Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Greyhaven and Pala Sims

By Gemma Cleanslate
These are two sims that I love to visit for many reasons: The owner works hard to keep both sims drama free at all times. They are the kind of sims where everyone feels welcome. Grey Nacht is the owner and protector of both sims and of them he says,  “Both sims have always been an expression of the fun that SL can be. We keep the lag at a minumum by not having any things that usually create lag on the sims. The fishing platforms, like Clockworks or the Spacestation are made of builds which are either bought, found or hunt prizes and not the usual fishing holes. Makes it fun, if a bit confusing for some folks. Not everyone takes the time to explore, but those who do usually find something interesting.” 
They have been around for a long time and I have been going there for about four years and cannot understand why it took so long for me to write about them. I go fishing there when I have time for the contests that occur almost every day. Grey has so many variations to the fishing contests that others do not have. He watches every catch and counts them and rewards those who reach certain catches with bait. He has built so many cute individual boats that are fun to ride and can be rezzed during the contests. There are many catchable customs available. His wife has made lovely jewelry that is boxed and catchable. After each contest Grey sets off spectacular fireworks that drop falling animals on your head if you are not careful. Makes for a great party. There is a secret room that is filled with free gadgets to be used at other fishing areas. 
There is a library of Arcadia Asylum, now known as Aley that is part of the several libraries set up across the grid to preserve all Arcadia’s creations which are free to anyone who wants them.  The waters are dotted with Arcadia’s underwater decor.There is a skypark where the old retired customs are still available for catching if you are a collector. As you look around the regions there are many areas to explore and  teleports to get you there.  At the Greyhaven entrance you can choose 10 places, including the secret room which is not really that secret. I visited the mill house where I had a wonderful view of Greyhaven. I clicked a cannon across the way and ended up inside so I shot myself out! I first landed in Pala, passing many interesting objects along the way. I visited the giant aquarium, one of the new additions to the region where wonderful creatures sway and swim in the water. There are fishing contests here sometimes too. 

From the entry point at Greyhaven you can walk across a drawbridge to reach Pala, Again you will have an array of destinations to explore. I love the space station (also a fishing place). There are various space vehicles on display. It is fun to explore the corridors along which there is a coffee room and to the right of that, a door that says freebies. Here you will find vendors containing wondrous items by Alety, all for the taking. I picked up a new pirate outfit while I was there. In the coffee break room I ran into three little chattering aliens I had first met at Burn 2 in October. You never know what you will find in space! 
Next I visited the firing range all outfitted for those who enjoy target shooting. Grey has free guns locked in a safe for those who need one and you get to choose your own game. Above the space ship sits the time vault encased in H G Wells book, “The Time Machine.” It is lovely and houses a Nemo Organ. The centerpiece is a  beautiful Time Vortex. My next TP landed me in The Clockworks. Here you will be surrounded by Aley’s (Arcadia Asylum) creations and machines, and a train running round it all. 
I will leave the rest of the TPs for you to try. But, be sure to take a walk around, or fly over and you will find many fantastic places to visit on the ground and in the air. No matter which sim you are in, you will find fishing everywhere. 
Gemma Cleanslate

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Winter Safety Game

By Grey Lupindo
 Your car is stuck in the snow, and your cell phone is dead.  Now what do you do?    You can find the answer and information on avoiding other winter hazards at the Winter Safety Game, located at Bailey (117,115,23).    This is an interactive game that educates you about the dangers of winter weather while you try to get to your grandma’s 75th birthday party.

 The Winter Safety Game is a project created by the National eXtension Initiative, which is an Internet-based educational network that provides objective, science-based information through the internet.  The information comes from universities and partners nationwide.  Its web site is

When you first arrive at the game, you find yourself standing next to a car stuck in the snow.   Eerie heartbeats and the desolate landscape set the tone of the game immediately.   But in order for you to actually play the game, you must find a green sewer pipe and descend into the information chamber.      

The brightly lit information center has large, clear signs that tell the object of the game and how to play.  There’s a section for new residents who might need more help, too.   Experienced residents can skip that part and go quickly to get a map and a HUD.    

The storyline is that it’s your grandma's 75th birthday, and you are the host/hostess.  You are planning to drive to the party, but a blizzard is in the forecast.  To further complicate things, you have to pick up your cousin, Bob, as well as Grandma.    You also have a roommate and a barn full of animals to tend before you can leave.   As you prepare for the storm, the HUD keeps track of your points.   If you collect enough points, you'll not only live, you'll get a reward.  

Many of the items are fun, like a lantern and a candy bar.  But others, like the Winter Safety Book, are filled with valuable information.   As you progress through the game, information signs and quiz questions allow you to gain points while checking on your winter safety knowledge.

A “To Do list” from your roommate is actually a valuable list of ways to prepare for severe weather.   One challenge is to thaw the frozen pipes.    If you’ve never had to do this in RL, you may be surprised at how it is done.        

There is a lot of valuable information about emergency kits, “go bags”, and a free Winter Survival app for your cell phone.    Some of the items are easy to find, but not all of them.    I collected a lot of “tokens”, which were helpful, but my HUD wasn’t registering any points.   I wasn’t sure if there was a flaw in the system or if I really wasn’t doing enough things correctly to earn points.      

After the house and barn chores are completed, you are ready to rez a car and head to grandma’s house.    But the notecard tells you to drive to the gas station and have the car winterized first, which I did.   However, Susie the mechanic said, “If you're planning to go very far in this storm, you probably should get some snow tires.”   I asked how much they cost, and I was told that was the wrong response.

 Another SL traveler, Tainith Resident, was following after me and pulled into the garage behind me.   There really was only room for one car at a time.  Tainith and I managed to get our cars stuck in the garage for a bit.   

 After I got out of the garage, I went to the General Store.   Tainith came in while I was still hunting for my supplies.   I was curious as to whether she was finding more items than me, but I didn’t want to ask.     

Finally I was on the road again, but not for long.   I had to stop at the ice fishing shanty to pick up a trout for Grandma.     It was shortly after this point that I made my first mistake.   I forgot to stop for cousin Bob.

There is a map that comes with the HUD, but I didn’t have room on my screen for the HUD, map, notecard, etc.   I decided I didn’t need the map.  Big mistake.    I missed the turn-off to Cousin Bob’s house and got stuck in the snow.     After a lot of backing up and going forward, I managed to turn the car around and went to retrieve Bob.   

It was a good thing I did, because I saved Cousin Bob’s life.  I won’t tell you how I did it because that might spoil that challenge.    Bob was grateful, I’m sure, but my HUD didn’t register any points earned.    By this time I was over half-way through the game, too.    I thought I should have gotten points for that, but I decided to continue on to Grandma’s house.

I went back up the mountain road---and got stuck again.     Tainith Resident also got stuck, but that was little consolation for me.   She got turned around first, and I never saw her again.   I finally got turned around and went down the mountain, but I couldn’t find the road I needed.   When I came back up the mountain, I got stuck in nearly same spot as before.   By this time it was late and I needed to leave SL.  

I learned a lot about winter hazards, and I ended up earning 30 tokens.    I plan to return to try again, but this time I’ll buy those snow tires and remember cousin Bob.

Grey Lupindo

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Rawhide Club

By Grease Coakes
By looking through notices (and I get a lot of them) I saw a notice for a Native American music event at 4pm SL time. This seemed neat to check out. Curious, I talked to my buddy 2 medicines on the Spirit Nations sim I go to hang out with Heart Speaker and others for his weekly gatherings. 2 medicines and I chatted for a little bit and wanted a hug from me in her child avatar. I eventually found out where Rawhide was by asking “Where’s this live music event?” in the Spirit Nation chat. I got a LM right away from the owner LittleStream through IM. I showed 2 medicines the LM and I warped over wanting to check it out.
I found a green field with a few shops in sight. There’s also a country bar close by as I was greeted by the owner LittleStream. I said hello and asked about the event I want to check out later. LittleStream says that she created her club a mere month ago with the owner Topper Redfield as a hangout for Native Americans. I certainly got the western feel as I explored around. By the other end of the sim I saw some teepees as well.
 Wanting to dress right for the event I looked around and saw some vendors. A lot of them sold clothes for women, but towards the end I found some men’s clothing befitting the western or cowboy motif that the club was all about. When I found something that looked cowboyish, a red cowboy jacket, I bought it for a mere 199L.  What was interesting that Littlestream thought I was a fox. This is true as I do have a fox animal totem; however I was walking around in a griffin avatar instead. When I explained what a griffin was she expressed that she was honored that I visit her club as a part eagle avatar. She then explained that her spirit animal was that of the eagle (like in her profile picture she pointed out) a powerful animal totem in Native American culture. Also she said it is against the law for anyone who is not a Native American to own bald eagle feathers.
When I asked LittleStream about her spiritual experience later on she explained that suddenly was able to write and understand Native American words. LittleStream said that she is not a Native American by birth; however she said that her eagle spirit led her to this path.  She started a jewelry business and had the urge to work with turquoise and Native American beads. Over time LittleStream said she saw visions of a plain or a special place where she met with a brave. As time went on, her visions were stronger as she saw her father as a medicine man and many tribes. She thought she had a brain tumor at first but later one she figured out that her present life and past lives were merged together. I said that must have been unsettling and she agreed with me. She recently joined Second life as a new avatar and met with someone named Eaglefeather who says they are connected in a way but won’t say how.
She created the rawhide club as a place for Native Americans to hang out at. She invited me to her club group and encouraged me to stop by at 4pm SL time. I went to a sandbox and grabbed the clothes I bought. I was impressed for 199L I had a nice looking cowboy outfit a cowboy shirt jeans and a belt. I logged off for a while for some time away from SL and came back on for the Native American dance. The music itself was very relaxing and put my mind at ease.
When I came back on, there was a slowly rotating circle of poseballs by the fire. The DJ Mountain String spoke in voice and said he only played Native American music. He also warned be careful not to watch the rotating dance too long or it might make you dizzy. I cheated by writing this article during the dance event so I wasn’t always looking at the  rain dancing avatars When you jumped on one of the poseballs your avatar slowly danced around the fire along with others who joined in like a rain dance. 20 minutes past 4pm SL the slow dance circle was filled.
It was a joy to listen to Mountain String’s music as he played a lot of ambient music with flutes and some rock songs. A lot of the songs talked about Native American beliefs and their way of life I heard words like warrior and sacred circle along with mother earth. Or songs about being a certain tribe like Cherokee and Lakota. A lot of the avatars dancing with me were dressed in high detail Native American clothes.
It was something fun to experience goofing off and telling stories when I could with Heartspeaker and others was one way to experience native American culture at the Spirit Nations sim. Being to a Native American dance was a whole new experience. LittleStream’s club also plays soft rock. Stop by the rawhide if you get the chance if you’re looking for a new club hang out at, or something new in general.
Grease Coakes

Friday, January 18, 2013

Nat's Jazz Club

By Gemma Cleanslate 

 I was enticed  to visit a region by a notice that invited me to view Bona’s “Fine Art in Visual Jazz.” I have seen some of his art at  Monroe Snook’s Studio 33 so was interested. When I arrived I found out that the whole region, Ephesus, was reopening including a primary focus,  “The New Nat’s Jazz Club” in a part of the sim is called Paradise Valley, a historical area of Detroit, Michigan. 

The builder of most of the sim is also the artist, Bonafidenutts ( Bonafide) Aries, known as Bona. The Gallery is across from the new club so I visited there first. The paintings are varied. There are bold, vivid colors in some that flow across the canvas.  In others  there are delicate depictions of musicians and instruments, and some portraits. Bona describes his work as a story that changes from the its inception as he works with various graphic editor tools to the ultimate presentation. You will enjoy working your way through the two floors of art. Outside there is one 3d piece you should not miss  ... a gospel choir I believe. 

Then, turn and gaze across at his new elegant Nat’s Jazz Club build. This is a main reason for the sim and its being. As you enter the Club you will pass more of Bona’s art.  I did get a chance to attend a party there when CECI Dover, a well loved SL singer was performing. Nat’s has a rich history that Linda Sautereau is recreating in Ephesus region. She says, “We've combined the old with the new.....more shops, a bowling alley and snack bar on the ground floor of the 50 Grand Lounge, a beautiful park next door to the NEW Nat's Jazz Club, with more surprises to come!” 

The whole sim is reminiscent of old Detroit and its musical heritage. Detroit has a history of music and musicians that is comparable to the other centers of jazz, like New Orleans, and R&B from Motown  and much more. I found a bike to rezz and took a ride over to the 50 Grand Lounge in the area called Motown Village. I saw the bowling alley and went up to see the Club on the floor above.This is a less formal gathering place for parties and hanging out, reminding one of the times when  the great musicians jammed after hours to the delight of the audience.  

Since the sim is so new I  passed many buildings still under construction. There will be shops to rent and I saw famous name buildings. One of my favorite hair creators is already there. There are also re-creations of houses from the past eras .  You are invited to join the group to keep up with all the events that are coming. I plan to revisit the region again when it is complete to see all the final work. Go visit!

Gemma Cleanslate

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Roadside Attractions: The Frootcake Diner/The Diners of Second Life, Part 3

By DrFran Babcock

I have been wandering the grid looking for diners for a while now. It’s funny that I forgot one of the first places that truly entranced me in Second Life: The Frootcake Diner. This place was the first encounter I had with in world gaming, and I have to say that it was the first time I enjoyed playing a game in world. DrFran is not a gamer. I wore more boxes on my head as a newbie, than I have in my inventory now. If you haven’t been to The Frootcake Diner, you have to TP there now!

The first thing I loved about The Frootcake Diner was the design of the place. It is built in a Jetsons-style fashion of futuristic 50s, with lima bean shaped tables and booths spread about the place. The center of attention is the game table in the middle of the floor. According to Ripken Habsberg, the creator of the diner, Frootcake the game is based on Geschenkt by Thorsten Gimmler. The beauty of the this game is that like the Chinese game of Go, you can learn how to play in five minutes, but learn strategy for the rest of your playing days. Also, you can easily blame your loses on bad luck because luck figures highly in the game.

I will not detail the rules of the game, because if you go to The Frootcake Diner, you can watch a video that explains the game, or get a notecard with the details of the rules. The winner of the game is the one with Frootcakes that add up to the least amount of points. You can play the game straightforwardly, or you can be spiteful and extortionist. It’s up to you to decide.

Frootcake is also a social game. It cannot be played unless there are three or more participants. For those of you who are looking to get closer to friends, or maybe alienate them through spit and extortion, this can be a help. Once three folks are seated, you get a HUD that allows you to pass on or keep the frootcakes, valued in points from 3-35.

Let’s face it, with the holidays a dim memory it’s just a matter of time before you will be passing along your frootcakes. If you haven’t been to the diner in a while, or have never had the chance to pull a stool up to the Formica tables, why not give it a whirl?

The Frootcake Diner: Located at:

The diner was built by Charter Member Eggy Lipman and Moon Adamant from Beta Technologies.

Watch the Frootcake video:

Frootcake Website:

Department of Corrections: I heard from two of the people about whom I wrote in last week’s diner story, and they sent me corrections to some of what I thought were facts:

Sharon Scofield from Sharon’s Diner IMed me after reading my article to say: “Let  me give you two things to correct, though, we've been here since 2008 rather than 2006, which still isn't shabby yay me, and the Gogomodo trivia is just automated practice trivia—the paying trivia is live and written by that day’s host.”

And, finally, I was contacted by Felizitas Barbosa, who told me that I had listed her as a co-owner incorrectly.

Ooops and sorry to both of you. DrFran wants always to give you the true news, the right news, and all the news.

DrFran Babcock

Friday, January 11, 2013

Reader Submitted: Tombstone, Roleplay in the Wild West

By Deesue Parx 
I step off the stage coach, let the dust clear from my eyes and stare down the dirt road. "So this is Tombstone" I think to myself. A man on horseback races by me, and from somewhere I hear a shout "Stop and drop the money now or I'm gonna shoot!" and soon afterwards I hear gun shots. A little too close for comfort. I run for the door of a nearby saloon, my heart racing. "Man down! We need a Doc on Allen Street!!"

What have I got myself into?
Yes, those were my first moments, but after spending just a few short hours in this 8 sim 24/7  roleplay life.. I realized it was that excitement and so much more. It is like stepping out of a time capsule direct into 1899.
The creators of this western wonderland have gone to extreme care to mimic and recreate as much of the buildings, landscape, dress and lifestyle of the time period as possible. Ladies in full length dresses, men in western wear, orphans running barefoot scurrying down the back streets.
It's easy to get a look around..  a short visit to the Greeting Center.. handed a long list of rules that in basic say "Hey! This is 1899.. roleplay is key.. and fun.. there are free clothes right there and as soon as the greeter meets with you and hands you the proper "travelers" tag you can feel yourself.. s..l..o..w.. down.
So many choices. What are you? An outlaw? Lawman? Doc? Maybe a Soiled Dove dancing on the bar top in Dutch Annie's? An Indian from the nearby Apache community? Or maybe just a newlywed couple looking for a quiet ranch to start your family.. all that and more is here waiting for you.
Dances most every day in Broken Rose, Benson, Bisbee, and Black Diamond, fight nights, live shows at the Birdcage Theater, and the courthouse is always hollerin' for jury members. The list is endless and only limited by your imagination.
I came for a visit and never left. It happens to a lot of folks here. I'm in the bunkhouse just past the Moving Picture Theater. Easy to find, just follow the train tracks outta town, past the town of Goldfield. If ya get to Pearce ya went too far.. I'll wave from my front porch as ya go by..
Oh, make sure ya leave town from the right end. The other leads to the Cavalries Fort, Apache land and Outlaw town. If ya go that way, be prepared to run for your life!
Pictures by  Mystic Glenwalker
Deesue Parx

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Roadside Attractions: The Diners of Second Life, Part 2

By DrFran Babcock

Hello again, dear readers. I am glad you are back to take a trip with me to those symbols of the American way of life—the diner. The United States of America was the first country to become automobile-centered, so people on long trips would look for places along the road to stop and get cheap and plentiful eats. Here are a few more places you can try:

Sharon's Diner: According to owner, Sharon Scofield, her diner has been around since 2006. The special of the day, and every day is trivia. Folks come every weekday at 9:00 am SL, to participate in trivia games with money prizes. I stopped in one day and there was a spirited crowd, yelling out answers to the Gogomedia trivia challenges. The crowd was dancing outside the diner, and Sharon was happily interacting with the residents. This seems like a fine way to spend what would be lunch hour for me. Are you good at trivia? This might be a necessary stop for you. If you need food items there are free ones in the diner. If not, you can just come and listen to the Oldies on the music stream, dance, eat calorie-free food, and socialize.

Sharon’s Diner is located at: and was built by Rocky Sassoon, an oldbie with a great reputation

The Bealiner Diner : The few times I have been to the Bealiner, it was vacant. I thought to pass on writing about it, until I did some reporter investigations. It seems that this little piece of Americana has some real history to it. The diner is located off the main road of the Montara sim, on the old original mainland continent of Sansara, very close to my favorite SL Bridge, that links Montara and Hooper. In order to get to the diner you have to climb up a very steep drive. What makes it a part of Second Life History is some of the people involved in its creation: Beabear Rebus (2004) and Fleabite Beach (2003 Charter Member!), who is famous to us historians for her role in the Second Life Tax Revolt of August and September 2003. ( )

The magenta and pink décor are pure Art Deco, and the owners really aim to please. According to the Beabear’s profile, the goal of the Bealiner is: To provide Rural SL's finest deep fried cuisine and the muddiest cuppa joe in town.

It seems that there used to be more activities at this venue. A notecard I was given speaks of “Beaball” and shooting hoops, but I walked around the whole place in vain searching for a playing court. The notecard speaks of a Bea’s Chines, which doesn’t seem to be in existence any more, but I am glad this diner remains. I think most beta members of Second Life were not aware of the history they were making, and did not take pains to preserve their early prims. The Bealiner seems to be one of landmarks of the early days. Here are the credits for the place, according to the notecard: LINE COOKS: Beabear Rebus, Lleah Lupis, Fleabite Beach. IRONCHEF COOKS/FRY COOKS: Jai Nomad, Zenny Rhodes, Bosozoku Kato.  STUNT SCRIPTER: Garth Fairlight.

 There are some freebie textures, but most of the items in the store are 1 Linden. I couldn’t resist scooping up a basket of deep-fried prims before I left.

The Bealiner Diner is located at: , and was built by Beabear Rebus.

Psy City Diner: The meshy goodness of this diner is planted on a sim that is billed as the place where music comes alive. If you have never been to Psy City, you need to teleport there and take a stroll around this detailed urban build. The textures and attention to detail distracted me from writing about the diner. I just couldn’t stop walking and gawking. All that trekking made me hungry, so I headed over to The 69th Street Diner, aka Psy City Diner. The diner is built in the old deco, red and chrome style, and sports textures that have that real-life worn quality poularized by Arcadia Asylum many years ago. Inside, there are dishes in the sink, and mud on the floor, but the curvy baked in design of the booths and counter are worth a teleport from anywhere.

Things to do: There is a jukebox which allows you to choose a genre of music to play, dance balls, and, er, um, even some balls that say "Love" above them. There are not many freebies. In fact, the only thing I found was a bottle of Coke from the dispenser, but I encourage you to come take a look at the sim.

The co-owner Felizitas Barbosa/Louise Françoise de Dampierre wanted me to let you know that the sim is celebrating its five-year anniversary in 2013. I expect there will be festivities, and I will let you know about them surely.

The Psy City Diner is located at:
And was built by Rica Broome, who no longer seems to be inworld.

Club Enchanted Diner: Similar to the 69th Street Diner, The Club Enchanted Diner is part of a larger sim build. Across from the red and chrome structure is a huge ocean liner: The MS Enchanted. Unlike the other places, it is a doublewide that allows a lot of room for dancing. There is a large dance floor in the center of the structure, and lots of animations for couples and singles. There is even a set of line-dancing poses on the dance floor. Fun! This is clearly a venue for DJs, music and dancing, although it was empty when I visited. There are DJs and contests on Thursday and Friday nights, playing Oldies from the 50s to the 70s. A full menu behind the counter offers a large assortment of freebie food and drinks.

Directly in front of the diner you can hop on a horse-drawn carriage that will take you on a cruise through the sim, which, at this moment, is covered in snow and is exquisitely appointed. I didn’t go into the cruise ship, but will save that for the future.

The Club Enchanted Diner is located at: and was built by the owner Arlene Bronet Claven.

So, that’s the roundup for this week. If you are looking for something to do, maybe a trip to a diner is just the thing. Folks often say there is nothing to do in Second Life, but a little searching and the world opens up. Sit down, have a cup of java, listen to some tunes, play trivia, and before you know it you will be smiling.

Next week I will cover a diner that’s been in the news a few times, but really deserves more attention.

DrFran Babcock

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winter Wonderlands in January

By Gemma Cleanslate
I took a quick tour around the sims I heard have ice skating since some of you asked for more rinks. Here are some of the ones I found and I will keep looking for more .

If you like to spend some time shopping while you are skating take a trip over to Christmas sim. Two nice skating rinks surrounded by numerous cute decorations you might like, including skating rinks themselves. Santa’s sleigh roams over head and bells ringing keep you company while you skate with bears for companions. I stopped in one of the shops there and picked up a really cute outfit for the holidays, one of the pitfalls of exploring. Free Skates available for your collection .
I found another lovely little rink at The Gold Mine. The serve donuts and coffee which was nice. I stopped there right away for some energy to continue skating. The rink is great and is edged by some skating accessories stores. There are solo and couples pose balls for skating if you don’t have a skating AO. I spotted  a free skis kiosk and  a ski lift near by and hopped on to check out the sking area. It is a short ride to the top and a nice path down. Put it on your winter tour list.
Ice Water Village has an extensive place to skate. The whole place is frozen over so you can skate on the ponds and rivers or just head off over land. This is also a good place to fish and there is a hunt going on for fishing customs and accessories. Quaint shops are clustered in certain areas. Hot chocolate is available too!
Ice skating in Vine is a pleasant experience . The rink is colorfully decorated with trees of varied colors. You wind your way among the trees and by a waterfall,  find cozy places to sit and relax by the fire. There are couples and solo pose balls there that you can take to view the whole rink with little effort or try the trick skating .
My fishing friend, Frosty Muggins, has created a sweet skating rink in the sky that you will love I am sure. It has loads of Christmas decorations from the Corner and. cookies and coco await you. There are free skates and pose balls for skating effortlessly. Nice place to just hang out with a friend and enjoy the quiet with no shops to distract you .
One More for you. This is another sim where you can skate or shop and there is also an advent calendar gives daily gifts. It is the Shortbeach Mall Christmas. Santa has a sleigh on nearby snow. The view is very pretty and the shops lining the walkway also very attractive. Here I tried to stay out of them. You can have a nice skate at this place.
If you find some enticing skating and winter activity places send them to me on a notecard and I will go try them out .I know there are hundreds more out there. The grid is huge!  Have a great time exploring all these regions. 
Gemma Cleanslate