Tuesday, August 5, 2008

First Year at Beaches and Dreams

The adventure gene that had laid dormant in my wife and I for 25 years while we raised a family and ran a busy fine dining restaurant in Alaska awoke one minus 40 degree day in our cabin on the Upper Chena River, 30 miles East of Fairbanks.
The fire in our wood-fired Tuscan Oven crackled and gave off an eye level haunting glow on the honey colored logs of our home. We lived off the grid using a combination of solar in the summer and generator in the long, dark and very cold winter, storing power in 4000 pounds of batteries.
Our youngest of three daughters was graduating from high school in 2 years and it would be time to make an exit plan of our own. We had our successful 120 seat restaurant, http://www.tworiverslodge.com/ , to sell, and we would keep the cabin on the river, able to drain it down and leave it. We decided to concentrate on finding a little beachfront property that we could put a small restaurant on and a few rooms........somewhere warm, was our most important feature. We could put the restaurant up for sale and start looking for somewhere to take our next great adventure. Things would be a little easier than the first one that found a young 20 year college junior and his, then girlfriend Angela and her 2 young daughters, packing an $800 van from Ohio and making the 3500 mile drive with all our spare change rolled up under the seat. We now had 25 years of success in the hospitality industry. I was chef doing some TV spots and writing a monthly food column for the local paper and my wife had become a very accomplished pastry chef as well as managing the front of the house. Besides the confidence we had in our business capabilities, we had a little more to start out with than an $800 van and 30 rolls of quarters. Add to that the mettle that comes from living and doing business in a place that can see 2 month stretches of minus 40 degree temeratures, and, its pretty hard to throw us any curveballs.
Armed with this enthusiam, I began the search for our next dream, planning on taking the 2 years before my daughter graduated to find a few places, go and check them out and hopefully selling our restaurant in the meantime to give ourselves the capital to buy what we wanted.
Day one of my cyber-search had brought me to the country of Belize, formerly British Honduras.
English speaking, British Common Law(which is basically the same legal system of the US) and a temperate climate coupled with the fact that the world's second largest barrier reef existed there, it seemed as though property ownership in this politically stable country seemed viable.
After an hour into my day one search, the search that I had 2 years to complete, I googled "beachfront resorts sale Belize," and found a little 4 room beachfront place, already with a small restaurant, on a nice stretch of beach in the little Garifuna fishing village of Hopkins. It was perfect, in my price range, and the name of the place, our beach that we had dreamed of, was actually already named Beaches and Dreams Seafront Inn. The problem was, we still had 2 years to go in our exit plan and this property I knew would not last. We juggled funds and purchased the property in January of 2005 and were able to get an old friend of mine and his new wife and young son to go down and house sit for us for 2 years until we were able to complete our exit plan. Now, Angela and I live in Hopkins at our beachfront resort, http://www.beachesanddreams.com/, and these are the stories of fresh lobster, grouper and conch and everyday life in the village of Hopkins, on the white beach of Belize.


gotomars said...

Tony and Angie,

We love the new blog ... and finally know what one is (lol)!! We look forward to our return visit to Belize and Hopkins to be with family and friends.
Frank and Susan

Tricia Yocum said...

It is truly paradise--we can hardly wait to get back there again!

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

I want a picture of me, ken, angie, and you on the deck flying our kite and drinking posted on your website...........flying high...........love you........we are coming to party like rockstars..........so get ready uncle tony........love crazy beach

John Madeira said...

Fantastic Blog! Great pictures. Great story.

John Madeira
My Belize House