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OnionPatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-11-08 11:11 AM
Original message
Vacation in the Ozarks....advice?
Several members of my family hate to fly. We are spread around the country, so we decided to have a reunion someplace that was about midway between us all so most of us can drive. That puts us in eastern Oklahoma. I'm sort of in charge of finding a place to stay. We'll be going in June. We'd like to stay at some cabins somewhere near a lake or river with a lot of natural beauty, hopefully some fishing and nice places to ride bikes, take walks, etc. I've been looking at all the lakes in eastern Oklahoma, but it occurs to me that we would be so close to the Ozark Mountains, that maybe we should just go a little further (for us...for some members it would be closer) and go to the Ozarks in Arkansas. I already posted in the Oklahoma forum and got lots of good ideas and possibilities, but I want to make sure I have done my research. If you were going to stay in the Ozarks in Arkansas, where would you go? Do any of you have any favorite places there? None of us have ever been even near Arkansas, but we all can't wait to visit your part of the country. Advice, tips, etc. are appreciated.
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Rachel620 Donating Member (1 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-12-08 09:15 AM
Response to Original message
1. advice for an ozark vaction
Eureka Springs, Arkansas is a very beautiful place to stay. Harrison Arkansas is nice and has a few places that you can have a reunion at. Depending on when you are wanting to have your reunion, you can have some it outside. There are a few hotels here but if you want something nicer, then try Eureka Springs. The Cresant Hotel is beautiful and is a historic part of this area. If you want to go a little farther north, try Branson, Missouri. There are plenty of hotels as well as attractions like shows and shopping and amusement parks. Plenty to do anytime of year.
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OnionPatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-12-08 01:12 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thanks for the tips.
Eureka Springs is in the area I was thinking about, so I'm glad to know it's a beautiful place. If we're going to drive all that way, I want to find somewhere pretty. My husband wants to fish and maybe rent a boat on one of the lakes, so we'd be close to Beaver Lake. At least according to my map. What is Beaver Lake like? We're not really looking for hotels, but rather some rental cabins so we can have barbecues and space outside for kids to play, etc. Having a nice town nearby for restaurants, shopping and touristy stuff is something I was looking for too though, so this is great info to have.

By the way, welcome to DU! :hi: I'm honored to be the recipient of your first post!
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chervilant Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-17-08 09:10 PM
Response to Original message
3. By ALL means,
choose the Ozarks for your vacation! My dad moved us to Newton County when I was nine, and I can tell you that you won't regret visiting there. You can find cabins to meet your needs ranging from simple hunting cabins to bed and breakfast type cabins, centrally located or in a very rural setting( ). Here are some incredible options (yes, there's Eureka Springs, but it's very crowded and a tourist's mecca for shopping--more on Eureka in a mo):

1) Buffalo River National Park--almost pristine river. Crystal clear water. Primitive camping permitted. Canoeing, rafting, tubing and swimming all over the river! You and your family could rent canoes, rendezvous on a remote shoal, and grill steaks over a lovely campfire--before retiring to the symphony of a rural river environment. My niece and I did that trip with frozen shrink wrapped steaks in the bottom of our coolers. By the time we chose a campsite, our steaks were almost thawed. We did potatoes and corn in the coals, and a nice salad. It was awesome. S'mores, anyone?

2) White River in Mountain Home, about an hour from Harrison, offers some of the best fly fishing in the US. The trout in this river are massive and plentiful. In fact, fishing is a must in the Ozarks!

3) Blanchard Springs Caverns in Mountain View is about 2 hours from Jasper. This cave is ranked in the top ten in the US and it is AWESOME! (I've also done Fitton Cave in Newton County, but that is an undeveloped cave and you have to contact an approved guide to take you through it--requires a lot of fitness and energy, three independent sources of light, a waste container for bodily effluvia, etc.--quite challenging).

4) Horseback riding is available both in the park and in other very scenic areas. The last time I rode there, I got to watch our guide's husband, sons, and friends use a horse-drawn thresher to harvest their hay! It was amazing!

5) Bird watching is inevitable in the Ozarks! You will likely see raptors of all kinds, including bald eagles. You can arrange to hike in Lyon Big Piney Creek Preserve, and are sure to see a wide variety of native birds (not to mention plants and other fauna).

6) It is less expensive to vacation in the Ozarks. You CAN spend a lot of money there, but you do not have to.

Okay, back to Eureka Springs. Crescent Dragonwagon's restaurant is located there. It used to be called "Dairy Hollow House," but I don't know what it's called now. The food there is fabulous! I own a copy of her cookbook called "Soup & Bread"--one of several she's written. There are other places in Eureka that are to die for, including Zark's, one of the finest art galleries I've ever seen. I've gotten some of my favorite pieces at Zark's.

Wow. There's so much more I could tell you, but you can Google Newton County and Jasper and Harrison, and find out a bunch. I don't think you would reqret vacationing in the Ozarks. I miss it sooooo much.

I hope you and your family have a great vacation, no matter where you go!
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OnionPatch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-17-08 10:59 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Your number 1 option
is exactly the kind of vacation I would love to have. I read a lot about Buffalo River and found some cabins there that seem just awesome! One was alone on 120 private acres and was very old with authentic log construction. There was a trail in the back yard down to a waterfall and swimming hole on beautiful a stream very near the Buffalo River. I would love to do a canoe trip there. However...I'm going to have my 79-year-old mother and 84-year-old stepfather with us. They are in good shape for their ages and will be able to go on short, easy hikes but most of the activities in Buffalo River area just seemed a little too much for them. Oh well, next time.....My sister-in-law loves antiques, plays, art galleries and such and her husband likes good restaurants, so, all in all, I figured Eureka Springs will work out the best for us. We'll save the real rustic stuff for another time. I reserved a gorgeous cabin east of town that sits alone on 20 acres and has a great view from the deck. Everyone is really psyched to go. None of us has been anywhere near the area, so it will be all new to us.

Thanks for all the good suggestions. We'll definitely go to the art gallery and I'm glad to know there are lots of birds. I'm a birder and was wondering what I might see there. I'll have to take my scope. :) Also, my husband is fly-fishing fanatic, but Mountain Home is a little far from where we'll be. Hopefully, we'll find somewhere a little closer for him to do a little fishing. I'll definitely go horseback riding one afternoon, probably with my sister. We can't wait!!
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-27-08 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #3
8. Don't forget
Beckham Creek Cave House--the elk in Boxley Valley--and the organic blueberry farms in Murray!
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Trajan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-10-08 02:55 PM
Response to Original message
5. I lived in the Ozarks (Springfield MO) for 15 months ...
It is among the most beautiful places on earth ....

The above Buffalo River choice sounds like a great one, and as good as any I could recommend ...

As pretty as it is there, there are very few 'well paying' jobs ..... and the paucity of the wages drove my family out to more family friendly climes ....

Somehow: many Ozarkians try hard to create a 'family friendly' environment, with a very baptist oriented viewpoint of what is 'family friendly', and yet no one complains about the pitifully low salaries for breadwinners who have to feed, clothe, and house those families .....

Nevertheless: It's damned pretty there ... Have a great time ....
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Coyote_Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-11-08 12:10 AM
Response to Original message
6. I dare not
post this in the Oklahoma forum where I also saw your inquiry posted.....

I am a legal resident of Oklahoma. Northeast Oklahoma. I grew up in Arkansas, still have family there and visit different areas of the state several times each year. I am most familiar with the western half of Arkansas and the northern half of Arkansas. I'm also pretty familiar with the southern half of Missouri.

My extended family holds a reunion every year in Izard county. We get a common meeting area, there is a lake nearby, fishing on the White River and lots of (free!) music in Mountain View. It is close to the Ozark Folk Center, Blanchard Springs Caverns, and several parks offer camping, hiking, and biking opportunities. Age appropriate activities for very small children are a bit limited but there is plenty for everyone else to do. Costs for lodging, meals, etc. is very reasonable. We usually stay in some cabins that come with a view, a porch with rocking chairs, cable, full size fridge, grill, microwave, stovetop and oven. Dogs are welcome and cabin cost runs about $50 per night. PM me if you want more specific information.

Another area I would suggest is the Fairfield Bay/Greers Ferry area. Fairfield Bay hosts a golf course that incorporates the splendor of the Ozarks in its design. It is a natural wonder. As I recall Fairfield Bay is about 30 miles or so across the mountain and south of Mountain View.

I'd also say that all of the suggestions in post #3 are worthy of consideration.

Sadly, you need to check what kinds of storm damage many of these places suffered. I'm told that one of the recent tornadoes that struck the area was an F4 and it was on the ground for over 120 miles.
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Mar-27-08 07:06 PM
Response to Original message
7. I agree with Rachel
That Eureka Springs is the place to go--lots of interesting vistas, even music reviews and a scenic railroad! And it's easy to get to.

If you want to try Harrison, get rooms in the historic Hotel Seville. Try out Neighbor's Mill for delicious homemade soups, sandwiches, and some of the best cheesecake around.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-11-09 05:34 PM
Response to Original message
9. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-11-09 07:27 PM
Response to Original message
10. Any interest in houseboating?
I have rented houseboats on Lake Ouachita in the past and loved it. It is pristine with very few areas that have buildings on them. You can tie up your boats at night in beautiful coves or deserted islands.

It doesn't cost any more that a cabin and you can do all your cooking and socializing on the boat.

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cbayer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-11-09 07:34 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I am such a dingbat. I came in here to delete a post and didn't see how old this was.
Pardon me! But I still recommend houseboating.

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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-23-09 08:38 AM
Response to Original message
12. The Buffalo River is great!
You can rent a wonderful place in Ponca, Arkansas, and then go canoeing and hiking on the Buffalo River. Lost Valley is nearby, and there is a herd of elk wandering around the valley, too. At Hemmed in Hollow is the tallest waterfall between the Rockies and Appalachians. Eureka Springs is a charming town with a scenic railway and less hype than Branson.
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