident, or someone here for the hunting season? If so, are the reindeer further up the hill really safe?
There are also odd little juxtapositions here as well, such as the old cart, complete with solid wooden wheels from a bygone era of history, slowly hauled down the street by a shaggy ox while shiny new cars sit parked at the roadside.
All told, Small town Green is an ideal location if you’re seeking somewhere that offers a number of unique locations linked by a central theme or series of idea for a photo shoot. It’s also ideal for the SL traveller who is looking for somewhere to simply enjoy a winter’s feel; the region lends itself particularly well to early morning misty settings in windlight, or early evening / night scenes.
I was also going to mention that you should make a point of crossing the bridges to the central islet and taking a peek at the frozen pond there, complete with penguins. On ice skates. Sadly, the penguins vanished at some point during my visit, to be replaced by a couple of ice sculptures. While they are not quite as wacky as penguins on ice skates, the sculptures and the pond and its seats are still worth a visit.
- Small Town Green SLurl (Rated: Moderate)