- FOLK CENTER SHOWS: Shows daily.
Mountain View, the seat of Stone County, is a small Ozark town — population 2,876 — that holds some of the biggest folk music events in the state and the country. Each year, in April, it hosts the Arkansas Folk Festival, which is attended by tens of thousands, according to estimates. In November, the Bluegrass Festival stretches over a weekend and brings in the crowds. All year long, the Ozark Folk Center hosts musical performances throughout the day; there's more music on the town square at night. Around any
Grab some breakfast in town (likely right beside your bed)
In a town like Mountain View, built to accommodate tourists, lodging is available near the center of town. Wildflower Bed and Breakfast, at 100 W. Washington St., and The Inn at Mountain View, 307 W. Washington St., offer great spots for those looking for a bed and breakfast. (Country Oaks Bed and Breakfast
All right, you've spent more than 15 minutes in Mountain View without any music (unless you're playing folk classics out of your iPhone speaker for all to hear). We should probably remedy that! Head over to the Ozark Folk Center for a show. Each day the center hosts music at 10:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:45 p.m., 2:45 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. Can't find a time (somehow) in that a schedule? There are evening concerts, too, at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Daytime performances are in the Outdoor Music Pavilion or White Oak Theater and evening shows are in the Large Auditorium on Thursdays through Saturdays. Afterward, right down the hill, you can drive over to the Dulcimer Shoppe. If you're desperate to buy top quality dulcimers, this is the spot. But, if you're just someone interested
Wandering the square
If you've seen the show and then been to the music shops, you might still have a little bit before lunch, so do some antiquing. The town square is small but somehow has about four antique/resale shops. There is Rainbow Antique Mall, which is a large and sprawling home to many random items (all cheap and interesting, from odd lamps to weird bobbleheads). Beside that is For Mother Earth, home to a great section of used books and tons of tie-dye shirts. There's also Nancy's Antiques & Gifts and J & J Antique Stuff and Sanders Town Square Antiques, all around that area. For some reason, Mountain View has a good amount of old stuff worth selling.
- THE SOUND OF MOUNTAIN VIEW: Includes the old-time strains of the autoharp, fiddle and dulcimer.
Lunch on the river
Get in the car and head a bit out of town for Anglers White River Resort, which is along the White River. It will be hard to miss it: Anglers is not only a restaurant but also an RV Park, a gas station, and an outdoor store; signs litter the highway as you approach. The best part about the restaurant is that you can sit outside and look at the river as you eat. If you're here, nothing to order but catfish.
Blanchard Springs Caverns
Since you're a bit out of town now, steer over another 10 minutes farther into the woods to the Blanchard Springs Caverns. It's a beautiful (and the only nationally protected) cave system, home to glistening rock formations. Do not worry: There are some intense versions of cave exploring offered, but if you're more squeamish there is also a calm half-mile or so hike that is guided. On the half-mile
- SPELUNK: Both the easy and harder trails at Blanchard Caverns are spectacular.
Dinner and dessert
Unless the woods were so enticing you decided to stay and become a hunter-gatherer, you'll be hungry for someone else's cooking again. So head back to town to Kin Folks BBQ. It's
Yes! You need more music. Perhaps you're going to head back to the Ozark Folk Center for one of the evening performances, but there are others options, too. Check out a great website, mountain-view-music-scene.com, for local options. There is the Gospel Opry, 208 School Ave., which has shows every Thursday,
Tired of music? Let's do a movie
The Stone Drive-In Theater plays movies when it gets dark. I mean this literally: Its Facebook page tells customers, "Movie starts at dark!" You pull in and pay, tune your radio to the correct frequency and enjoy the classic drive-in experience. $5 will get anyone in over the age of 12 and $2 for kids age 6 to 11. If it's raining? The movie still plays. So, drive on over.
Spend the night or drive home
Either grab some shut-eye in the B&B or book it back to Little Rock, talking all the way about what a joy Mountain View was.
Back to the woodsIt was wonderful, deep down in those caverns. It made you long for peace and quiet and a Twitter-less world. Go deeper into the Ozark National Forest!
Head over to Mill Creek, sprung from the springs within Blanchard Springs Caverns, and spend some time at the lake it creates, Mirror Lake, and the manmade Mirror Waterfall. You know what? You're still too close to other people (there are usually some folks hanging around). Maybe head to the Gunner Pool Recreation Area — a solid camping spot where you can stay for only $7 or so. You can go swimming here or just sit around and read a book. Why ever go back? We could live here and make it, couldn't we? We could really survive out in these woods and we'd be happy? Why not? Let's do it!