A vacation at Pandora Resort in Second Life

Pandora Resort; Inara Pey, September 2016, on Flickr Pandora Resort – click any image for full size

Note: this vision of Pandora Box of Dreams has closed.

Pandora Resort is the latest full region design undertaken by Lokhe Angel Verlack (Jackson Verlack). It’s a place I’ve eagerly been awaiting the opportunity to blog in detail about because it is, quite frankly, one of the most stunning regions I’ve had the privilege to visit and preview.

When writing about places to see in Second Life, it is easy to slip into hyperbole; everything is superb, excellent, wonderful, stunning, and so on – and more often than not, such descriptions are deserved. However, with Pandora Resort, it’s actually very hard to over-state anything: this really is an utterly gorgeous region in which superb use is made of space, both horizontally and vertically, to present  something truly unique and breathtaking.

Pandora Resort; Inara Pey, September 2016, on Flickr Pandora Resort

A visit begins at the local train station located on the west side of the region, where diesel locomotives stand, hissing and grumbling, hand carts of luggage awaiting their owners. The open doorways of the station beckon, leading new arrivals out into the sunshine and the little township of Iron Falls. Built around a garden square and church, and surrounded by tall craggy cliffs with snow-capped mountains beyond, this sleepy-looking town has opportunities for commercial rentals – and more.

A single road points the way from the station, forking left and right before the central garden and church, flowing around them in either direction to become whole once more at the steps and rocky climb up to the resort’s hotel. This is a grand wooden structure, looking out over the town from its elevated position nestled against tall cliffs. Depending upon which branch of the road you take around the gardens,  you may find other points of interest, such as the little café and the baker’s store, both of which look out over a craggy river gorge which has cut its way down through the rugged landscape over the aeons, and now offers fishing opportunities for holiday makers.

Pandora Resort; Inara Pey, September 2016, on Flickr Pandora Resort

Further along the road from these sits a secluded garden where wedding receptions can be held – with the weddings themselves taking place in the little church (newly-weds even get to enjoy a stay in the Honeymoon Cabin for a night, with the entire region locked down so they won’t be disturbed!) .

So far, so good; all of this makes the region sound photogenic, and the provision of business premises and a wedding venue are interesting but hardly unique – so what exactly makes this region so special? To answer that takes a little careful exploration. One clue comes in the cable cars, climbing up into the snow line above the resort hotel. These carry visitors by way of station and isolated peak, up into the foothills of the mountains, crossing deep gorges and – for the observant – revealing winding paths through the rugged land. It is these trails, snaking around rough shoulders of rock, skirting the edges of deep chasms, which lead visitors towards the hidden secrets of the resort.

Pandora Resort; Inara Pey, September 2016, on Flickr Pandora Resort

Accessible from ground level for the keen-eyed, the paths offer a number of routes through the more hidden areas of the region. In doing so, they lead visitors past camp sites and cuddle spots and  – for those wanting a place to stay – the vacation cabins which re available for rent, with a 75 LI allowance (the same as the commercial properties).

Finding your way around these paths should be done directly;  resist the urge to flycam on a first visit, as the impact of the scenery could well be lost. By simply allowing your feet to carry you along the trails as you find them offers the chance to be genuinely surprised with just how expansive the region seems to be, and the different sights you’ll come across.

Pandora Resort; Inara Pey, September 2016, on Flickr Pandora Resort

This really is a remarkable region design; for photographers, Pandora Resort offers some extraordinary opportunities. Rezzing rights can be obtained through a L$99 group membership to help with props. Those interested in renting any of the facilities should contact Sapphirejolla Resident or Glitta Magic.

For SL travellers, I cannot emphasise enough that this is not a region to be missed. Should you enjoy a visit, please consider making a donation towards the region’s upkeep. Congratulations to Lokhe and Miza on the opening – and a special get well soon to Lokhe, who was kept from the celebrations due to being unwell.

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