Update: The Apothecary has closed. Because of this, I’ve removed SLurls from this article.
The Apothecary is a new Homestead region design by Harlow Heslop which opened in April 2018. It’s an impressive outdoor design, which immediately puts one in mind of the Great Outdoors of North America, or possibly the wilder reaches of northern Europe or Scandinavia. Buildings are few, the landscape richly wooded with tall redwoods (hence the North American feel to the place) and larch, surrounded by tall mountains.
There is no landing point set within the region, but there is a greeter and welcome sign offering information on the region located on a deck in the north-east. This extends out over the water from the rugged coast of one of the three islands making up the landscape. An old barn sits close by, converted into a cosy lounge space complete with stacks of books and drinks on offer.
The land rises sharply alongside this, with stone steps climbing the steep slope, passing between the tall trunks of trees to where a wooden bridge watched over by four lanterns floating in the breeze, spans the narrow gorge separating this island from its much larger neighbour, a folly like building beckoning visitors to cross the bridge to the plateau on which it sits
The drum-like building, complete with a glass-domed roof was once an aquae spadanae, a water spa – although it has been converted from this use. The pool is now a water garden, a large sculpture occupying its centre while around it, old sofas and armchairs offer comfortable places to sit and an upright piano offer an opportunity for music. The building looks to be under repair, given the scaffolding around and over a couple of windows.
Two paths descend from this plateau, one to a broad step of rock, bounded out its outside by an old path and with another open-air bohemian seating area on its inside, warmed by a fireplace. The second path – marked by stone steps and cobbled paths, offers a route around the rest of the island. Branching at the foot of the hill, one arm of the path leads the way to the Apothecary itself – a grand old conservatory building, its frame and high roof now without glass, its floors largely overgrown and the bent back of an ancient tree reaching grasping boughs out through its woodwork. A chaise lounge and mossy grand piano sit within, along with the tools of a gallipot’s trade.
The second path leads onward around the island’s curve to another waterfront warehouse and deck. The warehouse is this time sheltering a bar with bar on tap and spirits on the shelves behind it, while the dock appears to be the setting for the occasional DJ events that may be held within the region. It looks out over the water towards the third island in the group.
This third island, compact and crowned with trees, is given over to a cosy camp site where couples and groups can enjoy quiet and intimate times. How it is reached other than by flying, is a mystery at present; while a rowing boat is moored alongside the deck on the main island with oars seemingly at the ready, it is for cuddles only rather than being a source of transportation.
While I opted for daylight when taking my photos, the region lies under a darkening sky rich in horizon haze. This gives the impression of the land sitting in either post-sunset dusk, or a pre-sunrise morning. The introductory notes indicate that The Apothecary will evolve over time, so I suspect it could be a place we return to from time-to-time as it changes. Those wishing to rez props for their photographs, or who wish to keep abreast of changes make to the region or DJ events held there, can join the local group for a modest fee of L$175. Those taking photos are invited to share them through the region’s Flickr pool.
- The Apothecary (Havana, rated: Adult)