Whenever our family goes on vacation to Lake Norfork, one of my favorite days always turns out to be the morning I spend by myself exploring and poking around in nearby little Ozark towns. This year’s girls’ trip was no exception. Mid-week, when the thought of putting my bathing suit back on (gah!) was about as appealing as running a marathon, I woke early to beat the heat and headed toward White River.
Although everyone was invited, no one else saw the fun in it, so off I went. And I limited myself to $25 for shopping because a) I don’t need another thing, and b) making a game out of it is more fun.
Along historic downtown Calico Rock, there are a couple of antique / flea market type establishments. I decided right then and there, if I had a lake cabin, I would decorate my Christmas tree with fishing lures. Without buying anything, I made in past displays of mismatched china and antique jewelry and linens I didn’t dare touch. Yay me.
The Calico Rock Museum and Visitor Center is definitely worth a stop. Not only does it include local artisan crafts for sale and historical exhibits about life along White River, but it includes a small library and writing room (see pic below). I made my first purchases here—a handmade pottery dish (because I can’t not support local artists) and a book about Calico Rock (because I can’t not support local writers). A $15 dent in my shopping allowance but worth it.
I was drawn to the railroad track that runs along White River. As I walked along side it, I imagined the views haven’t changed since the track was laid at the turn of the century. Hobos? I saw not a single one.
No trip to Calico Rock would be complete without dipping a toe in icy White River. And I wanted to go trout fishing just to ride in one of these johnboats.
White River is a truly spectacular river renowned for some of the best trout fishing in America.
See the mist coming off the water? A hot, humid day and ice cold water will do that. The water temperature stays a constant year-round 50 degrees. The air temperature along the riverbank felt pleasant, at least fifteen degrees cooler than in town.
Where might one see an old fisherman crossing sign? Only in Arkansas, of course.
After my trip down to the river, I explored Calico Rock’s ghost town. Yes, you read that correctly. Calico Rock is the only town in the U.S. with a ghost town inside the city limits. I’ll be writing an article about this soon for OnlyinArkansas(dot)com, but here’s a sneak peek of the jail.
At high noon, the sidewalks were blazing hot, I hadn’t eaten a bite all day, and I felt pretty sure I had chiggers from my ghost town adventure. In fact, after all my exploring, I was beginning to look like a hobo. No matter, I stopped in at the Printing Press Cafe on Main Street and ordered sustenance. A butterscotch malt. DELICIOUS. (Don’t judge.)
And no, food/drinks never go against the shopping allowance. Everyone knows this, right?
There was so much more to share about this Ozark day, but I’m wondering if anyone is still reading. Conclusion later…
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.
Larry & His Flask, Hobo’s Lament