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Escape Room Opens in Downtown Ashland

Emma White '22

News Editor

Ashland’s premiere escape room, Red Vein Escape, debuted in August of this year. This attraction, the first of its kind, is an exciting addition to our downtown culture. Escape rooms are a hit in Richmond, with over 6 different locations in the city and even more in the surrounding areas. Escape rooms are fun for all ages, and Red Vein hopes to attract the attention of R-MC students and townspeople alike. They are conveniently located at 108 Robinson Street, just along the tracks in the heart of downtown Ashland.

Early incarnations of escape rooms began cropping up in the mid-2000s but rose in popularity in the 2010s. Today, there are over 8,000 escape rooms worldwide. An entertaining group activity that offers a unique experience, escape rooms force you to work together with your team to escape each room in the allotted time. Upon entering, players must solve puzzles, discover clues, and perform various tasks to reach the end goal.

Often, players begin in one room, and as they progress, must use lock combinations or hidden keys to open doors and reveal additional rooms, making the game more complicated. Some rooms even require players to crawl through small spaces or move furniture in order to solve the puzzle.

Red Vein Escape is owned and founded by Red Vein Army, a group of horror fanatics who love all things scary. Red Vein Army was founded in Richmond, Virginia in 2011, and their mission is to bring engaging, spooky experiences to the Richmond area. With a team of scenic designers, propmasters, makeup artists, and actors, this group is prepared to scare. RVA owns and operates multiple local horror projects, like their haunted house at Hanover Vegetable Farm and Richmond’s only horror book club and movie group.

Presently, Red Vein Escape only offers one room, but they plan to add more in the near future. Their current room is entitled “Hunt for the Richmond Vampire,” where players are tasked with putting an end to the schemes of the vampire who has taken refuge in the train tunnels of downtown Ashland.

The Richmond Vampire is a popular urban legend among the locals, who claim the grave of W.W. Pool (located in Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery) actually holds the remains of a vampire. It is said that Pool was driven out of England in the 1800s for his vampiric nature and has been haunting Richmond ever since his death in 1913.

Some common themes and settings that escape rooms are often designed to mimic include carnivals, heists, spaceships, and haunted mansions. These themes can also range from completely PG to immersive and horrifying. Though Red Vein Army is fond of horror, their new escape room is not scary, and is designed for the whole family. The themes and decor of Red Vein Escape may be Gothic and strange, but there is no real horror involved, and no actors jumping out at you. More than anything, this activity is about wits and teamwork.

The Red Vein haunted house at Hanover Vegetable Farm has become a popular Halloween attraction with R-MC students and Ashland residents alike. The haunting takes place both indoors and outdoors, and keeping in line with their strong emphasis on theme, this year’s concept has to do with a haunted old witch’s cabin. By delving deep into the setting and staying true to creative themes, Red Vein Army has garnered positive attention in the past, and hopefully the same will be true for Red Vein Escape.

The term escape room can have a double meaning. While players are definitely physically escaping from the puzzle, it can also provide an escape from real life. Sometimes you just want to take an hour for some trivial fun, and Ashland’s new escape room is the perfect opportunity for this. Grab some friends and head into downtown for some hair-raising fun, fit for the Halloween season. Rooms are available for booking on Red Vein Escape’s website, with the option to book for a whole group or individually, and students can use the code “STUDENT10” at checkout for a 10% discount. In the coming months, updates on new events can be found on their social media pages or website.

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