Mountain View, Where?????????? Part 2 DAY

Now that we’ve taken care of keeping your stomach happy, I know you want to know…” But what’s there to do in Mt. View?”

And the answer is TONS of interesting stuff with something for everyone in the whole fam to enjoy.

1. First place coolness is: Blanchard Springs Caverns.

I’ve seen many a cave but these were totally unreal! LIFE Magazine called Blanchard Springs Caverns, “One of the most extraordinary cave finds of the century!” One reason that they were so impressive was the sensational lighting throughout the cavern. Instead of hiring just engineers (or whomever one usually hires to do this) someone had this brilliant idea to hire a big time theatrical/opera set designer to do it-his first and last time doing a cave! It became a two year nightmare project for him and pure delight for us. Walking through the sparkling lights and dramatic shadows make the crystalline formations of sparkling flowstone, and towering columns a spellbinding experience. Hint: Try and sign up for one of Tony’s guided tours. (She’s a lively, informative U.S. Forest Service Ranger who has lead walks here for 20 years.)

Wimpier types will like the hour long leisure Dripstone Trail. The trail passes through two huge stalactite-filled rooms 216 feet below the surface. The Cathedral Room contains a 70-foot column, 55-foot draperies and a natural bridge. This trail definitely has a “wow” aspect so don’t feel bad for taking it instead of the more strenuous one. This tour is offered year round and lasts about an hour.

However, if you are more in a “Raiders of the Lost Ark” mood, then go for the Discovery Trail (offered only in the summer). It’s a bit more strenuous than the Dripstone Trail. A little climbing (about 700 stair steps total) and lots of walking are involved. It’s a wonderful 2 hour trail walk that goes along the cave’s stream to the lower depths of the cave.

Located about 15 miles from M.V. these caves lie in the heart of the Ozark National Forest.
Website.

2. Ozark Folk Center – in spite of its kitschy theme “A Wonderful Way to Enjoy Yesterday” the folk center is the perfect calming antidote after your caving adrenaline rush. The Arkansas State Park system did a fantastic job dedicating this center to the preservation of music, crafts and folklore of the Ozark Mountains. You can spend hours watching (or trying) over 20 pioneer crafts-from blacksmithing to broom-making. Even more eclectic offerings include “Muzzleloader Building”, “Gourd Banjo Making”, “Medicinal Herb Hike”, or even the lost “Art of Storytelling.” Classes are offered for wee pioneers up to special ElderHostel study programs.

“Folk School represents the Ozark Folk Center in its finest light, as it very clearly embodies our mission to preserve, perpetuate and interpret our precious traditional folk arts,? according to Terri Van Orman, crafts director. “As well, it is an exhilarating experience for students and instructors alike to be able to escape to the greening spring mountains and enjoy an intensive week of fun, learning and camaraderie.?

You can stay on-site in the newly renovated Dry Creek Lodge and enjoy the down-home Southern cooking (I recommend the fried catfish and hushpuppies) at their Skillet Restaurant, and there are numerous evening concerts year round, such as the Annual Bluegrass Festival, Dulcimer Jamboree, Smokey Mountain Cloggers, or the Arkansas State Fiddle Championship.

For rates and complete schedule visit the Ozark Folk Center Website.

Posted by Janice Nieder on June 04, 2007 in Travel

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