Update: January 16th: Mineral Ridge has unfortunately closed.
In the 1930s, Mineral Ridge was once a wealthy, booming mining town, its fortune drawn from the precious secrets hidden within the rocks of the high plateaus on which it sits. But, as the saying goes, nothing lasts forever. Today Mineral Ridge sits as a place well past its heyday, fading and rusting under the sun, a curio for tourists to come and visit, and a place where the dispossessed and – maybe – those on the wrong side of the law – can find a place where they can settle or hide.
Or that’s how you might interpret the back story to this Full region, designed as a group effort principally by Norman Dobler, Aiden Cauldron, and thejunkyard. It’s a relatively new addition to Second Life, but one which is both atmospheric and which makes good use of the available space to create a scenic environment offers plenty of space for exploration as well as reflecting the theme of a once-wealthy mining town now well past its heyday.
On the highest plateau of this rugged place, sits part of the town: grand houses – including a villa of distinctly Tuscan looks – doubtless built by those who gained their fortune out of the mines below, but which have all seen better days. Some appear deserted, other still occupied – although whether by the original owners is perhaps open to question.
A road, cracked in places, loops around them, stables sitting between one or two, rough tracks now forming alleys between others. At one end of this road sits a more recent addition to the town – a motel. But even this has the same air of tiredness and age hanging around it as it faces a diner across the street, the offices above that long since abandoned and boarded-up. Only the emergency services building and the Sheriff’s office around the corner from it, have a feel of upkeep about them.
As the road twists a noose around the houses, a wide track drops away from it, winding its way down into a sheer sided canyon by way of an ageing farm before splitting under the gaze of an old radio tower, one part offering access to the west side of the region, the other running down into the canyon floor proper. Follow it down towards the latter, and if you keep your eye on the rocky wall beyond the trees and bushes lining the track, you might spot the hidden entrance to the old mines on which the town built its wealth, while down on the canyon floor sit ruins far older than the town.
The west side of the region can be reached not only via the dirt track, but also over an old trestle bridge. This offers a convenient short-cut to the west ridge of the region, a gap in the wire fence, at some point faced with corrugated iron sheets as if it had been armoured, allowing it to once more join with the dusty track, presenting explorers with the choice of visiting a decrepit shack or making their way up to the the old radio tower.
All told, Mineral Ridge is an interesting and considered design, sitting somewhere between a role-play environment and photogenic region with some little mysterious edges. Photographers looking for somewhere just that little different as a backdrop to their work, in particular may enjoy a visit to the town. Once again, many thanks to Shakepeare (SkinnyNilla) for passing over the LM!
- Mineral Ridge (Mineral Ridge, rated: Moderate)