After buying an I Miss Bill bumper sticker at the Clinton Center Gift Shop on the Riverfront in Little Rock, I headed West.
First, however, I stopped by the only branch of the US Post Office I have ever seen without a flag flying.
I was going to point out to the staff that their pole was bare, but they were so jovial and I spent so many good minutes "shooting the breeze" I forgot to tell them they had forgotten to raise the flag. He was a graduate of Central High School in the 1980s and we did some high fives in celebration. If all post offices were as happy as this one, we would not have the term "going postal" - or it would have a completely different meaning!
I drove northwest doubling south for a few miles to visit Toad Suck
. Apparently, it has some interesting history on how it got the name but all I found was an RV park with some snow on the ground.
Toad Suck Park
Fortunately, I had reservations at the Ozark Country Inn
in Mountain View, Arkansas
Ozark Country Inn
I was the only guest with six available rooms. Generally, the hosts upgrade you to one of their best rooms when that is the case. Not here. I spent four nights in a 7x10 room wearing my head lamp. Don't book "Rose's Room."
On the first morning, I discovered they expected me to sit in the dining room set up for 12 and eat breakfast all by myself. Having had the same experience for the last two mornings in the Victorian inn in Little Rock, I threw a frenzied pout and said "This must be some kind of Arkansas practice."
I Refused to Eat Alone
The female of the couple hustled into the kitchen and I heard her say to her husband in a frantically puzzled whisper, "She wants us to eat breakfast with her!"
So, eat with me they did - every morning. And I, even bowed my head while they prayed for my health, happiness, and success in my basket weaving class.
Their motto is "Where Friends and Memories Are Made."
Based on that, I thought they danged well better treat me like a friend and then remember me.
My purpose in coming to Mountain View was to take a basket weaving class at the Ozark Folk Art Center
I was the only student for three days and because of the bad weather there weren't many more customers.
Learning to Lay the Ribs
But Sharon and I had a grand ol' time chatting as I learned and wove four craft level baskets.
My Teacher My Baskets
This is a beautiful part of the country and the folk music capital. In the summer, people come from all over the world to pick and strum on porches, the town square, and the various venues.
Mountain View Amphitheater
Downtown Mountain View Arkansas
It was rather quiet, cold, and rainy during my stay.
I asked one of the musicians in the gift shop how it happened that so many talented musicians were in this spot. I was told not many they knew were from
there. Instead, they had all moved
there because of the music.
Gift Shop Entertainment
Gift Shop Spelling
The crafts are basically those required for subsistence living that have now become artistic. Most of the craft center items are attractive, affordable, and fun to learn or buy.
So, if a bit of mountain music sounds fun and you have an urge for crafts. Drop down from Branson , MO and visit the area.
I also hear the fishing in the White River, the rafting in the Buffalo, and the hiking, climbing, and caving are superb. It was dark 15 hours a day and raining most of the time when it was light, so I mainly wove baskets, walked to and from class, and read - and, of course, checked out the local restaurants.
Catfish Dinner at Angler's
After graduating basket weaving 101, I drove west to Fayetteville.
Typical Arkansas Scene
View from an Ozark Mountaintop
The drive - even in the rain - is captivating. I stopped and talked to a man who had moved from the plains of Texas. He believes this is the most beautiful part of the country.
You can skip Fayetteville. I did stumble onto a place to get a mani-pedi - owned by a man from Orange County, California. He also thinks this is the most beautiful place in the country - and much more economical than Orange County.