Abandale – click any image for full size
Somewhere, along some coastal road, perhaps hidden under the shade of trees or easily missed as it tries to compete with the stunning ocean vista on the other side of the road, an ageing, fading sign points the way down a turn off and is stencilled with a single word, fading with age: Abandale.
Take the turn, and the road gradually becomes more and more decrepit until, just as the idea of turning back and forgetting curiosity’s call, it arrives at a narrow stretch of coastline caught between sea and undulated shoulders of rock. Here sits a place where the black top finally gives up, and an old cargo container offers itself as a makeshift bridge spanning a narrow finger of water, the original crossing perhaps only a ford. It is the setting for the remnants of Abandale, a little town lost from civilisation and forgotten by time.
There’s not much here to commend itself to visitors seeking comfort – all that’s left of the motel which may once have stood at the town’s edge is the entranceway and the front office. Whether the rest was demolished or fell prey to a violent storm – the place stands almost on the edge of the land – is hard to say.
Beyond a curtain of trees from this, and reached by a wooden board walk, sits the ruins of a large building. But it doesn’t appear to be part of the motel; its general shape and the large gates sitting to one side suggest it was once a house, possibly part of a farm, going by the broken windmill and barn close by.
The town’s bar, however, does survive intact. It faces the ruins of the house across what’s left of the main road, but the sign confirming it is open for business may not carry quite the assurance the proprietor likely hopes. Certainly, the detritus of other human habitation before it doesn’t offer a comforting invitation.
Across the narrow channel of water the intrepid explorer can find more signs of former habitation: a long abandoned and broken little fun fair shaded from the sun by a tower of rock, the ruin of an old chapel sitting on the other side of the road and reached via an old track. A second track offers passage up to the hills to where a run-down cabin sits.
To the west of this, down on the coast, sits a beaches – perhaps the one place that offers an almost pleasant greeting for those who find it; certainly, someone has opted to set-up camp close by and avail themselves of the bar and volleyball. Perhaps whoever it is owners the rather pristine motorbike parked outside the old town’s garage, and they’ve found what’s left of Abandale a cosy enough place to rest from their own travels…
Designed by Dominique Redfield, Abandale occupies half a Homestead region and offers SL visitors something just that little bit different. Poetic licence on how to reach it aside, a visit begins up on the hills marking the parcel’s southern boundary, a switch back path offering a way down to the ruins of the house mentioned above, as a well as presenting a short walk along the cliff-tops to a high placed little wooden snug.
There is a ramshackle, ageing charm to Abandale, with plenty of room to explore and for photography. True, some of the landscaping is a little rough (I’d personally have avoided laying the dirt tracks up the slope to the cabin, or at least worked the land a little more to help blend the edges of the track more with the rocks and shrubs), but there’s nothing here to really spoil the time spent in visiting it.
For those who enjoy atmospheric settings for their photography and who enjoy experimenting with their windlight settings to define a desired result, Abandale offers plenty of scope (and has its own Flickr group). Similarly, those looking for places to sit and relax in a “country grunge” type of setting, will find plenty of such places here as well, from the beaches to the aforementioned cliff-top shelter.