Friday, November 20, 2009

NW Arkansas Ozarks

We are trying to make it a annual tradition to rent a cabin in the mountains for a few nights every year for a family vacation. This is the second year we have done this. Ideally we'd like to find the perfect place for our family and return to the same place every year. The cabin we rented last year in Mena, Arkansas was nice but there wasn't much to explore plus the cabin would not have worked for us this year with Micah and his pack-n-play.

So when we heard some friends from Gospel for Asia were going to visit this place in Winslow, Arkansas we decided to check it out. The price was right, the drive was at about 5 hours, and it included breakfast! It's located smack dab in between two state parks so we made reservations! Since we've returned, we have found out that 5 families that we know have been to Sky-Vue B & B! Above is the lodge where we had a home cooked breakfast every morning.

In the first picture you can see the windows all across the back that overlook the Ozark mountains which is one of the attributes that Arkansas is known for.

This lodge is off of a scenic freeway that winds it's way up and has many beautiful views along the way. The speed limit is about 25-30 mph depending on the curve.

This was our two room cabin with a full kitchen and 3/4 bath. The two doors on the front does not mean it's a duplex. We were told when checking in that this is the old Arkansas style.

This is our cute little kitchen fully furnished. We brought all our own food for lunches and dinners but made it really easy so no one was in the kitchen for long cooking. Rich doesn't normally drink coffee every day but when you are on vacation in the hills, it just sounds good!

Our family likes to hike so when we arrived, we unpacked, and then went to explore. There are a few ponds that you can fish at on the premises.
There was also this patch of bamboo. What a find! The boys took some back to the cabin to monkey around with for the next few days.

The four "monkeys" at the pond.

Tired and dirty after our hike.

Julia found these huge leaves bigger than her head!

Reece resting with Dad. What is vacation without naps?

Boys horsing around.

Rich is trying to look un-phased by the weight of two boys on his back.

The view from our back porch.

We spent lots of time on the porch looking at this scene.
I wish it had some color but it was still pretty in a wintery sort of way.

AJ's bamboo that he turned into a wind instrument. It's a little big to call it a flute but for a lack of a better description, that's what I'll call it.

He spent lots of time blowing on this flute trying to make a nice noise.

This is Reece my fruit eater. This boy lives off of fruit, any kind, and could literally eat fruit all day long! I cannot keep grapes in the house (his favorite)!

He is always making a goofy face. He is a clown and loves attention.

The carving duo. Rich and AJ have matching pocket knives so they relaxed by trying their best to carve something meaningful. AJ did pretty good with the flute but Rich. . . let's just say he needs to keep his day job!

Micah with his bamboo stick.

He wanted a flute too.

Rich got up early each morning to watch the sunrise. AJ and Reece joined him each day and these are some of the pictures they got. There is somewhat of a progression.
They are beautiful that's why I chose so many to put in here.

This was taken at Devil's Den State Park about 20 miles from Sky-Vue. There were lots of caves to explore and bats! In fact, this park is known for it's bats and I hate bats! I've never liked them because they creep me out. I tried but even looking at the pictures in the visitor center made me uneasy.

This is Rich and AJ right before they went into the cave in total darkness to see the bats.
Rich left Micah with me as he went in he could tell the spaces were tight and he would never make it with Micah on his back. They had to take good flashlights to be able to see. Reece and Julia went in but soon came back out with no courage to go the rest of the way.

I waited safely outside with the rest of the family.

After about 1/2 hour they emerged, very dirty but with a sense of victory!

They did it! And AJ told me that the bats were "cute"! I beg to differ.

This place was every boys dream with caves and big rocks to explore!

This is called a waterfall? I guess when you've been to Yosemite National Park, you've been spoiled when it comes to waterfalls. These make me laugh. There were crowds of people hiking to see this waterfall. We will take our kids to Yosemite some day to see a real waterfall!

Some scenic pictures by the lake at Devil's Den.

Micah was a real trooper while we hiked but he was glad to get out of that backpack and stretch his own little legs.

This quaint little place was across the street from our cabin. It was a very old building that used to be owned by a nun who had a dream to see the older women teach the younger to work with their hands making useful things. She has died but it is now a place where the Local people of the Ozarks can display their crafts.

There were quilts, pottery, dolls, rugs, and big looms to look at. Us girls had a grand time browsing!

This is a stick bug we found. We found one of these last year on our first visit to Arkansas.

Watching another sunrise that wasn't as eventful as the first.

On our last full day, we drove 6 miles to lake Ft. Smith. This was their visitor center. They had clothes you could dress up in and pretend you were pioneers.

We tried to get our kids to look serious for this picture like the pioneers used to do when in front of a camera.
AJ had a hard time not smiling but he pulled it off.

This is a mock example of a yoke and it showed how heavy it was to carry water on your shoulders up from the river. The buckets were full of something like water so you could get a feel for the weight.

Lake Ft. Smith

The one tree left with pretty leaves.

Another one of those things they call a waterfall. Olivia took some pretty pictures of it.

Julia was a trooper doing all this hiking. This was our third day of hiking and Reece was sick of it. After walking about 3/4 of a mile he starting whining that he couldn't make it. I was pretty tired myself so I headed back with him while the others went on to see that waterfall above.

Micah fell asleep by the time Rich returned from the hike. He was one tired little guy.

If you made it to the end of this, I commend you! This was a long post. Thanks for going on vacation with us through our photos!

I forgot to say that we also had a bon-fire and roasted marshmallows, played games, and watched movies in our cabin. It was a thoroughly relaxing vacation and I hope to repeat it again next year. We'll see.