Traveling Around Arkansas
Each year, Jim and I take an autumn trip. This year we traveled to southern Arkansas to visit our daughter and her family who live in Monticello. What a great time we had, and what a diversity of landscape we saw. Because we rarely travel the interstate, and because we never go back the same way we went, we put over 1,000 miles on our Fusion Hybrid as we wandered our way around Arkansas and back home to Missouri—it is a good thing the hybrid averages over 45 mpg!
Our first stop, anytime we travel down highway US 63 is Mammoth Spring, Arkansas. It takes about two and a half hours from our house, and by then we are starving for breakfast at the Wood’s Riverbend Restaurant on the Spring River. It is not a fancy place, but the breakfast tastes like home and the view of the river is beautiful any season of the year.
After breakfast, we always go to Mammoth Spring State Park, right on the highway, to take a leisurely walk around the spring and visit the ducks and geese who are always in residence. Sometimes we also see a beaver swimming at the spring and sometimes we see trees on which he has been working!
While at our daughter’s house we took several side trips.
We visited a pumpkin patch, where each of us picked our own pumpkins. We tried to get lost in the corn maze, and just generally had a fun time.
We visited the South Arkansas Arboretum in El Dorado. This arboretum and botanical garden is a real jewel. It is Arkansas’ fiftieth state park, owned by the local school system and operated by South Arkansas Community College. What a wonderful way to take a walk in nature. Unbelievably, in an era in which everything costs money, this botanical garden and arboretum charges no entrance fee.
Cane Lake State Park. near Star City, is another place to have a great walk in the woods and visit an oxbow lake.
But, by far, the most beautiful place we visited was Petit Jean State Park near Morrilton. While there, we hiked, climbed over “turtle” rocks, saw magnificent 500 year old Native American pictographs, and fell in love with the sunrise and sunset of this most picturesque place. Rather than go on and on, let me share some of my photos from Petit Jean…
And finally, this trip, as with all good things must come to an end. But not without a stop in Jasper, at the eclectic Ozark Cafe, one of our favorite places in all of Arkansas to enjoy an incredible hamburger.
What a great trip! And what a great recipe I brought home with me…it is simple to make and easy to eat. We love this buttermilk pie!
While looking through the book store at Cain Creek State Park, I asked the park ranger if she could recommend one of the cookbooks as a really good example of Arkansas cuisine. She not only led me to a book, but also showed me the recipe for Buttermilk Pie. She said that was the recipe I should make, because she and all her relatives had grown up on it. Her exact wordds, “My Granny made this pie for us all the time.” So here it is…and it is indeed very good!
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp. flour
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Mix all the ingredients together. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake one hour at 325 degrees. Enjoy!
The recipe for Buttermilk Pie is from the Cane Creek State Park 10th Anniversary Cookbook. It was published in 2002, by the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.