4555
Arkansas
An Ozark Experience
Join experts to celebrate the traditions of the Ozarks as you meet local artisans, take in a living history presentation, explore Blanchard Springs Caverns and raft the White River.
Rating (5)
Program No. 4555RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
659
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6 days
5 nights
15 meals
5 B 5 L 5 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Local Musical Talent
Mountain View, AR
D
Cabins at Dry Creek at the Ozark Folk Center State Park

Activity note: Check-in available by 3:00 p.m. Getting on/off a park bus; requires ascending/descending a few steps when getting on/off; accessible bus available upon advance notice. Minimal driving.

Afternoon: Program Registration. 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. A get-together, with light snacks available, will be held at the Skillet Restaurant in the Folk Center. After you have registered and received your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar area in the restaurant to meet with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the Skillet Restaurant at Ozark Folk Center State Park, we’ll have a buffet meal with soft drinks, milk, coffee (regular and decaffeinated), tea (sweet and unsweet), water.

Evening: We'll then travel to the nearby Driftwood Barn venue for a performance by local musicians. Though not an actual barn, it's called the Driftwood Barn after singer/songwriter/ storyteller, Jimmy Driftwood. The remainder of the evening at leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Float on White River, Old Calico Walk, Calico Rock Museum
Mountain View, AR
B,L,D
Cabins at Dry Creek at the Ozark Folk Center State Park

Activity note: Driving approx. 55 miles roundtrip; about 1/2 hour one way. Getting in/out of a rubber raft; staff assistance provided as needed; ride is about 3 miles; sitting on a backless seat for approx. 2.5 hours. Walking approx. 1/2 mile; less than 1 hour in Calico; mostly flat, paved.

Breakfast: At the Ozark Folk Center State Park’s Skillet Restaurant, we’ll enjoy a hearty buffet featuring a choice of eggs, breakfast meats and potatoes, biscuits and gravy, baked goods, a variety of cereals, and fresh fruit, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Transferring by bus, we’ll make our way to the White River where we will set out with a staff member from the Ozark Folk Center State Park on a leisurely float aboard rafts. As we make our way down the gently flowing river at a slower pace, we’ll take in the lovely views of flowers, birds, and trees as our staff member provides commentary. At the end of our river journey at Calico Rock, we will get out of our rafts.

Lunch: In the covered pavilion of the recreation area of Calico Rock, we'll have a picnic lunch with lemonade and water.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll go on a walk through Old Calico at a relaxed pace led by a community volunteer and learn more about this river community that is often referred to as a ghost town. Unique due to its location within the city limits of Calico Rock, the now abandoned area of East Calico was once a thriving boomtown in the 1900s with much of its work dependent on zinc mining. Although a transportation hub for other raw materials like lumber and cotton as well, the town eventually saw its businesses decline and its people move elsewhere. New infrastructure was eventually built on higher ground slightly west, so the once prosperous East Calico simply remains, in the words of the notable ghost town writer Lambert F. Florin, “a shadowy semblance of its former self.” We will also have a short stop at the Calico Rock Museum, which features information, pictures, and historic scenes of the town and its people. We’ll then return to the Ozark Folk Center State Park.

Dinner: Skillet Restaurant buffet.

Evening: Next we’ll gather in a meeting area on site with our former Crafts Director for a delightful evening presentation featuring many aspects of Ozark lifestyle including clothing, food, folklore, and language.

DAY
3
Visit the Crafts Village, Musical Performance
Mountain View, AR
B,L,D
Cabins at Dry Creek at the Ozark Folk Center State Park

Activity note: Walking distance according to personal preference; concrete surfaces, several places to sit and relax.

Breakfast: Skillet Restaurant buffet.

Morning: Joining a member of the park staff at the White Oak Theater, we’ll settle in for a talk on the origins of this State Park. Then we’ll visit the Craft Village at the Ozark Folk Center State Park for a morning of educational independent exploration. Working artisans will be available to showcase their skills while explaining the how and why of their art/craft. Many of them offer short, hands-on workshops of their craft. Local musicians will also be offering multiple performances that you may attend as you wish. Have fun exploring and immersing yourself in the art and culture of the Ozarks! We’ll then meet for an engaging session led by a local expert on a topic relating to the area. Rotating topics could be, for example, storytelling, a history of the village, or a talk on herbal folklore.

Lunch: Skillet Restaurant buffet.

Afternoon: We’ll then return to the Craft Village to continue exploring independently. You may wish to visit with the artisans and to hear more music from the Folk Center musicians. Some of the artisans offer short classes on their particular craft, by just inquiring of that artisan.

Dinner: Skillet Restaurant buffet.

Evening: Get ready to tap your toes and enjoy an evening talk and demonstration of music and musical instruments given by local artists at the Folk Center’s White Oak Theater.

DAY
4
Forest Walk, First Settlers, Blanchard Springs Caverns
Mountain View, AR
B,L,D
Cabins at Dry Creek at the Ozark Folk Center State Park

Activity note: Driving about 32 miles roundtrip; approx. 1.5 hours total, with stops, on winding mountain roads. Walking approx. 2 miles total throughout the day; more dependent on personal preference; concrete sidewalks, grass, asphalt roadway. Cave walk is approx. 1 mile; low lighting, non-skid surfaces and handrails in all but a short area.

Breakfast: Skillet Restaurant buffet.

Morning: After a short drive from the National Forest, we'll meet our expert instructor for an introduction describing the early days of homesteading in this area—a history of the area surrounding us. We’ll then go on a morning walk into the past, during which we will learn more about the first settlers of the area and their ways of life that began near to where the Blanchard Recreation Area is presently. Beginning our exploration at the shelter cave and ending at the remains of the grist mill, we’ll learn about the local history and flora as our retired visitor information specialist offers commentary. The Ozark Folk Center bus will meet us at the end of our walk and transport us to the lunch pavilion.

Lunch: At a lovely picnic area in the Ozark-St. Francis Forest, we’ll enjoy a tasty picnic together, with lemonade and water.

Afternoon: Continuing, another short drive through the forest will take us to the Blanchard Springs Caverns Visitors Center where we will view an educational film to set the stage for our expert-led cave exploration. After some time to look around the exhibits, we’ll then set out for our main event: a walk underground through this realm of astounding geological beauty where we’ll see all types of cave formations including columns, flowstones, stalactites, and stalagmites, all while learning about the cave’s creation and development from Park Service interpreters. There will then be time afterwards to look over the field guidebooks, postcards, books, and other hand-made items in the Interpretive Area before making our way to the starting point for a short walk to see the source of Blanchard Spring pouring out of the mountainside. We’ll then return to the cabins.

Dinner: Skillet Restaurant buffet.

Evening: At a venue on site, we’ll then be treated to an exclusive Road Scholar concert given by one of the Ozark Folk Center State Park’s groups of performers.

DAY
5
Square Dance Lessons, Garden Walk, Downtown Mountain View
Mountain View, AR
B,L,D
Cabins at Dry Creek at the Ozark Folk Center State Park

Activity note: Dancing lesson involves non-strenuous arm raising, circling, and walking around. Walking distance according to personal preference. Downtown is well-shaded, with paved sidewalks, places to sit and rest. Getting on/off bus; minimal driving.

Breakfast: Skillet Restaurant buffet.

Morning: We’ll then divide into two smaller groups and split up for two different activities. After an hour, there will be a short break and then the groups will switch, giving everyone a chance to do both activities. One group will go for a walk in the herb garden led by one of its expert gardeners. As we walk, we’ll learn about the plants, their names, and some of their uses. The other group will take a lesson on traditional square dancing in the auditorium at the Ozark Folk Center’s theater. One of the park’s proficient callers and instructors will lead our lesson teaching us steps, commands, and sharing in the fun! There will then be some time for independent exploration. You may wish to visit the Crafts Village for the final time to see what you may have missed before.

Lunch: Skillet Restaurant buffet.

Afternoon: Our park bus will then take us to the court square in downtown Mountain View for a self-led, walking field trip, complete with a map of the historic buildings and information detailing these structures. Soak in the atmosphere of the town’s hub made lively by beautiful shops, restful shade trees, friendly folks, and possibly some music drifting by as well. For your convenience, there will be three return bus trips to the cabins at Dry Creek or the Crafts Village at the Ozark Folk Center.

Dinner: At the Skillet Restaurant, we’ll enjoy a traditional southern buffet meal with all the trimmings, plus soft drinks, milk, coffee, tea, water.

Evening: We’ll then take the short walk across the Craft Village to the Folk Center’s evening music show for the park’s performers’ showcase concert. You may wish to stay for the entire 2-hour performance, or you may elect to take the bus back to the cabins during intermission. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
6
Living History Portrayal, Wrap-Up Session, Program Concludes
Mountain View, AR
B,L

Activity note: Check-out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Skillet Restaurant buffet.

Morning: Remaining together after breakfast, we’ll experience a moving and poignant portrayal of the 1860s through a talk, in character, given by a local historian. We will then make our way back to the cabins for check-out before returning to our meeting room for a program-wrap up session with our Group Leader. Take this opportunity to ask any last-minute questions, share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends, and exchange contact information.

Lunch: Early buffet meal at the Skillet Restaurant. This concludes our program.

Afternoon: If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys! Thank-you and safe travels.






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