Folk music enthusiasts take in a few tunes at the Arkansas Folk Festival
Mountain View: Well Rounded Folk and Outdoor Destination
By Zoie Clift, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
While in town riding the internationally acclaimed Syllamo Mountain Bike Trail, bikers and visitors have the opportunity to unwind in Mountain View, recently listed in Outside Magazine as one of the Top 20 Outdoor Destinations in the nation.
Folk music enthusiasts take in a few tunes at the Arkansas Folk Festival Established in the 1870s, the town is famous for the preservation of folkways and traditional music. It was natural for the Arkansas Folk Festival to be founded here in the early 1960s, and the Ozark Folk Center State Park followed in 1973. Music plays a vital part of the aura of the area as, historically, Saturday nights would find locals at a "pickin’ " in a neighbor’s house or yard. The custom continues today and once the weather gets warm, usually around April in time to ring in the town’s annual Folk Festival, musicians join locals and play music late into the night hours. The season is from Mid-April through late November. The Mt. View Folklore Society Music Hall on Franklin Street also provides music and dance every Saturday night from 7-9 p.m. October–April. Music is not only vital, it is the soul of the town and there is a determination to keep the tradition alive through programs such as the Music Roots Program, where via the local school system, area musicians teach young people to play the old tunes on traditional string instruments.
Once visitors get their fill of music, they can roam downtown, which hosts music stores, antique shops, and places to refuel such as at Tommy’s Famous Pizza, Kin Folks Bar-B-Q, or Dogwood Hollow Steakhouse, home of a mean Blackened Ribeye Steak. The state's largest craft cooperative, the Arkansas Crafts Guild, is also headquartered in the historic downtown area.
There are numerous B&Bs if an overnight vacation experience is what one is after. Among these is the Wildflower B&B, which was built in 1918 and restored in the early 1980s as a B&B. "The Wildflower was originally the Commercial Hotel and is still known by many of the locals as just that." said LouAnne Tanneberger, who owns the B&B along with her husband Bill. "Many area businesses started in what are now downstairs guestrooms that were at one time used as commercial rental for print shops, bakeries, beauty shops and lots more. The business most remembered being located here in the 80s and early 90s is the Heartstone Bakery, which had amazing breads and pastries. Locals and visitors alike loved this bakery and to this day, after 10-11 years of it not being in business, folks still stop in the B&B "looking for the bakery." The Tanneberger’s were introduced to B& Bs via different routes. LouAnne first discovered them in California, and Bill, an architect originally from Little Rock, discovered B&Bs in the New England towns he used to live and work in and decided he wanted his own someday.
While staying at the B&B, visitors can enjoy hearing music drift through the streets as they sit on an outdoor patio enjoying a strong cup of coffee in the morning or taking in the night breeze in the evening. "The warm, welcoming feeling is what most who come to Mountain View feel and appreciate and why so many decide to stay." said Tanneberger.
Other B&Bs in the area include The Inn at Mountain View, Ozark Country Inn, and Country Charm B&B.
Visitors can also take in a bit of the flavor and culture of the area at The Ozark Folk Center, which has been coined as the nation’s only center that preserves Ozark heritage and presents it as living history. The town, located deep in the Ozarks is surrounded by mountains and rivers, offering outdoor activities that include caving at Blanchard Springs Caverns and fly fishing on the White River. The 50-mile Syllamo Mountain Bike Trail is also nearby, a trail recently designated by The International Mountain Biking Association as an "Epic Ride," a status only 37 trails across the nation currently hold.
Expect a two-hour drive from Little Rock. Take I-40 West until exit 125, when you hit U.S. 65 North. After about 40 miles, veer right onto Ark. 9. Follow Ark. 9 for 35 miles, until you hit Mountain View.