It’s been almost a year since we first visited Athenaeum, the full region designed by Dema Fairport. At the time I noted the Adult-rated region to be stunningly scenic and offering a lot to see. For details of that first visit, see: Athenaeum: scenic beauty with an adult twist in Second Life.
More recently, Dema passed an invite for us to make a return visit following something of a re-design, I added it to the list of our upcoming destinations, and recently had the opportunity to drop in.
I’ll be honest, given the outstanding look and feel of Athenaeum a year ago, I was a little hesitant in thinking about what might have changed. The build we witnessed back in August 2018 was so visually stunning that there was a concern that any change might come at the cost of something very special being lost.
However, all such fears proved groundless; the “new” Athenaeum offers a well-rounded mix of new locations sitting within a setting that retains all of its scenic beauty and many of its popular locations. These include the the manor house to the south, the gorge that must be spanned to reach it. Thus Athenaeum presents a setting that is both familiar and new.
Chief among the changes is the landing point. This has moved from inland to the west of the region to sit on a waterfront pier. it offers the way to a surfaced road running past the gallery and museum, each of which still offers a celebration of the physical world photography of New York’s Darque, and a history of kink respectively.
From here the road climbs upwards, becoming a familiar (for those who have visited in the past) cinder track that offers the way to (again for visitors making a return to the region) a familiar bridge spanning the gorge to reach the the big manor house. The latter further retains its marvellous member’s club look and feel from August 2018, which I described thus:
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 manor house retains its terrace and pool where events can be held, while to the east, a path leads the way into the deeper shade of tall fir trees, to where the summer house and its pool still reside.
The newer touches to the region are subtle. Take, for example, the barn with horses roaming before it, additional cliff-top hideaways, or the rickety bridge crossing the deep gorge to offer a path to where Buddha still sits, going by way of a shaded snuggle spot.
And While it might be a case of mis-remembering over the course of the year, there also seem to be a lot more – and individually – attractive spots around the coastline for sitting and enjoying company, whether intimate or friendly. These include waterside camps with little fires blazing, covered seats mounted on rocky outcrops or wooden decks built out over the water. Cinder paths lit by lanterns and occasionally marked by vintage cars, point the way to most of them – although some may require a little discovery.
Throughout all of this, Athenaeum remains richly photographic, and the invitation for visitors to submit their images to the region’s Flickr pool remains open. If you’ve not visited before, I cannot recommend doing to enough – and if you have visited in the past but haven’t been recently, then a re-visit is also recommended.
- Athenaeum (Athenaeum, rated: Adult)