A visit to Mountain View always brings the joy of the simple things in life. By simple, I don’t mean to imply that there is little to do there because it’s easy to pack your days with activities.
Ozark Folk Center State Park is located here. You can visit working crafters and musicians and even take a class to learn how to throw a bowl, forge iron, stitch a quilt, make jewelry, or numerous other things. You can purchase beautiful goods directly from the person who created them. Enjoy acoustic music during the day at the craft village outdoor stage and during the evening at shows in the 1,000-seat auditorium. Don’t miss the large herb garden and kids’ area. The park also contains cabins, a pool, conference center, restaurant, visitor center, and gift shop.
My kids enjoy running around the Folk Center because each shop has a kid activity, like stamping leather, print making, working a loom, or stirring a big vat of lye soap. Their other favorite thing is a visit to Loco Ropes, located on the park grounds. This treetop adventure park offers 30 plus challenges in three high wire ropes courses. Plus there is a zip line, climbing tower, and free fall.
Our other favorite family activity is hiking from the Folk Center to the city park. Take the easy-to-follow trail from the state park and enjoy the overlooks with benches as well as the bridges for creek crossing until you find yourself at a beautiful old stone amphitheater built into the hillside. We let our kids play at the city park teeter totters, swings and monkey bars for a bit before taking the hike back to our state park cabin. For lodging, you’ll also find bed and breakfast inns, motels, RV sites and campsites in the area.
Make sure to plan time to shop the town square, filled with storefronts offering fine art, forged ironworks for the home, crafts, gifts, shoes, clothing, and more. Don’t miss a visit to the Arkansas Craft Guild and Gallery. The Guild, the state’s largest craft cooperative, is celebrating 50 years in 2012. Other area shopping locals that are also attractions are the Mountain Dulcimer Shoppe and Mellon’s Country Store.
Speaking of attractions, there are several music theaters in town. You can also enjoy music on the town square, where local musicians sit down for impromptu “pickin’” sessions. The season is from Mid-April through late November. Established in the 1870s, this mountain town is famous for the preservation of folkways and traditional music.
When it comes to eating, my family loves to hit one of the local breakfast joints, Wood’s Pharmacy & Old Fashioned Soda Fountain for lunch, and Tommy’s Famous Pizza and JoJo’s Catfish Wharf for dinner. You’ll find numerous options for dining throughout town.
Surrounded by mountains and rivers, Mountain View is set deep in the Ozarks, which lends it ample opportunity for outdoor fun. You can fish, swim and skip rocks at the White River. Hiking trails abound. The 50-mile Syllamo Mountain Bike Trail is also nearby. It is designated by the International Mountain Biking Association as an “Epic Ride,” a status only a few trails across the nation currently hold. Outside Magazine recently listed the trail as one of the Top 20 Outdoor Destinations in the nation. Also don’t miss Blanchard Springs Caverns, where you can take guided tours on lighted walkways or be adventurous wild cave tour.
Mountain View has numerous events worth planning your visit around.
Jill M. Rohrbac