Three culinary destinations in the state offering very different experiences are the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View, providing a pioneer perspective on gardening and cooking with herbs, Winthrop Rockefeller Institute near Morrilton, where you can live like a Rockefeller, and Gus'Nectar in Rogers that focuses on the science of cooking. Any choice makes for a great girlfriend getaway, whether it’s with your best friend from college, sister-in-law or mother.
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The late Winthrop Rockefeller was a two-term governor of Arkansas and great philanthropist to the state. His legacy is one of innovation and public policy with an emphasis in arts and education. His vision can be seen today on the land he once farmed atop Petit Jean Mountain at The Winthrop Rockefeller Institute near Morrilton.
The Second Saturday Chef Series is offered, well yeah, the second Saturday of each month. It’s a one-day, hands-on class for recreational cooks. Kept to a maximum of 24, they are held in a classroom designed specifically for culinary arts. You make the recipes and take some home.
In addition to the culinary classes, you can stay in the new lodge and enjoy the restaurant, museum, gift shop, walking paths, lake and more. If your girlfriends need more to do, Petit Jean State Park is just down the road.
Each spring and fall, the center hosts a special herb dinner and seminar weekend for herb gardening enthusiasts. Program speakers - herbalists, garden designers, authors and chefs - come straight from the pages of the nation’s favorite herb and gardening magazines.
The Ozark Folk Center is home to one of the most diverse organic herb gardens in the nation. The organic greenhouse is a living classroom for organic herb growing classes held during the cooler parts of the year. The plants of the Heritage Herb Garden are old time pass-a-long plants, members of the center’s herb collections such as rosemary, scented geranium, sages, mints, and coneflowers, and are arranged in cottage garden planting.
In addition to the larger spring and fall herb festivals, the center offers workshops covering many interests -- the culture of herbs, herb gardening, container gardening and cooking with herbs. You can also find medicinal herbs used for home remedies or by yarb doctors; or see herbs used to produce dyes. Explore scented herbs or eatable herbs. With more than a dozen distinct herb gardens no garden enthusiast will be disappointed.
Since the best way to learn is hands-on experience, you can also take part in the “gardening angel” volunteer program, where you can work and play in the gardens with the center’s herbalist. Gardening and herb workshops are held throughout the regular Folk Center season (mid April through October). Organic Gardening workshops are also offered during Ozark Folk School in March.
The Ozark Folk Center has lodging or consider booking a room on or near the downtown square, where your group of girls can enjoy shopping and lots of pickin’ in the park (outside music during the warm months, of course). In addition to the cooking classes, and music, you’ll find tons of fantastic art in this town.
For additional information or to set up your workshop call 870-269-3851 or visit www.ozarkfolkcenter.com.
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