The Trents have built Mystic Quarry to appeal to a wide variety of people, from artists and musicians to hunters and anglers, from couples on a romantic getaway to family reunions and corporate events, with a range of accommodations, private and common spaces, activities, and comforts. In a nod to the faster pace of the world outside the 21-acre property, the Trents have installed underground fiber optic cable that will boast 34 access points so their guests can stream shows or even work without a hitch. “Not to knock other businesses in the area, but we didn’t want another ‘log cabin resort’. That has been done. We want to attract a more sophisticated cliental, professionals, urban sorts. We’re new to the hospitality business, but we know what we like. Customer service is paramount,” Courtney assures me. “And we keep our ears open for ideas. Some of our best amenities were suggested by friends and guests.” For example, the dog wash, proposed by a visiting member of their marketing team, compliments a wealth of canine-oriented conveniences, including multiple fenced dog parks. Two of the cabins will even have a private fenced yard. “Our guests can just let their dogs out back if they don’t want to walk to the parks at night.”
The Trents share all this information within the first hour of our acquaintance, before we have even toured the grounds. There is so much to see and do within sight of the office that I’m not taking notes, but simply trying to wrap my mind around every detail: covered picnic tables around a bocce ball court with arbors at either end, in-ground propane fire pits, a pool with the sleek MQ logo in tile on the bottom, a raised deck perched atop two forty-foot shipping containers which are slated to become concession and retail space. Beyond the main courtyard three tipis on raised platforms are going up, with two more in the works. These will be wired and air-conditioned in time for the Grand Opening on May 20. Nestled among shade trees are 36 RV sites, six of them with adjacent tiny houses, and all with 50-amp electrical service. And for those who want to sleep closer to the Earth, there is a spacious primitive camping area with picnic tables, barbecue pits, and plenty of shade. They also have tent setups available for rent, complete with air mattresses and sleeping bags, and will show those who are new to camping how to pitch them. There are even hammocks and hammock sleepers for those who really want to get their lounge on. And because the Trents plan to live here year-round, they have plotted out a substantial organic garden area, and even plan to install beehives in the near future.
As if this weren’t enough, we take a drive through the woods, and they show me the hike and bike trail, wet weather creek (site of a soon-to-be pond) and finally, the eponymous limestone quarry. “There are no official records, but the material from this place was likely used to build [Canyon] Dam,” Jim tells me, stooping down to scratch Shiner’s ears. The excavation has left a conveniently flat meadow, with overlooking low bluffs. “This is our sunset spot,” says Courtney. “And probably a movie theater.” Sure enough, there is still an old movie screen on the edge of the field opposite the bluffs, and Jim points out an idea from a friend to station classic cars outfitted with comfortable interiors and speakers – premium seats for a drive-in style show.
In six short months, Mystic Quarry has come together in a robust testament to Jim and Courtney’s clarity of vision, planning, and dedication to detail. While my head spins from the scope of their project, I cannot help but notice that the Trents are relaxed, seemingly unconcerned by the imminence of the grand opening, the work left to be done, the presence of a stranger who has just taken up three hours of their time. They are justifiably proud of what they have built, and see it as a living thing, a work in progress, though one that feels solid, complete. They have been building connections with their neighbors down at Whitewater Amphitheater with whom they are planning collaborative packages. They foresee a daily shuttle to and from events in the area for those who want to cut loose or simply want to forego the hassles of parking. The garden, hives, hike and bike trail, pond, and theater are still being defined but on schedule. I for one will be checking in from time to time to see what’s next, to take a load off, maybe sing some songs around a campfire. A ‘higher campground’ indeed.