Grace Loudon is perhaps best known in Second Life as a liver singer / musician who often writes her own songs. What may not be less well known about her (and which was certainly unknown to me until recently!) is that she also has a flair for region design, as demonstrated by Amainiris, her Full private island (with private island LI bonus) that is currently open to the public, and to which Shawn Shakespeare led me.
This is a setting that draws on the New England coastline of the United States to present a place of the imagination that may in part be drawn on memory and/or places visited, offering an environment that is both familiar to those who have visited New England or who have seen photographs taken along it and way from the more popular places such as Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket islands or the busy-ness around Massachusetts Bay. For me, it brought to mind places towards the north-west of New England such as Kennebunkport, Maine, and similar small, coastal towns or perhaps along the outer curl of Cape Cod.
The region sits with a north / south orientation, denoted by a central channel.; to the east sits a teardrop island and to the west a pair of ribbon islands that form a Y shape. Between them the latter sit as the home of a small coastal town, the waters between their arms forming a little harbour space. Depending on one’s perspective, the layout of the region might be seen as a small group of islands lying off the coast of one of the New England states, or the western isles might be imagined as a stretch of the New England coast, with the teardrop island sitting “offshore” from this “mainland”.
Whichever you choose, the islands are an attractive visit. The landing point sits on the west side of the teardrop island and is located on a deck reaching out in the channel between the island and its neighbours. With a low, rocky spine topped by a single paved road leading up to the tall lighthouse that crowns it, the majority of this large island is given over to sand that is welcoming to bathers and surfers.
At the southern and broadest end of this island, work appears to have been put into preventing coastal erosion and to establish a broad, sandy table: large blocks of rock have been carefully arranged to form a 3-sided breakwater behind which the sands have been levelled to form the home of Righteous Noise, a live music venue sitting within its own parcel (thus preventing music and sound flooding the entire region during an event) with the promise of performances coming soon.
A long, broad wooden bridge connects the large island with its smaller neighbours, Potentially broad enough to take a car or small van (vehicles crossing in one direction at a time only), it crosses the shallow intervening channel to arrive at the edge of the little hamlet. And I do mean little here: two rows of sun-bleached buildings facing each other across the water separating the two ribbon isles.
Perhaps the hamlet was once a little fishing town, but it now appears as if the vacation business and holiday fishing trips might be the main source of income here. Small rowing boats are moored at the wooden piers reaching out into the waters and the majority of the buildings are now given over to food and drink establishments. A lone fishing boat does sit on the sands behind one half of the village, supported by a makeshift cradle of poles as it is being painted and a second fishing boat is moored at the northern end of the other half of the village, so some fishing is carried out here, but perhaps not as much as might have once been the case.
A second bridge links the two halves of the little village, landing on sands that trail south to form the tail of their Y-shape. A long, low sandbar, this tail offers views east towards the teardrop island, complete with sun loungers set to catch the morning Sun and ready for people emerging from a swim in the bay. To the west, the sand shelves sharply, a small barge offering both a lookout point and offshore party space.
Caught under a westering Sun and wrapped within a gently, effective soundscape, the region offers one or two things to do as well – such as taking a canoe for a paddle around the islands – just be careful around the northern breakwaters and keep well into the coast around the southern end of the teardrop island! Those who prefer can go camping or join the folk partying on the beach to the east of the teardrop.
“Amainiris” is an ideal name for the region. It means “the second day after tomorrow”, and as such has something of a magical connotation to it: the day after the day after tomorrow suggest a time just out of reach, always hovering on the horizon. Similarly, this is a region, sitting within its forever evening of a horizon-hugging Sun, that has its own timeless nature making for an engaging visit.
- Amainiris (ated Moderate)