View Travel Guide Request Info

Girlfriend Getaway in the Arkansas Ozarks

Article follows the photos. Click on a thumbnail to view and download a high-resolution version of the image. Due to the large file size of the high-res images, they may take a few minutes to appear. You must be logged in to view the high-res images.

The Girls at the Blue Lady Resort
The Girls at the Blue Lady Resort
    Fishing on Lake Norfork
Fishing on Lake Norfork
Posing with the one that did not get away
Posing with the one that did not get away
    Enjoying a glass of wine
Enjoying a glass of wine
Enjoying a glass of wine and good company
Enjoying a glass of wine and good company
Jill M. Rohrbach, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism

It seems that my girlfriends and I talk about a girlfriend getaway but rarely follow through with our plans. So when a resort owner friend of mine suggested and planned an itinerary for a girls’ trip, I jumped at the idea.

Our group consisted of me, two of my friends from my hometown of Fayetteville, one of my friends from Little Rock, my boss also from the Rock, and her friend from Wyoming who flew in to join the fun.

Our activities were as diverse as our group, but melded us together as if we had all known each other for years even though half of us had just met. We wined and dined, enjoyed spa treatments, fished for trout and walleye, cruised like stars on a houseboat and even painted gourds. That’s right, gourds. I had my doubt about that activity, but the truth is that they turned out phenomenal and most of us have them proudly displayed as works of art in our homes. We have Master Artist Joyce Campbell who joined us at Hill Country Art Gallery in Mountain Home to thank.

But let’s get back to the wining and dining because if you’re a girl looking to take a trip with your friends you’re going to want to try this itinerary. Or, let one of these featured resort owners plan a getaway based on your interests.

We met at Blue Lady Resort on Norfork Lake in the town of Gamaliel (pronounced guh- mail-yuh), which is about 10 miles from Mountain Home in the north central Ozarks. The resort sits on a bluff with panoramic views of the lake and mountains. The terraced property is beautifully landscaped and leads down to the water and a private dock with attached swimming and fishing decks. Fishing is a year-round sport on Norfork Lake. While fishermen catch bass, walleye, crappie, bream, and catfish, Norfork Lake is best known for its stripers and hybrids. The resort also offers a pool, shuffleboard, volleyball, horseshoes, in-room spa service, and coin-operated laundry. Its small store sells drinks, snacks, bait, tackle, other sundries and gifts. Lodging consists of one to three bedrooms with full kitchens.

We stayed in a three bedroom house that was very roomy for the six of us. Blue Lady Resort is owned by Margie Roeland, who set up all of our activities, including lunch and breakfast catered from local venues including 101 Great America Restaurant, 101 Grocery and Bait, and Fred’s Fish House. She scheduled The Beaded Path to come to our house and we all made a pair of earrings. P.J. Swink, a licensed massage therapist, set up a massage chair in a spare room and we each took a turn getting the kinks worked out, the perfect way to start a vacation. Another afternoon, Divine Appointment Spa Service set up shop in our living room, walked us through a facial, and gave each of us a makeover. You know how those Mary Kay, Arbonne and Pampered Chef- type parties go. We acted 100 percent girlie and most of us bought something. A popular item was the Tight, Firm & Fill face crème, and those of us who purchased it spent weeks afterward laughing as we asked each other, “Are you TFFing?”

Our itinerary was not just filled with female frivolity. We also arose at a crazy morning hour to jump on board boats for a 5 a.m. guided walleye fishing trip. Not to brag or anything; but, yes I did catch the largest one. My boss and I even learned how to filet our own catches. While I’m not a morning person, it was well worth waking up early. The breakfast basket and coffee we took on board helped.

My favorite restaurant on the trip was PJ’s Lodge & Dining on the banks of the White River in Norfork. The setting is lush, almost to the point of tropical. We were pleasantly surprised to find fine dining in the middle of rural fishing country. You can dine inside or on the deck. PJ’s is simply not your typical fishing resort. Even its guest rooms are luxurious. In the lounge before dinner, we had a presentation by Karen Montgomery, author of Simple Packing, about how to dress well and travel light.

While PJs served as a classy night out, our evening of wine tasting with dinner on the houseboat was the most indulgent. Blue Lady Resort is Arkansas’s newest small farm winery, producing wines and operating a tasting room. The story of Raimondo Winery begins many generations ago with a family that traces its roots to Palermo, Sicily. The family began its winemaking heritage in the United States three generations ago when patriarch Marty Raimondo moved to California. Adding to the legacy of the family winery, Margie now produces wines from old world Italian varietals such as Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Viognier and Roussanne. She has a wide selection of dry and semi-dry wines made in the Ozarks from California grapes.

In her cozy tasting room, Margie laid out a spread of cheese, crackers, dips and fruit. She then took us through the tasting of several Raimondo labels. I fell in love with the Sangiovese. My friends fell in love with Margie, and you will too if you go – along with discovering your favorite vino.

We went straight from the wine tasting to a 60-foot houseboat equipped with a refrigerator, microwave, stove, gas grill, stereo, slide, patio furniture, and bed and bath linens. It slept at least 10 people. Margie booked it for us from 101 Boat Dock and it was waiting for us at her dock. Best of all was the upper deck where we lounged and drank wine before dinner like we were Hollywood VIPs. Margie had a photographer from LC Creative Productions on the trip to document the evening for us. Plus, several of us had cameras, so we posed for pictures as if we were paparazzi worthy.

Of course, we forgot to purchase fishing licenses, so we ran by 101 Boat Dock Marina to take care of that for our early morning walleye excursion. Who knew a bunch of girls could have so much fun in a marina store? We tried on hats, shoes, shirts, and sunglasses and bought a few of the items. But I’ll tell you now that you won’t see any of the hilarious pictures of us modeling skull caps and such. We made a pact about that.

The end of our trip was spent in Cotter, which brands itself “Trout Capital USA.” Shopping consumed our afternoon with a visit to Gift-Tiques, where we also had lunch, on our way to downtown Cotter. We made our own bath gels and salts at The Herb Market. Cotter’s shops are filled with furniture, jewelry, china, glass, lighting, art, collectibles, and antiques. Also featured are crafts by local artisans in pottery, rugs, jewelry, painting, photography, and more. Also, don’t miss the drive over the historic Rainbow Arch Bridge.

Our last adventure was a stay at His Place Resort. Owned by Julie Raines, a dedicated trout fishing diva, the resort offers trout fishing, lodging, private dock, fly and tackle shop, and boat, motor, canoe and kayak rentals on the White River. A two and a half mile nature walk starts at His Place and goes to Big Spring Park with its swimming hole, complete with rope swing. It makes you want to be a kid again.

Julie set us up with johnboats and guides. We paired up and went out in hopes of catching our own lunch. I love trout fishing, especially if I’m fly fishing with my husband. But having a guide drive us girls around, bait our line, and take off the fish we caught while we just enjoy the experience, ranks pretty high on my fun meter too. We found pockets up and down the river where we would cast and catch one trout after another. We kept enough to feed us, and Julie’s crew cooked up a fabulous shore lunch when we returned.

On our last night we hung out in our spacious lodge eating KT’s Barbeque. Three of us had computers and cameras. We downloaded photos of our trip allowing us to experience it all over again as we talked, laughed and bonded, which to me is what a girlfriend getaway is really all about.

Contact information for mentioned businesses:

Blue Lady Resort on Norfork Lake
149 Country Road 820
Gamaliel, Arkansas

Raimondo Family Wines
149 Country Road 820
Gamaliel, Arkansas

The Beaded Path
714 Baker Street
Mountain Home, Arkansas

101 Boat Dock
565 Howard Cove Road
Gamaliel, AR 72537

LC Creative Productions
Mountain Home, AR

Tayko Guide Service
Michael Swink, Licensed Fishing Guide
4120 State Route K
West Plains, MO 65775

Breckenridge Professional Guide Service
11372 Highway 62E
Henderson, AR 72544

101 Great American Diner
3414 Highway 101
Gamaliel, AR 72537

101 Grocery & Bait
3287 Highway 101
Gamaliel, AR 72537

Fred’s Fish House
Off Hwy 62 near Hwy 101
Mountain Home, AR 72653

Divine Appointment Spa House
362 East 8th Street
Henderson, AR 72544

PJ’s Lodge & Dining
384 Lodge Lane
Norfork, AR 72658

Hill Country Art Gallery
Hwy. 62 East
Mountain Home, AR, 72653

10413 Highway 62 E
Mountain Home, AR 72653

His Place Resort
89 Chamberlain Lane, Cotter, AR 72626

White Mist of Cotter
106 Combs Avenue
Cotter, AR 72626-9213

The Herb Market
511 Second Street
Cotter AR 72626

406 E. Main St.
Gassville, Arkansas 72635

Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, 501-682-7606

May be used without permission. Credit line is appreciated:
"Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism"

1 Capitol Mall, 4A-900 - Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 | 1-800-872-1259 or (501) 682-7777 (V/TT)
Copyright © 2017 Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism. - Web Services by Aristotle Web Design
The Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism is in compliance with the Freedom of Information, Ar. Code Ann., 25-19-101 et seq.