For me, one of the somewhat difficult aspects in writing about regions in Second Life is how to deal with those locations that offer a mix of public spaces and private residences.
I say this because while many of these regions try to strike a balance between public / private, there is always a risk that I’m encouraging a degree of possible trespass / invasion of people’s personal space by suggesting people go and visit. As someone who appreciates her own home spaces and the retreat they offer, I’m possibly being overly sensitive in this, but it is something I can’t shake. There’s also the fact that there are regions that have a bias towards rentals that makes writing about their public spaces difficult, simply because of the volume of homes and the limitations they place on exploration and discovery.
Such is not the case with Echo Ridge, a Homestead region that forms a part of Elvira Kytori’s White Dunes Estate, some of which I have covered in the past in these travelogue pieces.
What drew me to Echo Ridge is its layout and current wintery setting. Comprising a single large northern landmass, surrounded by high peaks that in turn encompass a scattering of smaller islands, it has only four rental properties within it. These are placed far enough apart within the setting that, with the intervening waters being frozen, allows for exploration without huge risk of trespass. Add the overall winter dressing the region has, and this layout also allows for numerous opportunities for photography and also for some winter pursuits such as sledding and skating.
The landing point for the setting is tucked into a southern island that offers plenty of room for wandering, places to sit and views across the rest of the region. From here it is easy to see the surrounding rental properties, and perform a quick check on parcel boundaries (right-click on the ground each house stands on) to spot the extent of private areas.
Beyond this, it is a simple matter of setting out to explore as you will; there are no set path other than the ice-coated waters, and they will lead you where you wish. The northern landmass additionally offers a snowy path that arcs around it, skirting one of the rental properties as it does so, to offer more views and opportunities for photography.
The magic here, however, is in the combination of small details, considered landscaping and the region’s EEP setting which is simply perfect. With the Sun hanging lower in the sky, it gives the region a very wintery feel that makes you want to done clothing that’s going to keep you warm as you wander across the snow or slide / skate over the ice.
These details come in many forms, but for me the most notable is the wildlife to be found right across the region – herons and egrets keeping a regal eye on all that is going on, Arctic foxes playing on the ice, deer wandering the snow, doves trying to work out what the slidey stuff they are skating on might be and sandpipers ignoring the snow as they prance the water’s edge looking for food under the cold white blanket while song birds await visitors to the region’s gazebo, so they might serenade them.
Really, there is not too much more to be said about Echo Ridge, simply because the region design speaks entirely for itself. It’s clear that a considerable amount of thought has gone into making this an attractive winter setting without going overboard on things. This makes the region beautifully understated when first seen, and increasingly attractive the longer one spends within it.
My thanks, as always, to Shawn Shakespeare for the point and landmark.
- Echo Ridge (Amaria, rated Moderate)