DH and I went to Mountain View, in the Ozarks of north-central Arkansas. We stayed at a lovely B&B called Country Oaks. I would highly recommend it if you're ever in the area. Owners Jerry and Carole are delightful, very gracious and friendly. Jerry designed the beautiful house and landscaped the picturesque grounds, 70 acres including a lake.
Country Oaks B&B
On Friday we went to the Ozark Fold Center state park. We pretty much had the place to ourselves, it was so un-crowded. Which was great, we got to spend a lot of time talking with the artisans. Their purpose is to keep alive heritage crafts, and the artists enjoy talking about their work. DH is big into blacksmithing so he enjoyed talking with the blacksmith. Other crafts on site include chair caning, broom making, weaving, pottery, stained glass, herbal apothecary and of course quilting. We were having such a good time all day that it didn't even occur to me to take pictures!
The other purpose of the Folk Center is to keep alive traditional folk music. We listened to a matinee performance of thumb-picking guitar by Evan Twitty, a tribute to the music of Merle Travis. Friday night we went back to the Folk Center for a concert featuring Thom Bresh, also in the thumb-picking style which was the theme this weekend.
Speaking of music, the town of Mountain View is known for its music. They have a park off the town square where local musicians gather. Three rules: no alcohol (dry county), no amplifiers, and no panhandling. The musicians are just regular folks who come and go. Everyone knows the traditional bluegrass tunes and old-time gospel tunes. Anyone can come play, and anyone can come listen. The Pickin' Park is strategically located right next to the ice cream shop.
Musicians playing in Pickin' Park
We wrapped up our trip with a visit to Blanchard Spring park. The cavern is fabulous, with stunning formations, really beautiful, and the tour guide was both very enthusiastic and a knowledgeable naturalist. Only the one-hour tour was available; I wish we could have taken the longer tour and seen more of the cave. No photos, I tried to get a couple but they didn't turn out.
We also enjoyed the easy walk to the spring, where the water that formed the cave emerges at the rate of 10,000 gallons per hour.
Downstream, another easy walk to the ruins of the old mill that used to gin cotton and grind grain. This is the mill dam which directed the water toward the old water wheel. Nothing is left of the mill anymore except stone foundations.
Old mill dam in Blanchard Spring park
It was good to get away for a few days; the weather was excellent the whole time and we really enjoyed our trip.