I have been quiet for a while now. Last year was, well, y’all know, it was 2020. ‘Nuff said?

Anyway, while I haven’t written, I have also not been idle. We’ve redesigned the blog site and a few other websites for the Lit’l Pond group, built a small retreat on Ambergris Caye in Belize, and are in the process of designing a site for that as well.

We will be open for guests by this summer. I have been taking my time with the project since it was more of a five-year plan for us BC (Before Covid). As most of our regular readers and guests know, I spent most of last year in Belize after the international airport closed while Danny remained in the US handling day-to-day operations at the restaurants.

Speaking of which, the restaurants survived last year in Blue Ridge, thriving when compared to many of our restaurant friends across the country who may never again open their doors. And while we have not come out the other side completely unscathed – we chose to close Blue Smoke Barbecue – we are grateful for our guests, the National Restaurant Association, and our incredible team who buckled up for a long, hard ride through all of this with us.

I have kidnapped Danny and am holding him hostage in Belize. I am not asking for ransom. I am simply trying to get him to take a well-deserved break.

The past few months have been lovely for me – stressful, I am sure for my crew at home – but I have kidnapped Danny and am holding him hostage in Belize. I am not asking for ransom. I am simply trying to get him to take a well-deserved break. Trying to keep him occupied until we head back in April, is proving to be a task.


Do not tell Danny or our other chefs of my plotting ways. I am sure they are ready to kill me. And please, don’t tell our Great Pyrenees, Fergus, that Danny is playing with the dogs here. Fergus already hates me for disappearing on him last year. And please, don’t let my nephew Addison Moran know the timeline for that matter, since he has been running the show since Danny left at the start of the year, along with our new Executive Chef Gary Pfenning.

Anyway, they seem to be surviving well without us constantly micromanaging them. And since Danny’s doctor, Bill Whaley, has been telling Danny for a few years now he needs three months off before he implodes, I am counting his time here as a medical leave of absence. (Thanks, Bill!)

One of the things I am doing now to keep him occupied is getting back to traveling a little bit, discovering the nooks and crannies of Ambergris Caye and the rest of the country of Belize. And I may even get him to jot down some fun recipes while we’re at it.

Last week, we headed out to The Lodge at Chaa Creek, nestled in the jungles of Cayo – a breathtaking respite from the hustle and bustle of life. We had a long list of things to do while in the Cayo district and ended up doing absolutely nothing but relaxing, hiking, and spending some quality time with one another. I might be onto something with this new plan of attack.

So stay tuned.

The dogs guarding Danny from escape are not up to the task, but they certainly keep him entertained.