Given our provisional date for re opening (October/November), it will be around 7-8 months of having the property to ourselves, so there will be a certain amount of re adjustment in once more sharing the farm with guests. We have a lot of work to do, both practically equipment and staff training) and, more importantly – mentally. Before we are permitted to re open we must comply with a strict protocol mandated by the Ministry of Health, TPDCo (Tourist Product Development Company) and Ministry of Tourism. We have received a detailed protocol and attended a sensitization lecture. Since closing the property and cancelling all bookings as the first case of Covid 19 arrived in Jamaica we have been privileged to be able to continue our lives relatively normally. Restrictions are few, and to be honest ( though not wishing to sound insensitive ) we are enjoying the solitude and peace of the mountains. Future guests will appreciate that, while on the property there will be certain restrictions, though the property itself is large enough to ensure a private space for all. We are currently working on a new area (Breezy Hollow), for guests to relax in privacy. In the surrounding hills, while hiking, no such restrictions apply. Our local hiking trails, off the beaten track, where nobody lives mean you are unlikely to encounter another person – let alone another tourist. Subsequent blogs will update future guests on preparations and training to ensure that guests, staff and the local community will continue to vacation, work and live in relative normality and safety.
We are a working coffee farm, though for a number of years the price payed to the farmer for the raw cherry berry has been depressed (which is depressing!). With the deepening crisis due to the corona bug we have decided to turn over a large section of the farm to increase our production of vegetables, (organic of course), partly for our own consumption, partly to bring in a little revenue. There is a big island wide push to grow more locally grown produce to supplement imported produce. Stay safe and healthy.
We are budgeting for at least 6 months before things return to any form resembling what was deemed ‘normality’. Realistically , the 2020/21 tourist season for Jamaica will (at best) be severely impacted. Still, staying positive, plenty of time for solitary Blue Mountain hiking and time to tackle all those ‘I’ll do it when I have time’ jobs. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this crisis.
Following the arrival of the Corona virus in Jamaica, we initially cancelled bookings for the remainder of March and closely monitored the situation. Given the deepening crisis, we have now taken the decision to cancelled all bookings for the foreseeable future. We plan to use this time to upgrade the property, making improvements that were not possible while we were busy with guests. Stay safe and healthy.
Following a recent scathing review, where we were slated for the terrible condition of the road to Lime Tree Farm – ‘my partner hated it’, it reminded me of a similar review a number of years ago for a guest house close to Irish Town. The establishment was generally praised, though marked down significantly due to the condition of their road – they immediately had my sympathy. I felt it was unfair, since the condition of the road is beyond their control – the responsibility of the government surely? (fellow taxpayers will agree). We have a terrible road, all agree, I am constantly apologizing to guests,( but it is only 30 minutes, 3 miles ) while at the same time pointing out that the egregious condition of the road is the reason Lime Tree Farm enjoys the privilege of such a beautiful, isolated, quiet and unspoiled location. Would it be fair to give a less than favourable review if guests endured a bad flight to Jamaica or were stuck in traffic for hours passing through Kingston? Still, it has proven to be a fun topic of conversation with guests over dinner.
As an addendum to an older blog ‘ Large amounts of peace and quiet in the Blue Mountains’, we, at Lime Tree Farm would also like to point out that there are nearly zero amounts of noise, water, light, people and air pollution. These conditions will not last. Inevitably, the spread of houses, infrastructure and people will increase the levels of all these pollutants, and (what is now being termed) the ‘unspoiled’ side of the hill will be – to us and our lifestyle – spoiled. So, the message is – visit our side of the Blue Mountains sooner, rather than later.
Sunrise hiking to the Blue Mountain peak is increasing in popularity, especially during the full moon – and in particular, the super full moon: this phase can be as much as 15% larger and 6% brighter. Hiking through the night may not sound that exciting, but the payoff is more than worth it. Average hiking time to the peak is only 3 hours, the trail being good and well maintained. ( We strongly recommend a guide!) A few dates to note, though, obviously the info is readily available on the interweb.
Mar 9 Super full moon
Apr 7 Super full moon
Been reading a lot about ‘ dark sky sites’, areas with zero light pollution and clear skies. At Lime Tree Farm, while not a designated sight we have ‘ virtually’ zero light pollution and with the clear, unpolluted mountain air the milky way is clearly visible. Naturally the best times are on new moon nights! On the other hand, full moon and particularly super moon nights are especially beautiful in the mountains. Don’t take our word for it, come see for yourself.
I’m checking through various booking websites, and really, I am a little confused. The distances quoted for hotels in Kingston to the Blue Mountains seem on the ‘ low’ side! These range from 5 to 9 miles. And while they may well bring you within the limits of the Blue Mountains, you will need to travel a lot further to guest houses or the start of the BM peak hiking trail. The real figures are around 20 miles to Mavis Bank and 24 miles to the walking trail, around 1 hour and 2 hours respectively. Budget around 80-100 US$ each way.
Well, looks like it’s all over for another year. Jamaica got lucky and escaped unscathed, new records were set, both meteorologically and financially. I am of course referring to the 2019 hurricane season. Someone, somewhere has to, more often than not take a punch, and while we at Lime Tree let out a sigh of relief, we spare a thought for all those people impacted by storms or hurricanes. Each year we get away with it means there is an ever increasing possiblity we may be next. Still, we were prepared, if you expect a punch don’t stick your chin out.