A trip to Havana, with a little Voodoo In My Blood

Little Havana; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrLittle Havana – click any image for full size

We came across Little Havana as a result of an e-mail suggestion*. Occupying a Homestead region, it is a joint design between Sofie Janic, Fred Hamilton (frecoi), Alexa Maravilla (Spunknbrains) and Lotus Mastroianni. It’s an easy to visit region, offering a seafront location looking out over a sandy beach to where waves suitable for surfers are rolling in on the tide.

As the name suggests, the region takes its inspiration from Cuba. However, rather than trying to recreate anything specific from Havana – such as one of its more famous buildings of monuments, the team responsible for the design have opted to present a setting mindful of the images often seen in photos and postcards of Havana: wide streets, gaily painted buildings with something of a run-down air about them, little churches and, of course, the giant gas guzzlers, equally brightly painted and obviously lavished with care as befitting behemoths that have a design lifespan reaching back to the 1950s.

Little Havana; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrLittle Havana

The seafront boulevard offers the best vista of the houses, buildings and cars, the street lighting offering opportunities for tourist-like night-time photography for those looking for an alternative to daylight photographs.

With the exception of the church alongside the landing point, which appears to be  a small gallery displaying images by Lotus Mastroianni, none of the buildings are furnished. Some do, however, carry hallmarks of el revolución cubana on their flanks. The heroic visage of Argentinian Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, arguably, and alongside Fidel Castro, a major architect of Fulgencio Basista’s overthrow and the remodelling of Cuba post-revolution, stares stoically outward from the side of one of the taller buildings, for example.

Little Havana; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrLittle Havana

The northern end of the beach front road ends, quirkily enough, in an odd little helicopter landing pad, complete with a D-Labs helicopter that looks like it has been put together using bodywork from a car. When encountered, it is both unexpected and yet strangely suited to the setting.

A short distance across the water, north and west of this, sits a little sandy island given over to swimming, sunbathing and generally relaxing, a bar offering an excuse to swim over and stay a while.

Little Havana; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrLittle Havana

The roads on the region also run along the east side of the buildings, where can be found more paintings typical of Cuba on walls, including one of Fidel Castro himself in all his bearded glory. This faces a recording studio sitting on another little island, this one reached via a wooden bridge. With an indoor pool and outdoor sun deck, it suggests a place of easy-going creation of Cuban music.

Ideally suited to photography, particularly avatar-centric images, Little Havana is connected via bridge at its south-western extreme to Voodoo In My Blood, the neighbouring full region. This features a design largely brought together by Megan Prumier, working with Sofi and Fred.

Little Havana; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrLittle Havana

This is distinctly more run-down America in terms of tone, but equally as engaging visually. A good portion of the region is given over to commercial activities centred on but not limited to the Voodoo main store itself. However, explore southward beyond this, along the narrow, grungy alleys standing between the shells of ageing buildings, and you come to an open beach front setting. Tired it may well, but it is also packed with detail.

Running east-to-west across the southern side of the region, this beach opens out on its western side to become the sandy location of an ageing seaside fun fair. Whether the rides still work is up to you to find out, but the function here seems to have shifted over time: a music stage has been built, and the tents pitched on the white sand suggest there’s recently been a festival of some kind here.

Little Havana; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrLittle Havana

A set of trimmed hedges and paved paths sit above these tents, presenting a little formal place to take a stroll. On their north side the look towards a finger of rock pointing out to sea and reached via wooden board walks. Seals have claimed this rocky ribbon as their home, and lie resting on wooden piers – although one seems intent on receiving scooter lessons! The piers are also where boats might put in, as evidenced by the pristine yacht moored close by, the affluence it exudes contrasting with the aged look of the rest of the region.

Both Little Havana and Voodoo Blood are finished with local soundscapes – such as music blaring from a car radio as you wander the streets of the former, or the sounds of the seaside when exploring the southern seafront of the latter. This means that having local sounds enable while exploring is an absolute must.

Little Havana; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrLittle Havana

Taken individually or together, Little Havana and Voodoo Blood make for interesting destinations for Second Life travel bloggers, explorers and photographers. Both had been designed to exude atmosphere and catch the eye, and both are very much worth taking the time to explore.

Those requiring rezzing rights in either region can obtain them by joining the respective groups, and each region has its own Flickr group for those wishing to share their images – see the About Land information within each region for the links.

Little Havana; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrLittle Havana

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* I’m not offering a name, as the e-mail appears to have originated from a personal account, rather than one linked to an avatar name. If I have this wrong, the sender can ping me with an OK, and I’ll add their name for due credit. Otherwise thank you for the hat tip.

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Tagus Enchanted Forest in Second Life

Tagus Enchanted Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrTagus Enchanted Forest – click any image for full size

I walk away from the world I know,
To a forest were each thing can change
And where the floor is carpeted in seasonal splendour.
It is here I feel magic,
In the enchanted forest.

So reads the description for Tagus Enchanted Forest, a homestead region held and designed by Lady Amalthea (meganwhitlock). As the stanza suggests, this is intended to by a mystical, enchanted place; one given over to woodland in which assorted locations can be found, which lend themselves to a variety of fantasy themes – a hint of elves here, those of a magician or alchemist there; a touch of Game of Thrones along the wall of a crypt or the suggestion of witchcraft possibly lurking in the mists …

Tagus Enchanted Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrTagus Enchanted Forest

It is a wild, free place – a rugged island rising tall from the surrounding waters, crowned by tall trees between whose trunks paths and trail wind and loop, sufficient enough to guide travellers around the various locations to be found here, but with ample twists and turns to possibly confound one’s sense of direction.

From the landing point, lantern-marked steps offer a way up inland or down to the waterside, where further islands, long and thin and equally as rugged, can be seen.  These can be reached via rowing boat offered at a small pier – although only one offers a similar boat for getting back!

Tagus Enchanted Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrTagus Enchanted Forest

It is on the largest of these outer island that the Game of Thrones reference can be found: a wall of faces of the dead waiting to be worn, sitting at the back of a cliff-top crypt. A short distance from this crypt, and situated upon the highest plateau of the island is a small chapel, its organ being played by a ghostly, skeletal figure…

The remaining islands are marked by high waterfalls, one the home of an alchemist, the other featuring the ruins of a tower in which an ancient elven throne resides. Across the main island, to its north-west, another low tower is to be found atop a ridge, the seat of someone fascinated with the movement of the stars and the planets – an astrologer or magician, perhaps….

Tagus Enchanted Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrTagus Enchanted Forest

Finding your way around all of the trails and paths on the island can be an adventure in itself. Some are obvious, others perhaps less so as you climb and descend stone steps – just watch for the lanterns hanging from their ivy-draped poles. Along the way are numerous points of rest: camp fires to sit around, tents to sit within, places to dance, places to rest alongside still waters… All of this given a further air of mystery by the selected windlight.

There are one or two rough points one might journey into: the physics alongside the chapel’s only working entrance can at times knock the unwary sideways, and there are some landscaping elements floating above their peers. However, these do not prevent Tagus Enchanted Forest from being photogenic – and there is a Flickr group for those who wish to add their pictures.

Tagus Enchanted Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, on FlickrTagus Enchanted Forest

A mysterious, place, Tagus Enchanted Forest perhaps awaits those willing to weave a tale of those who might reside in its towers and buildings.

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Ashemi: an Oriental reprise in Second Life

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise – click any image for full size

Almost two years ago, we visited Ashemi, the second Oriental-themed region we’d explored that has been designed by the team of Ime Poplin and Jay Poplin (Jayshamime) and Shaman Nitely. Along with Imesha, it offered a gorgeous setting which quite captivated me on visiting both. Sadly, Ashemi disappeared from the grid a while ago – so when I heard via Shakespeare and Max it is now back, we had to jump over and take a look.

Now located on a full region and taking the form of Ashemi Reprise, this cityscape environment is once again an absolute delight to witness. As with Ashemi (which you can read about here), the new region – open just four days at the time of our visit, presents a dusk setting (although given the Sun is in the east, it could be early morning, depending on your preference). I did opt to go with a late afternoon windlight setting for some of the images here, just to offer a little contrast, but I do recommend seeing the region under its default, as a lot of effort has gone into creating an atmospheric experience. Good use is made of projected lighting, so having Advanced Lighting Model (Preferences > Graphics) enabled is an essential part of a visit.

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise

Several motifs from Ashemi’s previous incarnation are apparent in the build: the use of water in a central open area, the smooth merging of region with its surrounding backdrop, some of the statues and decoration, the placement of quiet little places, and the attention to detail. But make no mistake, this is a new design, offering a lot of extra detail and a rich mix of settings, the design sufficiently different to the original that it is easy to imagine that this is another district within the same city as the original Ashemi.

Broadly Japanese in its overall styling, Ashemi Repise includes touches from all over the orient and Asia. Those who remember the original will instantly recognise the tall Indonesian style statue watching over the central park / water area, while in the south-east corner, Ganesh sits in a smaller park, while tuk-tuks are to be found throughout.

We’re not afraid of mixing things. I think that makes it a bit more personal. Some small items scattered around that you wouldn’t expect.

– Ime Poplin, discussing Ashemi Reprise

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise

From the landing point, a wooden deck just off the centre of the region in the parkland / open water area, visitors are immediately faced with a choice of routes: explore the park and water front and work out to the surrounding streets, or follow the multiple paths through the park and over the water to see what they might find? Personally, I suggest the latter, as this – to me – shows the depth of the region’s design, and allows the details to become more apparent. Dragons guard a Torii gate marking the way from the landing point to the park – and thence to the rest of the region.

To the south, a grassy route under trees rich in blossom leads to the water’s edge where a small pavilion sits at the end of the wooden walkway, candle-lit lanterns floating on the water around it. Another path points west, to where a series of small traditionally styled Japanese houses sit with little gardens, before connecting with the western side of the region. Also to the west, and connected to the houses and their gardens, is a larger pavilion, reached by a stone bridge. But really, to describe all of this area would be to spoil it: this is a place deserving of eyes-on exploration, following the paths and bridges and discovering all seating areas, platforms, shrines little market stalls and more, broken up into little islets under trees and edged by rocks.

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise

Surrounding the central space is a square of roads mixed with low-rise buildings whose looks are suggestive of age, giving the setting a feeling of being an outlying, older district of a city, perhaps almost forgotten by the more distant skyscrapers and high-rise blocks, with their glowing windows and promise of big city life. The fact that this is a careworn place, lacking in attention is perhaps indicated on the southern side of the region, where a partially collapsed overpass can be found. Possibly the result of an earthquake, it has remained without repair long enough for an open-air theatre company to set themselves up amidst the remnants of the elevated road, which itself has become a place for advertising hoardings.

A market environment curls around the east and south sides of the region, sitting between water and the tired buildings lining the streets. It passes Ganesh in his little park, passing from under the flashing sign for China’s famous Tsingtao beer (fun fact: the Tsingtao brewery was founded by a group of German brewers in 1903, whilst under the ownership The Anglo-German Brewery Co. Ltd, but passed to Japanese ownership in 1916 before becoming wholly owned by the Chinese), to a construction site over on the west side, where a broad road points a straight finer to the fun fair that has shouldered its way into the setting.

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise

The attention to detail in several forms, not just visually (although do keep an eye out for the fat little Kermit taking a break in his explorations to a café, for example 🙂 ); extraordinary care has been taken with local sounds. In the market place are the sounds of commerce, for example, and around the warehouses are the sounds of people at work; while music plays in the fun fair and, if you pass a caravan on the back streets you might hear Jan Hammer’s Crocket’s Theme fade in and out as you walk by.

These back streets and alleys are another reason for the region’s sheer depth. They allow the seamless blending with off-sim buildings and scenes which in turn help blend the setting with the sim surround. So well done is this blending, it is very easy to find yourself bouncing off the region boundary and you explore, as the off-region areas look so natural.

Ashemi Reprise; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrAshemi Reprise

It is a delight to see Ashemi return to Second Life and take advantage of a full region, complete with the additional 10K LI. Due to appear in the Destination Guide soon, this is definitely not a region to be missed – and I strongly recommend allowing a good amount of time to explore it fully. Should you appreciate your visit, do please consider offering a donation towards Ashemi Reprise continued presence in Second Life.

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Savor Serenity: here be dragons in Second Life

Savor Serenity; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrSavor Serenity – click any image for full size

It’s been a year since we last visited Savor Serenity, the homestead region designed by Gidgy (Gidgette Adagio); since then the region has relocated and undergone something of a rebuild. So when CybeleMoon (Hana Hoobinoo) suggested we pay the updated setting another visit, we made time to hop over and take a look.

There is no set landing point for the region – or there wasn’t during our visit  -, so I’ve arbitrarily chosen one here, based on the location of a welcoming note card giver. It’s tucked into the south-west corner of the region, which is actually a good place to start explorations.  The introductory note card offers a quote from John Lennon that perfectly sums up Savor Serenity’s various incarnations:

I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams aren’t as real as the here and now?

Savor Serenity; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrSavor Serenity

Those familiar with the region’s layout from late 2017 might, on camming over / reaching the centre of the land and in considering the region’s windlight and flora, be forgiven for thinking little has actually changed. A familiar pool of water sits at the heart of the region, partially enclosed by what might have once been a fully surrounding octagonal wall, while to the east, steps rise from the waterfront to structures of distinctly elven design. But first looks can be deceptive.

The great Mallorn trees with their elven flets and platforms that once rose from both within and without the flanks of the great wall are now gone, taking with them some of the Tolkienesque feel that Savor Serenity was part of an elven enclave.  In their place are ancient stone buildings, connected by raised paths and stairways wrought of stone and rock.

Savor Serenity; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrSavor Serenity

But these are places seemingly long abandoned; walls are pitted and broken, nature’s vines and trunks and shrubs are slowly laying claim to halls and footpaths. Only etching on the glass of the few remaining glazed windows gives a hint that this one once a realm where elves and beasts lived in harmony. Now, only the beasts show themselves, the dragons of Lennon’s quote.

The largest of these wonderful creatures stand to one side of the great pool, wings magnificently spread, head and long neck lowered and stretched, great mane of spikes raised even has flames curls and flicker from wide-open mouth. It is a stance of warning, of guardianship; a great firedrake protecting the land it still regards as home. It is also a magnificent tableau of which visitors can become a part (suitable clothing advised to fully fit the scene!).

Savor Serenity; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrSavor Serenity

Elsewhere, smaller dragons sit within the ruins of the the stone buildings or guard the waiting throne high under the eastern dome, or offer lamps to light the way through darkling places, and are immortalised – if such beasts are not themselves immortal – in stone throughout. Their presence, together with the glass etchings, give flight to the imagination: just who were the people who once shared this place with these great breasts, and who nurtured them and clearly loved them? And from whence did they come – and where did they go?

And it is not only our imaginations that can take flight; located on the shore close to the great dragon is a sign allowing visitors to summon a winged beast of their own, and to take flight upon its back to experience something of the life and rapport the long-vanished people once enjoyed with their dragons.

Savor Serenity; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrSavor Serenity

Nor is that all. Within this land are secret, treasured places awaiting discovery. Follow the paths paths ruins and under tress and across rocky upheavals to a dragon-topped spire to the north-end, and you’ll find a gallery of CybeleMoon’s magnificent art; veritable tales and fables wrought each within a single image. Should you find your way to the foot of the great wall, you might also find a portcullis offering a way to passages that lead to further secrets in art awaiting discovery, and beyond it, a place to rest with the one with whom you shear your heart – or for just sitting in contemplation alone.

Beautifully conceived and executed, with places throughout  – on land or under it or on the water – awaiting discovery, which places also to sit or to dance, Savor Serenity remains an absolute delight to visit, and a joy for eye and camera to see. Photos can be shared via the Savor Serenity Flickr pool, and donations towards the upkeep of the region are appreciated.

Savor Serenity; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrSavor Serenity

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Opening a Storybook in Second Life

Storybook Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrStorybook Forest – click any image for full size

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be very intelligent, read them more fairy tales.

– Albert Einstein

The first sentence of this quote is to be found in Storybook Forest, the second of two regions designed by Nessa Zamora (Noralie78), and which Caitlyn and I visited recently as a result of a suggestion by Miro Collas (the other being Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary which, along with Lost Unicorn Gallery (designed by Jennifer May Carlucci (JenniferMay Carlucci), you can read about here). At the time, I noted that Storybook Forest deserved a post of its own – so here it is.

Storybook Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrStorybook Forest

As the opening quote and the name of the region suggest, this is very much a place focused on the fairy stories and a love of books and reading.  Linked to Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary by a bridge that also doubles as the region’s landing point, Storybook Forest is another immersive environment rich in detail. Like Lost Unicorn, it is richly wooded and divided into islands. In places the walls and towers of a fairy tale castle compete with the trees in matters of height. In others the trees, with paths and trails winding under their boughs, are left to their own devices.

Within the walls of the castle, just beyond the landing point is a village teeming with animal folk waiting in greeting for visitors. They have taken Einstein’s words to heart: everywhere are books of poems, fairy tales and adventures – there’s even a little library in the shape of a shelf of books! Wonderfully cluttered yet carefully laid out, it is the first hint of the care Nessa has taken in bringing things within the region together to create what feels like a story in and of itself.

Storybook Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrStorybook Forest

A second arched gateway leads the way further into the region, but I urge you to spend time  taking the longer of the two routes to it, so that all of the delights of the village might be seen – and there are a lot, not all of them immediately obvious. When you do reach this second gateway, you’ll find it guarded by a dedication:

To the boy or girl who reads by flashlight
Who sees dragons in the clouds
Who feels most alive in worlds that never were
Who knows magic is real
Who dreams.

This is for you.

Storybook Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrStorybook Forest

As well as a dedication, it stands as an invitation to let go of adult things, embrace our imaginations and let them roam free alongside us through the rest of the region, and immerse ourselves in all it offers and brings to mind.

And there is so much to find here: from Peter Pan – delightfully encapsulated in a little diorama using figurines by Silas Merlin – to Cinderella, complete with pumkin-turned-coach, to Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White (complete with an interesting twist on the Seven Dwarves!). Each tale and fable is presented in its own setting, reached via winding trails than offer hints of other stories, such as Little Red Riding Hood, the Frog Prince and Bambi, and further little vignettes of local characters and creatures.

Storybook Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrStorybook Forest

Central to these vignettes is a certain tea party, set against a backdrop of water falls, presided over by a “Deppian” (so to speak) Mad Hatter, with a White Rabbit, Cheshire Cat and – of course – a young Alice – all in attendance. There are further elements and hints of Lewis Carroll’s tale to be found here – the deck of cards with a heart on prominent display, the sign post (which admittedly can be found elsewhere), and a rabbit hole with its invitation to jump down it. This should be heeded for an extra – if brief – adventure fully In keeping with the theme of the setting.

As well as a the vignettes and dioramas retelling their tales, Storybook Forest offers many places where visitors can sit and allow memories wash over them or have their imagination take flight – or rest their avatars while their camera takes flight across the landscape. These places can be found scattered through the woods, out on the waters than split the land and – in the case of a harpsichord awaiting a player – up atop Cinderella’s tower.

Storybook Forest; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrStorybook Forest

A delight for the eye and the imagination, Storybook Forest has been beautifully conceived and executed, forming a marvellous destination either on its own (which I recommend, if only to give it the time it deserves whilst exploring, and to avoid any overloading of the eye and imagination), or as a part of a broader visit that encompasses Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary and the lost Unicorn Gallery. When visiting, please consider making a donation to the region’s continued existence via the little book piles scattered throughout the land.

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Within a Lost Unicorn Forest in Second Life

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrLost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary – click any image for full size

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary is the full region component of a trio of regions we were recently pointed towards by Milo Collas. Designed by Nessa Zamora (Noralie78), it is themed after an elven fantasy setting, routed somewhat in Tolkien, but with enough departures to make it clear this is not in any way a Middle Earth clone. It is, however, one of the most visually impressive and  – when taken with its two neighbouring regions, Faerie Tale and Storybook Forest – creatively intriguing settings we’ve recently visited in Second Life.

Such is the scope of all three, that I’m devoting a couple of posts to them, with this one focusing in Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary and Faerie Tale. I’ll look at Storybrook with a follow-up article in the near future.

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrLost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary

A journey begins towards the north-east of Lost Unicorn, within a stone tower. Beyond it, an entire world awaits visitors. Distinctly elven in design as noted, it feels somewhat Sindarin in nature: rich woodlands with tall trees that support the flets of elven tree-houses.

A more direct Tolkien symbol faces south-east: the great Argonath, the Pillars of the Kings. Carved in the likenesses of Isildur and Anárion in Tolkien’s mythology, they stood on either side of the River Anduin, guarding the northern borders of the realm of Gondor. Here, the great figures stand either side of a river much narrower than the great Anduin, and which winds its way inland, one of three that cut the region into several landmasses, each connected to the next by bridges that invite visitors to explore them all.

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrLost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary

Across the landscape unicorns roam, keeping watch whilst resting under the eaves of trees or in the shafts of sunlight rotating through them. Within the water, mermaids swim And which may trap you in the water if you’re not careful – just look for the whirlpool, and great sea beasts raise their heads from the coastal seas.

Throughout this landscape, coloured by plants and the changing colour of leaves overhead, paths and trails wind their way. The more obvious lead to the tree-houses, others point the way to secret glades and places hidden among trees and hills,  awaiting the chance to delight the eye. Some of these – such as the entrance to the crystal cavern – again carry hints of Tolkien (the gate into Moria). Others draw on other realms of fantasy, such as faery gardens.

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrLost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary

Not all of these places are necessarily easy to find, so there are teleport points also waiting to be found offering a short route through the region. For those who prefer other means of travel, a flying horse rezzer can be found close to the landing point.

However, I strongly recommend taking the time to walk along trails and climb steps lest you miss things along the way. This is certainly the best way to reach the great council house to the north-west. Located above falls that tumble into a slender pool below, this can only be reached on foot by climbing up into the flets of the elven tree-houses. Watched over by dragons circling overhead, it is a place of rest and serenity, a kind of inverse Imladris, sitting above the lands, rather than hidden in a valley below them.

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrLost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary

Nor is this all; close by the landing point tower, at the end of a short path, a rowing boat can be found. Sit in this, and you’ll be transported across the waters to Faerie Tale, one of the neighbouring regions, and home to the Lost Unicorn Gallery. Here you’ll be delivered to a wooden wharf within a great cavern, with signs inviting you to ascend by stair, platform and bridge – although for those who prefer there is a bubble car rezzer or  – for part of the way up – a rope climb. At the top of the climb is the gallery: a fairytale castle sitting on a great finger of rock around which a great dragon is coiled, apparently at war with a powerful unicorn.

This is a magnificent setting, designed by Jennifer May Carlucci (JenniferMay Carlucci). An entire story unto itself, time should be spent camming around it and appreciating it. The halls of the castle form an exhibition space for art. Climbing through the different levels of the castle are displays by Iruki Levee, Aleriah, Ursula Floresby, Pretty Rexen (prettyparkin Rexen), Freyja (Freyja Merryman), Natalie (Natalie Montagne), Luka Henusaki and Efinyn Jinx. Together they provide a wonderfully mixed exhibition of landscape and avatar studies.

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrLost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary

However, the gallery isn’t purely about displaying art, it also serves to support First Book, an organisation dedicated to providing access to new books for children in need, and which since 1992 has distributed more than 100 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. A portion of all donations made to the Lost Unicorn Gallery go directly to First Book.

Should you opt to make your way back to Lost Unicorn, there is a path running south that will take visitors by bridge and tower to Storybook Forest – but that is a journey for another blog post.

Lost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary; Inara Pey, September 2018, August 2018, on FlickrLost Unicorn Forest Sanctuary

For now I’ll leave you with thoughts of visiting Lost Unicorn and, should you enjoy it as much as we did, I hope you’ll consider a donation towards the upkeep of the regions – and perhaps in support of First Book.

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