My mother Mary Lou, my sister Jen and my aunt Carol came down to visit a few weeks ago. We really got out and explored some of Arkansas. We took so many pictures, that the blog post became overwhelming! I’m going to split it up into parts.
One of the highlights of the visit was going to Mountain View, AR, the folk music capitol of the world. Ty had seen a feature on Mountain View in the Oxford American’s SoLost feature. The Ozark Folk Art Museum up there, but the real life of the town comes out at night when everyone sets up a chair and plays music at the parks and street corners.
We had a great time at the Ozark Folk Center State Park. Each profession has a separate little hut where craftsmen and craftswomen in costume practice their art. I especially enjoyed the weaving, quilting, and sewing. The most delightful and unexpected building contained a bearded broom maker. He showed us his dried grass weaving technique, and had a wall full of turkey wing whisk brooms. It was totally unexpected for me.
Jen and Mom enjoyed the plants and the Heritage Herb Garden. Living up on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, Jennifer has learned much about natural herbs, healing, and ceremonial herbs. She was delighted to find an entire house full drying white sage. Jen also found a soap to help her deal with her poison ivy!
We got to the Ozark Folk Art Center at around noon or 1PM, and we had just enough time to make it through all of the buildings before closing time. We could have easily spent the entire day there.
For dinner, we picked up a bucket of chicken and sides and made our way down to the park. We moved a picnic table closer to the music and just enjoyed what Mountain View had to offer.
Lots of people gathered on the benches and movable chairs in Mountain View Park, but the regulars brought their own folding chairs, some with 2-3 inches of padding. I heard Elvis, I heard hymns, I heard songs sung once by one musician, and then sung again with completely different lyrics!
We made our way down to the “Pickin’ Porch” where a baptist minister from Louisiana played some funny songs about beans. He could tell we were tourists, so he asked us our names where we were from. From that he derived a song with the chorus “Julee and Jennifer,” which completely delighted us. Unfortunately, we had JUST decided to stay for one more song as the sun was going down and we had a long drive home. We are definitely going back, bringing musical instruments, and staying over night!