Kareem's Quest | Exploring Jay’s Guest House in Epping Farm district
Located along the border of St Thomas, Jay’s Guest House has steadily been making a name for itself as a place to stay when hiking the Blue Mountains.
“The guest house has been around for four years now. We started back in 2015 and did some refurbishing, then we officially opened in January 2016,” revealed owner Aden Jackson.
Jackson, who is affectionately called ‘Jay’, decided to put his grandparents’ property to use by converting it into a bed and breakfast spot.
“I grew up in the mountains and went to Mico Teachers’ College (The Mico University College), after which I taught in Kingston for two years. Then I remember having a conversation with an American friend, who told me about the concept of Air bnb and how great it would be to have it in the mountains,”the 29-year-old said.
Since then, it has got a seal of approval from visitors from around the world, which is evident by the comments in their log book.
“Our international guests have really been spreading the word. They love the simple, rustic settings and appreciate it for what it is, especially the Europeans.”
Discovering the spot
I hiked the Blue Mountain in 2016 and the experience was challenging and memorable. Before reaching the starting point of the hike at ‘Jacob’s ladder,’ there are three prominent places to stay, Jah B, Whitfield Hall and Jay’s Guest House. My brother and I decided to do it in one go, which lead to us overlooking these places. Nonetheless, we were taken aback by the vegetation and the hard-working nature of the farmers, so we decided to revisit the area. To make the journey even more exciting, we took some friends along with us this time.
Jay’s Guest House, is located in the loving district of Epping Farm, which is on a narrow uphill path, that should only be traversed by four-wheel-drive vehicles. Well, this should be the rule for visitors. For residents, they are skilled enough to navigate the path with bicycles, cars, and bikes with pillion passengers. The overall nature of the residents is very welcoming, as everyone waved at us when we passed.
While driving on the hill, I saw Jay’s prominent sign on the left, which leads to another incline, where his establishment is located. The challenge is, the road is too narrow to make a left turn to get there. So persons will have to reverse up the driveway, or drive a bit further until the road widens and a ‘U turn’ is possible.
Experiencing Jay’s Hospitality
Once on property, you are greeted by family members, friends and the resident dog.
“I chose to work with my parents because they have invested a lot in my education. Plus they are retirees, so it’s good that they remain active doing something they love. In addition, I have to pay them a salary,” Jackson said jokingly.
Due to our multiple stops, a one and a half hour journey turned into three hours, so by the time we arrived, we were famished. Luckily for us, Jay’s mother was manning the kitchen and she ensured the meal was prepared and presented with a mother’s touch. We had fried chicken, brown stew chicken, fish and bowls filled with rice, pasta, gravy, pear and mixed vegetables. To add the final plush, there was freshly made Sorrel and June Plum juice in huge jugs, to ensure everyone got at least two servings.
“Due to our location, we have many different fruits which we always use to make natural drinks for our guests. There are a lot of fruits on the farm like, apples, mangoes, papayas and because they are seasonal, we will sometimes store them in the refrigerator.”
As we finished eating, the rain started pouring, but no one cared, we all went into our own little corner and basked in the moment. Soon after, we were offered their Supreme Coffee and cane, while we listened to stories about the community. There was also the option to sleep over if we wanted to.
“Currently we have three rooms available, two private rooms and a dorm room. The dorm can accommodate six persons and the two other rooms have queen size beds in each. ”
It is clear that Jay, whose parents are retired educators, refuses to bury his talents, as he has grand plans for the establishment.
“Close to this establishment, we are working on a second place, which is much larger. It has three rooms, a terrace and balcony. All the rooms have a great view of the Blue Mountains. It’s going to be much more luxurious,” revealed Jackson.
Who is it for: Strictly nature lovers.
What’s fun: Having a cup of coffee while sitting in the dining area and watching the rain.
What must you try: The various Blue Mountain trails in and around the community.