Sunday, December 18, 2011





Friday, October 7, 2011

My sincerest apologies for the delay in publising this newsletter! We have been so so very busy and there was so much going on that I just forgot.....
In early summer, we acquired an additional 85 acres of land at the back of the original property, giving us now 160 acres of fabulous landscape. Tom was very eager to start work on it right away (before the rainy season) so he hired some pretty heavy equipment to put in a road to give us access to this new land. Needless to say, I fought tooth and nail to not have that big equipment, but eventually Tom's reasoning won and I let it go. I was not, however, allowed to go back there to see the work that was going on because the guys new I would probably flip out! Trees laying everywhere, big mess.....the big bulldozer on its side!!!

All I know is that our workers worked so hard to make as little impact on the land and to try to clean up as fast as humanly possible and in my view they succeeded. We had a big 8 Bulldozer, a couple of smaller bulldozers, some road graders, trucks, name it, we had it. The result is magnificent! We have brand new hiking trails, horseback riding trails, a couple of pastures for the horses and some breathtaking vistas, that we would never had had that fast, if Tom had listened to me!

The work is not finished and it will take a little more time for the vegetation to grow back but overall the only word I can say is "Thank You Honey".
We also took the opportunity to plant more Mahogany Trees, Ceiba Trees, Rain Trees and some May Flowers in that area after we found some clear spots that would be perfect.
One of the results of all this work was that we ended up with some pretty big logs and since we try to use everything we have, we decided to revamp our Lilly Pool area.
Lilly Pool was created about 2 years ago when our grandchildren were coming for a visit and we wanted them to have an area to play. The concept started with a plastic inflatable pool and finished with the gorgeous pool we have today! As part of the pool area, we built a palapa so that our guests could relax underneath away from sun and rain. We used Cohun leaves to do the roof and that pretty much worked for a while but unfortunately the roof started to leak, making it useless when it was raining... So all the fabulous wood we got from building the road came to be used as new posts for the new palapa area of the pool.
We have Poison Wood with a beautiful dark heart, and Fiddlewood as the centre column and I think the whole thing looks phenomenal! The new roof is perfect and will protect from the rain. And what about our new shower area!!! The guys found a tree trunk that was just perfect to house our water line! What do yo think?

Another big event for us was the birth of a new colt on July 8. River is a fabulous little guy, and we know he is going to be big!! He is already bigger than Mystic, has a beautiful dark brown colour and is a lot of fun being around. All our horses are doing very well and we are continuing the improvements to our barn and facilities for horseback riding for our guests. Be sure to try them!

And just to make sure that nobody gets left out, we are also redoing the chicken area! The Ladies (our laying hens) are getting a brand new house complete with laying boxes, and our Stewarts (our stew chickens!) also got new accomodations! All in all, I think everybody should be quite satisfied.
Rainy season is always more of less fun...sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on how much rain we get and runoffs are always an issue. Getting to know where the water will flow when you do construction and reshape the land is always something to watch out for. As you all know, we do not have many flat areas at Mystic River and so we have had to build many ditches complete with culverts to catch the water and divert it in various directions. We also cleaned up an area just past our barn which will be our future house site (:-) and decided to build a pond! Well that turned out to be quite a success for everybody, including the horses, who decided that it was a great place to hang around when it is hot!! We also planted some water lillies.
Anyway, it was very very muddy when we did the work, as you can see.....
As always, my last words are for our past guests and the hope that you enjoyed staying for us and discovering Belize. We thank you for chosing Mystic River Resort knowing that you had other choices. We also value your comments and appreciate the time you took to write reviews for us on Trip Advisor. Again, thank you.... and for those of you who did not get the chance to do it yet.... there is always right now!

This last photos is compliment of one of our past guests, Jenine Pontillo. Thank you Jenine! We just love this little bug with her pink necklace!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

On May 23rd, 2011, we all had the pleasure of welcoming into this world a brand new colt. Mystic was born at 4.30pm which was great because everyone on the premises got to see the event and play with the little guy from the beginning. Some of our guests got front row seat to the event. What a fabulous day. This little guy is so beautiful! Brown in colour with a white forehead and nose and one white leg. He is now 3 weeks old and what a treat! He loves mangoes and since we have had a bounty year this year, there'll be plenty for everyone!
We took him to the river the other day so he could check things out and what fun he had running around. He did stay close to Mum though!
We can't wait to see what Rosie will bring us next!
She is our other mare who is expecting and is due
in about 4 weeks from now.....

We'll keep you posted on the next big event! Our next newsletter might be coming sooner than you think.....
We now have brand new horse stalls and a shower area to wash the horses after long rides. Check out how Elsie is waiting for Carlos to unload the hay!!
We also have a stable of 8 horses and are really able to offer fabulous rides to various points of interest, especially since Tom finally closed his deal on 85 acres of land at the back of Mystic River. We can now add even more beautiful trails to the ones we currently have.

Some of you might remember the awesome "Mayan-like" steps we had leading down canoe launch and what an aerobic exercise it was going down, never mind climbing up!!
Remember those.... Well, they are gone! We replaced them with some fabulous stairs and pathways to make it easier to come down and carry canoes and chairs.
We planted some Mahogany trees, Mayflowers and jasmines along the side to make it more beautiful! Check it out....
what a difference.
We opened another swimming area in the river that we call Pebble Beach. It has two round pools with sandy bottoms and a nice little current that will take you down to the Big Eddy! Or, we just bring chairs for you and you can sit and enjoy the cool sounds of the river! Drinks are also available there.....
We are currently working on redoing the road to Mystic River Resort. It has not been an easy
thing to do, but we are getting there finally. We are making the road wider and much much smoother!
Another little tid bit of news about my house in San Pedro. Many of you will know that I have been trying to sell it for a little while but unfortunately have had no takers. So, after lenghtly back and forth, we have finally decided to turn this beautiful home into a Bed & Breakfast. Work should start in August so we should have 6 bedrooms open for the busy Christmas Season. I think it will be just fabulous! Any divers out there, just let us know!!
We have had a very very hot dry season. Hotter than anyone can actually remember and only received about 20% of the amount of rain we normally get during a dry season! It has been raining some since June 1st and we sure hope to get more. I never thought I would ever hear myself asking for rain and more rain! So now is planting time for sure and we are getting ready with our Mahogany trees!
Once again, Tom, myself and all our staff would like to thank you for chosing Mystic River Resort for your vacation in Belize. We know you have many choices and we hope you feel you made the right one! It is always such a pleasure to meet our guests and some have become very good friends. Stay in touch and hopefully come back and visit in the future. We always give our return guests great discounts!!
For all those of you who took the time to write reviews for us on Trip Advisor, Thank You and Thank You Again....
We truly value your comments and always love reading what you have to say about us.
For those who still need a little is the address:
We hope to read your reviews real soon!
And finally, I wanted to leave you all with this fabulous photo of a beautiful boa! I know some of you don't like snakes, and I honestly did not either.....until that is I met this one!
Take care and have a FABULOUS DAY.....

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mystic River Resort - How Green Are We?

I was asked recently to define "Green" and how I thought we fared in our "Green Strategy". Here is our answer!


Being “Green” is not something you buy or a club membership! It is a way of looking at your total needs and how they can be met with the least impact on the environment. The land we chose for Mystic River Resort was based on the river and the vision that we had for a Jungle resort. There were no utilities at the site, no water, no sewer, no electricity, no telephone, and no internet. This was going to greatly increase the cost of building the resort but there was also great opportunity there to be different, to not become another power consumer. The design of the resort is such as to have a much lower impact on the environment.
The first thing that was done was to clear the land of the underlying brush, not with a bulldozer but with 12 men using machetes. We started calculating our electrical requirements and designing our utilities system. We looked at solar power but encountered several problems, like the mountains around us limiting the amount of sunlight, all the trees which were still standing and the fairly high amount of rain during the rainy season! This meant that even with solar power we would still need to have a generator!

So we designed a very efficient system using a low emission generator. The generator we chose meets the USA EPA standard AND the State of California standards. In Belize, you can buy and use generators that do not conform to the above standards! Over the last 10 years the amount of emissions coming from a diesel engine has been dramatically reduced. Our system was designed with enough batteries so we only need to start the generator from around 7am till around 11am and in the evening from 6pm to 10pm, a total of roughly 8 hours per day. That takes care of all our usage for washing machines, cooking, etc.. With our inverter system we still have electricity for the entire 24 hour period. We also made sure the system was enclosed in a building that would minimize noise pollution for our guests and our neighbors.

Once our next phase is complete, we should be able to add some solar panels on the roof of our new office. And why not some wind mills.......For now, we think we came up with a very good system!

• Our units have masonry walls and the roofs are a combination of wood and clay tiles which minimize the transfer of heat during the day. We also designed the units to fit in between the trees which gave us additional protection from the sun.

• Our water is pumped from a deep well while the generator is running, then stored in a tank further up a hill. When released it give us a 50 psi water pressure which is fabulous for our showers!

• We purchased eco friendly hair dryers to put in our suites, when we realized that our guests were bringing theirs which were far from eco-anything! Our hairdryers only use 1kw per usage to generate more heat than a regular hairdryer, and since they have a ceramic heating element rather than coil, the radiation being emitted is 5 mG rather than 200 mG, which you will find in regular hairdryers! I am the wash and wear type of person and Tom has very little hair on his head, but my kids use hairdryers all the time!

• Our organic garden is producing pretty much all the vegetables we require on a daily basis and what we do not have we purchase at our local market. We are dedicated to providing our guests with the highest quality, most wholesome fresh vegetables we can. Our laying hens are prolific when it comes to eggs and growing our own chickens has made a huge difference in the quality and taste of the meat we serve in our restaurant. All our chickens share in the kitchen leftovers giving us absolutely fabulous bright yellow egg yolks that taste just amazing!

• Garbage is a big issue in Belize in that we do not have recycling facilities and very little garbage removal. And so it becomes up to each individual to determine how they will dispose of the garbage that they generate. We generally do not purchase any prepared foods, so packaging is not so much an issue in the kitchen but it is for everything else! We chose not to purchase and serve any drinks that would come in a plastic bottle, so Diet Coke and a couple of others were banned from our bar! We are sure that our guests do not mind doing without for the few days they are with us. Unfortunately, a lot of items come packaged in plastic containers, so we had to come up with a system designed to minimize the amount of plastic ending up in the dump. We gather all our plastic containers on a regular basis and take them to the border with Guatemala where recyclable facilities exist. Cans get crushed and all our kitchen leftovers get split between our many pet friends on the property!

• We closed a very unsightly illegal dump on our local road, which had been in use, so we are told, for many years. It took quite a few days to clear all the garbage which ran into a creek providing water to some villagers and we eventually put up a living fence (the posts are made of tree trunks which will grow back into trees) and a few signs asking people to please use the government approved dump instead. I am happy to say that we have had a very good response from everyone. We also started a “Keep a mile clean” project where local operators purchase a mile of road to keep clean of debris. It works!!

• Our septic system is a miracle in itself!! It is an aerobic sewer treatment system that meets and exceeds the standards currently required by Belize. The water, after being treated, is then placed in waste water gardens where we have grown beautiful flowers which we use for our landscape.

• When we have heavy rain showers, the runoff water is channeled into catch basins and holding tanks in order to prevent silt from being taken into the river.

These are some of the things that we believe keep us "Green"! Let us know if you can think of anything else.

So what's new at Mystic River Resort....

We have added quite a few horses to our stable, and we now have six beautiful steads to take our guests horseback riding AND, we were able to reopen the fabulous trail to Sapodilla Waterfalls!

Tom has been busy maping out more trails around Dancing Tree and many of our guests have enjoyed the amazing scenery from the top. We are also discovering many more Mayan sites on the property and of course tons of pottery shards....

We have also made a few changes to our website and added various packages, but we have also used photographs that some guests have sent for us to use. Please check out our website and see if you recognize yourself! If you have some great photos you would like to share with others, please send them to me and I will use them wherever I can!

I was asked by some of our guests to provide a couple of recipes from our kitchen so here goes:

Green Thai Curry Sauce
1 coconut milk, 1 tbsp green curry paste, 1 onion, 1 eggplant, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp sugar.
Sautee everything together then blend!

Corn Salad
2 cups fresh corn, chopped tomato, sweet pepper, cilantro, onion, cucumber.
Dressing: lime juice, salt and pepper.

Lemon Ginger Chicken
Panfry the chicken breast with lime juice, garlic, mayonnaise and ginger. Salt and pepper to taste.

Cilantro Pesto
¼ lb cilantro, ¼ cup walnuts, 1 cup parmesan cheese, 3 tbsp olive oil, 1tbsp garlic, 3 tbsp lime juice, ½ cup water, salt and pepper to taste.
Blend everything together.

Again, Tom and I would like to say THANK YOU FOR CHOSING MYSTIC RIVER RESORT to all our guests and thank you for talking about us with your friends and family. We hope to see you again in the future. Remember all our past guests automatically get a very nice discount! Make sure you send us some of your favourite photos and who might be looking at yourself on our website one day!!

AND, don't forget to write a review for us on Trip Advisor if you have not already done so. Those reviews do make a huge difference to us and we always like to hear your comments.
The link is below.