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The Ozarks – Mountain View, Arkansas

Mountain View is not too far from home. We’re always looking for new places to explore and we had about four days to burn, so we took the two hour ride west and headed for the hills . Turns out, Mountain View was a good choice. The town was a charming and peaceful place.  We were definitely not disappointed.

The Music & Tradition of the Ozarks

Mountain View is a true gem. It’s considered the ‘Folk Music Capital of The World’. A resident told me the biggest debate in town is whether or not pre-1930s folk is better than post 1930s folk.  He also told me that every week during the summertime, a music gathering is held on the courthouse steps. How cool is that? Being in Mountain View was almost like taking a step back into time, and in a way, it was really refreshing.

Located right in town is the Ozark Folk Center State Park.  It is truly unique place. The folks there preserve Ozark traditions and educate visitors on music and craftsmanship. They have an herb garden that showcases native plants, cooking herbs, and medicinal plants. The park also gives their visitors the chance to see blacksmithing, pottery making, and the opportunity to see how stained glass is made. To get the full experience of the musicians in action, I recommend buying tickets to an evening show that’s held in their auditorium.

Not only Is Mountain View super cool for its love of folk music, but it is a truly beautiful place. Some of the views are just breathtaking. You can truly enjoy the beauty of Ozark National Forest by swimming in the nearby rivers, exploring Blanchard Springs Cavern, or even taking a scenic drive.

Where we Stayed

While in town, we stayed at Ozark RV Park. The park was in a really convenient location for us. It was located right next door the Ozark Folk Center, and even had a special gate for easy access to the park. The RV park was nice, quaint, and pet friendly.

The caretakers of the park were friendly and welcoming. After a few minutes of talking, exchanging names, and getting the ‘where ya froms?’ out of the way, the caretaker couldn’t help himself from commenting about our ages. He said we were by far the youngest guests in the park and explained that it wasn’t usual for ‘young people’ like us to visit. We took it as a compliment and then we laughed because we do always seem to be one of the youngest couples when we stay in RV parks.

The park was neat and clean. The owner was very accommodating, and what I loved the most was sitting outside during the night time and hearing the distant sounds of an occasional banjo or harmonica. Some of those people were visitors and some are permanent residents of the park.

Morning Hikes & Coffee

Another plus of the park was their nature trail. The trail led us through the woods to a nearby restaurant called the Iron Skillet, and that is where we ate breakfast each morning. I just loved the idea of waking up and taking a short walk through the woods to grab our morning grub. The trail featured large boulders and the foliage of the forest was stunning.

Breakfast at the Iron Skillet was enjoyable. The staff there was friendly, the food was good, and the view was even better. The view from their wall of windows was the highlight of our experience there. They had bird feeders and provided food for squirrels and we watched them and laughed while we ate. We always try to frequent the places where the locals go and in Mountain View, the Iron Skillet was that place.

One morning, we woke up super early to walk the same nature trail that led to the restaurant but decided to extend the hike by hoping onto Whitewater Creek Trail, which was nearby. The trail ran alongside a small creek and was sometimes strenuous, but definitely worth it. We thoroughly enjoyed the forest and the creek and spotted some deer on the hike.

Stone Amphitheater

After a short hike the trail ended at the city park which had an amazing stone amphitheater. I cannot begin to explain how impressed we were with it. I truly feel that it is the treasure of the Ozarks. I also feel like the amphitheater is not widely known. To me, it seriously rivals the mother of all amphitheaters – Red Rocks in Colorado. Since it was so early in the morning we had the whole place to ourselves, other than a young woman lounging in a hammock with her nose in a book. It was such an amazing place and I highly recommend taking the time to see it if you ever journey to Mountain View.

Blanchard Springs Recreation Area

Another trail we took was the Mirror Lake loop trail located at Blanchard Springs. If there’s one thing you should know about me, I LOVE loop trails. Mirror Lake trail was so picturesque and was only a 1.7-mile hike. I’m pretty sure our doggy, Micah, loved it too. The trail is pet friendly as long as you keep a leash on your pup. Along the trail you’ll see an old mill and a waterfall. The scenery along the whole way was exceptional and the water was a perfect blue. Be sure to take a tour of the caverns and check out the spring that’s located there too.

Treasure of the Ozarks

Other activities in and around Mountain View are Loco Ropes Zipline, Horseback riding, the White River Theater, kayaking, some stellar mountain bike trails, and more. In another post, I’ll be sharing about their amazing disc golf course.

If you ever make your way to Arkansas and want to really experience the Ozarks, Mountain View is the place for an authentic experience. The town’s love for folk music and their persistence in keeping Ozark tradition alive is totally unique and also admirable. A few times during the trip, I even thought about how wonderful it would be to live there. The people were so friendly and so welcoming. Mountain View is a true gem of Arkansas.

Has anyone else been to Mountain View?
                      If so, what was your favorite thing to do there?
                                                      What other towns do you love in the Ozarks?

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