If you want to create happy memories, look no further than Lake Fort Smith State Park. Earlier this week I was planning what I wanted to do with my mother for Mother's Day. I'm on a big kick lately about creating memories as presents, instead of actual physical items. For many reasons, I really wanted to make this Mother's Day very special for my mom. The place I always visit is EFortSmith to check their events page. There were several Mother's Day events I could take her to, but one stood out and that was the Mother's Day Boat Tour at Lake Fort Smith State Park outside of Mountainburg, AR. I called and made reservations, then I called mom. I managed to keep the whole thing a secret.
Sunday we arrived at the Marina and she wasn't quite sure what we were going to do, but she was thrilled when I told her we were going on a boat ride. And not just any boat ride, this was a 2 hour excursion, complete with a very knowledgeable Park Interpreter and some beautiful scenery. All of the boat guests received binoculars for use in viewing birds, wildlife, and old homestead remnants. We were told the historical and geological history of the lake and its surroundings. The Park Interpreter was great with the one child on the boat letting him “steer” us. It was a beautiful and relaxing tour, and one I will definitely be back for.
They run their excursion cruises fairly frequently, even offering a “Full-Moon Cruise”. I think me and the hubby will try that one out for a date night soon. They even offer a 2 hour guided kayak tour, as well as rent out boats, kayaks, and paddle boats. If you’re in the area or just planning a Stay-cation, this is definitely something you need to do.
After the boat ride it was time for lunch. It’s a little out of our Western Arkansas Mountain Frontier region, but afterwards mom and I drove the short 5 miles or so north past Artist Point to Grandma’s House Café outside of Winslow, AR. Grandma’s House Café is open just a few days a week for a lunch buffet. I had heard about their fried chicken and it didn’t disappoint, just like grandma’s...and my mom’s. And with a pie buffet and 3 types of cobbler you really can’t go wrong. Everything was homemade, from the gravy and mashed potatoes (complete with lumps) and of course the fried chicken.
On our way back to Van Buren, we stopped off at Ozark Folkways. This was my first time there and there was more to see than I had expected. It is definitely worth a stop to see local craftsmanship from Ozark artisans. And of course, our visit wouldn’t have been complete if we had not stopped at the Artist Point gift shop. The shop was closed, but the view was spectacular. Always a great picture taking place and we did just that.
I had a wonderful day being a tourist in my own community and my mom had a Mother’s Day she’ll remember for a long time. She called me in tears later that evening telling me it was the best Mother’s Day she had ever had. Success.