Athenaeum – click any image for full size
Athenaeum is an Adult-rated region we were pointed toward (once again!) by Shakespeare and Max. The name piqued my curiosity for two reasons: the school for promoting literary and scientific studies founded by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, and the Athenaeum Club in London; founded in the 1820s for those of both sexes with intellectual interests encompassing the likes of science, engineering, literature and the arts – although it is not necessarily exclusive to these disciplines.
A full region designed by Dema (Dema Fairport), Athenaeum also caters for those with a specific grouping of interests, albeit those of a distinctly adult nature, and offers a welcome to all visitors, no matter what their gender preference or sexual orientation. It is also, and more particularly, a quite breathtaking region in its design and execution.
Within her Profile, Dema offers a description that builds on the limited space within the About Land Floater to perfectly encapsulate the aim of region, making it clear that while adult in nature and leaning towards more Adult-oriented interactions, Athenaeum is not in any way a “sex sim”; far from it. The emphasis is on a refined, cultivated approach to adult activities within Second Life.
Artistic, adult environment focusing on the kink friendly community. Come with an open mind and relax with your special someone by the pool, the veranda, library or the many relaxing areas along the beach or in the woods. Meet others of like minds. who enjoy the kinkier aspects of SL in a safe loving environment free of judgements.
The landing point sits towards the centre of the region, and is located on a stone bridge reaching over one of two river gorges that slice through the land, splitting it into three major parts. To the southern end of this bridge steps rise to a shelf of rock on which sits an ageing hunting lodge, now converted into a place with an ambience – on the ground floor at least – of a private club. Within its rooms are leather arm chairs, great bookcases filled with tomes awaiting reading, fires in the hearths, bottles of port and cigar humidors on some tables, coffee and After Eight mints on others, and just the most subtle of hints as to some of the activities that might follow conversations in these rooms; activities which themselves might be enjoined in the rooms above, going by their décor.
The swimming pool mentioned in Dema’s description is to the found to one side of the flagstone terrace sitting behind the lodge, which also offers a place for dancing under open skies and further hints of the more adult pursuits visitors might engage in. The house and terrace overlook a small finger of an island just sitting off the coast to the west, with a ribbon of beach awaiting explorers, somewhat curtained from prying eyes above by tall fir trees. Reaching this is a matter of backtracking to the bridge and then finding your way by steps and cinder track down to the foot of the plateau, and then around it to where a little wooden bridge connects the island to a second sliver of sand in the lee of the cliffs.
Travel north along the stone bridge of the landing point, and the way is open to reach a broad, shallow cove on the north side of the land. Here time can be spent on the beach or in the water or resting in the tree houses sitting to one side of the cove, overlooking another DJ spots and ground-level seating areas.
Between the steps from the bridge and the rocky arch leading to the cove, the way is cut by a cinder track. Follow this downhill to a surfaced road, and you’ll find yourself passing buildings offering some unique perspectives on fetishism. There’s a celebration of the physical world photography of New York’s Darque, sitting alongside the Kink History Museum that traces the history of kink from ancient through to modern times, before the road ends at a cosy waterfront café.
And all of this barely scratches the surface of the region. The landscaping is rich and natural, with cinder tracks and trails winding inland and to various points on the coast or overlooking it, with numerous secluded spots and settings with an edge of romance to them for couples and groups to enjoy. To the south-east, reached via paths leading under trees and across meadows can be found more contemplative spots, complete with Buddha awaiting those who will visit; further west, horses graze alongside their barn, while vine-draped trellises offer arched invitations to perhaps step off of the tracks and paths and just wander, and a small headland offers a camp site overlooking the cove and its beach.
Gloriously photogenic (visitors are invited to share their images on the Athenaeum Flickr group), with its adult twists tastefully presented, Athenaeum makes of an interesting and potentially engaging visit.