Loterie Farm: A day in paradise

POSTED: 01/31/13 11:37 AM

Loterie FarmThe new natural pool at Loterie Farm. Photo Today/Daphne Stuut

RAMBAUD, St. Martin – What used be a well-kept secret, is now a well-known piece of paradise; Loterie Farm.

Loterie Farm is a 135 acres private nature reserve, hidden on the hills of Pic Paradise. The farm has a secondary humid forest as well, which is surrounded with nature on St. Maarten.

The history of the farm goes way back in time when Englishman Richard Bailey got the land in 1721. Bailey, who actually won the rights to establish a sugar plantation in a lottery, named the property after his price.

It wasn’t always called Loterie Farm. The property was first called Loterie Plantation, which operated as a dairy farm. After slavery was abolished, the name changed to Loterie Farm. This because the word plantation is indicative of forced labor, and Bailey used the labor of slaves when he build his plantation.

In 1828 it was given by Bailey to a family member of the Fleming’s family, a formal slave of the plantation. They stopped the plantation and let it grow back in its original state.

After years of being in the family, Elie Fleming inherited the farm. The former mayor of St. Martin did not know what to do with it and let it be for years.

When William J. Welch, an old family friend, found out about this abandoned piece of nature, he called Fleming and shared his ideas of putting Loterie Farm on the map of St. Maarten again. Nowadays Welch, who calls himself the guardian of the farm, and Fleming’s children John and Anne-Marie brought it back to the state it is in now.

Loterie Farm turned out to be an eco-park and nature reserve where guests can hike, zip line, eat, drink or just chill at the natural pool on one of the comfortable beds or cabana’s.

The park’s attractions include the so-called “Fly Zone’s”; a kid’s flyzone, a regular flyzone and the flyzone extreme. These are treetop canopy tours for those who need an adrenaline kick as well as a good workout. Besides zip lining, Loterie Farm offers several hiking trails through the park and Pic Paradis Mountain. Once upstairs, a 360 view of St. Martin can be enjoyed.

The Hidden Forest Café and the Tree House Lounge both offer food and drinks during the day and evening. The café is a wooden cabana that looks over the many mango trees of the park, while the lounge has a view over the new natural water pool from the source and its waterfalls.

The Loterie Farm is expanding the pool area with warm water and a cold water Jacuzzi. They also want to develop cottages for the future; to fit the eco-friendly image of the park.

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