What I did on Summer Vacation
Photography courtesy of venues and by Alex Kent
Was that ever your autumn assignment? Not only were you back in school — not still at the lake, relaxing, laughing, playing, drinking in the sun and staying up late — you had to write about what you were missing. What memories …
Arkansans don’t have to travel far to make new summer vacation memories. The Mountain Home and Ozark Mountain Region offers a myriad of ways to spend a couple of days or a couple of weeks. Boating, fishing, hiking, camping, dining, wine tastings, cooking classes … everyone can discover much to enjoy.
Superb lodging options abound. Rainbow Drive Resort on the White River provides lakeside luxury with lodges, cottages and cabins that feature fireplaces, Jacuzzi tubs and many more amenities, including the option of catered “American homestyle” meals. Relax in a hot tub or by an evening campfire on the river.
Whether you fish on your own or take advantage of a guided trip, fishing is always good there — especially on Rainbow Hole! At Rainbow Drive, riverside tent camping and RV sites are available — there’s even a private island for primitive camping.
For something a little different, or a ladies’ excursion, Raimondo Family Winery is a fantastic place for a wine tasting or a cooking class. Located at Blue Lady Resort on Lake Norfork, Margie Roelands carries on the winemaking traditions of her Italian grandfather; she’s “committed to producing wines from old world Italian varietals like Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Viognier and Roussanne.”
Roelands recently spent three weeks in Europe and came back with so many recipes and ideas, she’s holding cooking classes. Check out “Simply Sicilian.” Her wine tastings are delicious and feature specially-chosen cheeses, homemade focaccia and her exquisite balsamics. Take home wine and meal ideas to go with it.
In 1958, Jim Gaston’s father bought six cottages on 20 acres of White River frontage. Today, Gaston’s White River Resort sits on more than 400 acres with 79 cottages; a 3,200 -foot airstrip; state-of-the-art boat dock; nature trails; gift shop and restaurant, tennis courts and more. A meal at Gaston’s is always a winner: delicious food and picturesque views inside and out. The walls are decorated with historic photography; old tools and antiques; and dozens of old bicycles hang like chandeliers. The restaurant sits above the river and while enjoying dinner, diners may see flashes of silver as trout jump in the water below. Catching fish isn’t guaranteed, but visitors don’t mind, as it’s nice just being there. A tug on your line or a photo for your vacation album is just “icing on the cake.”
The Ozark Mountain Region has fantastic waters. Bull Shoals and Norfork Lakes and the White and Buffalo Rivers offer some of the finest fishing and water activities in the world, and it’s all just minutes from Mountain Home. A highlight of their summer is the annual Red White Blue Parade & Festival, June 29 through 30. The parade as well as a rodeo, held at Saddle Club Arena, and Movies in the Park, held at Arkansas State University at Mountain Home (ASUMH), are held Friday night. Saturday starts with a Pancake Breakfast; take in the Car Show on the Square, more rodeo and the finale: the spectacular fireworks at ASUMH. In fact, there’s always something going on at the university and the Performing Arts Council there hosts outstanding concerts and events.
For more information about one of Arkansas’ most incredible areas, visit these web sites: