We traveled from Laurel, Montana; Atlanta, Georgia; Moline, Illinois and Fayetteville, Arkansas, to converge on the White River in north central Arkansas in June. We had pulled the plug on our plans to meet at the beach in Florida to instead experience trout fishing on the river and playing on Bull Shoals Lake.
It was my husband’s family – two sisters and their families and his parents. My mom joined in the fun too, for a total of 16. We were celebrating my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary. We rented a house from a friend of ours who has a most beautiful place on the banks of the White River just below Bull Shoals Dam. The house is situated between Bull Shoals-White River State Park and Gaston’s White River Resort in Lakeview. There are several resorts along this lovely stretch of road.
We started the trip by taking the new Ozark Limo Ride Gaston’s offers, which turned out to be that perfect simple moment for the family to chat and laugh, tell stories and just be together. We rode the new 16-foot wagon on a four mile trip that took about two hours. It goes along the river and through the wooded and lush western end of the resort’s property. We stopped at the Riverside Pavilion, a lighted pavilion with tables, and the kids immediately ran down to wade in the river and skip rocks. Our driver started the campfires and soon we were roasting hot dogs and then s’mores. What is it that makes cooking your food over a fire so fun? After awhile we loaded back on the wagon and enjoyed the peaceful surroundings and setting sun on the ride back.
We got up early the next morning to go trout fishing. We rented 5 boats from Gaston’s, and three-to- a-boat went out for a morning of slinging bait and catching fish. I think one of the most beautiful scenes and most appealing feelings comes as the sun begins to melt the fog on the White River and more and more of a wondrous piece of the world comes into view. So we spent the morning catching our dinner. The young adults from Montana came back to the marina declaring they would come back again because they had such a great time. Some of the group spent the rest of the afternoon fishing from the bank where we were staying. The rest of us did nothing. Aaah, just nothing.
The third day we rented a pontoon boat and speed boat from Bull Shoals Lake Boat Dock. Lakeview has a marina too if you’re ever over there and looking to rent boats. The kids spent the day tubing and knee boarding. The grownups lounged on the pontoon boat and bobbed in the water. We also anchored to some cliffs and kids and adults both grinned from ear to ear jumping from rock ledges into the water.
Worn out from a day in the sun and water, we decided to eat dinner at Gaston’s that evening so no one had to cook. The clam chowder is to die for! I almost always get one of the trout dishes when I’m there, but I’ve had steak cooked to perfection there too. When the waitress overheard that my in-laws were celebrating a birthday she appeared with a gift for each of them as well as a dessert for them to share.
If you’re looking for a place for your group to go, whether family, friends, business, organization, or whatever, there’s plenty to do in this area. I liked it because we stayed busy enough, but also had time to relax. We had a lot of time together, which was nice for all the cousins that don’t see each other much because of the distance between us all. We made great memories. You can too.