A few months ago Jake and I decided we want to make more of an effort to do weekend and day trips. This is mostly due to us both working full time with very limited time off, like the majority of Americans today. So I had taken the first of many to come trips, starting with Eureka Springs, AR back in the fall of 2016.
I recruited my friend Rose to join me on my first adventure. We opted for something close to home, with it taking about an hour and a half through Branson. I was surprised by how much character this little town had! The main part of the town is in a narrow valley, surrounded by rock cliffs. The houses reminded me of some quaint town in Ireland, each one a different color with almost gingerbread style trim. The town was complete with a train car hotel and the most haunted hotel in the U.S. We strolled the neat little shops, one in particular was the Fresh Harvest. They sell high quality oils and vinegars, among other great treats! We took our time sampling everything and learning. I never knew vinegar could be so sweet! I liked it so much I bought 2 bottles!
After that we opted for a light lunch at one of the top recommended restaurants in town, Local Flavor Cafe which was healthy and delicious! Another fun tidbit we learned is that the restaurant served the sweet fruit vinegar as a salad dressing from Fresh Harvest (the shop we had just visited!). It was great seeing local businesses supporting each other.
Feeling refueled, we did a bit more sightseeing of the town. However the heat of afternoon soon had us ready to cool off. We decided that was the perfect time to check out Onyx Cave nearby. After a few winding roads we reached it. We walked down a winding pathway to reach a converted house turned gift shop and entrance. The woman there was friendly and knowledgeable. After paying a reasonable sum we were handed these bulky, comical, yet functional headphones. These things were very dated, looking older than we are! Imagine those earphones you wear to silence gun noise…. Needless to say we drudged on. Into the depths of what looked like it was supposed to be a basement. This was the cave entrance. (Fun fact: I actually love caves and did a good amount of spelunking in my youth in wild caves.) As we headed into darkness letting our eyes adjust to the dim lights, every so often there would be a radio button. When we pressed this an old voice would come on giving the history of the cave. To be honest the cave was not very long and over before we knew it. There was one area that had steps fenced and locked off. We contemplated jumping it, and looking back I wished I had. Instead we surfaced and asked permission but were denied. I still wonder what’s down there.
After our cave adventure we decided it was time to head back. Driving back across the state line, we saw a nice looking winery and decided to stop off. It was Stonehill Winery. And as luck would have we were just in time for there tour and tasting! Being the wine lovers we are, how could we say no? After a short video and some information we got to sample almost a dozen different wines. It surprised me which ones I liked, but what didn’t surprise me was that my favorite was a delicious sweet white! After a very enjoyable time at Stonehill, which I do highly recommend, we were back on the road. It wasn’t long until we were home again with our fond memories of the day.
Day trip #1 was a smashing success and left me anxious for the next! I’ve had a few more adventures since then, including a cruise at the end of January and a day trip to Ha Ha Tonka. Which I’m hoping tell you all about soone. Until then, sigurno putovanje (safe travels).