A Nice Way to Kill Some Time

Cliff House Inn and Restaurant

A few day ago Retta and I had to leave her vehicle at the local Ford dealer for some maintenance, which was going to take a few hours for the dealership to complete.  We decided to kill the time by sightseeing in our local area, which took us south along Arkansas Scenic Byway 7, which is always a lovely and picturesque drive.

Because we hadn’t eaten anything prior to leaving the house, we thought it would be a fine idea to partake of breakfast at the Cliff House Inn, a well-known (among locals) diner located in a spectacular location along the scenic route. 

Cozy balcony overlooking the canyon

Besides good food at a fair price, the main draw of the Cliff House Inn is the view that can be seen from the dining room and from the casual balcony, shown in the photograph above.

Why travel all the way to Arizona?

The Cliff House Inn overlooks a scenic canyon, which, according to the sign above, is the deepest canyon in the Ozarks.

Wonderful view from Cliff House Inn balcony

While this canyon certainly cannot compete with the Grand Canyon in scope and drama, it is still a beautiful and very delightful sight to view while savoring a meal at the Inn.  In the photograph above, you can see the view from the balcony on a day when a typical Ozarks fog bank filled the canyon.  By the time we had finished our breakfast, the fog had dissipated, offering a clear view of the surrounding hills and valleys (hollers, as they’re known around here).

Large geode for sale at Mystic Cavern gift shop

After breakfast at the Cliffhouse Inn we traveled back toward town.  Northern Arkansas is home to over 4700 identified caves, owing to the Swiss cheese-like geology of the schist formations that form the Ozarks.  Along the way we passed one of these caves, Mystic Cavern, which operates daily guided cave tours, and so we elected to kill some more time by taking a cavern tour.  As we waited for the guided tour to begin, we browsed the gift and rock shop on the premises, where we saw this amazingly large amethyst geode from Brazil (asking price – $2700).

Formations inside Mystic Cavern

Inside Mystic Cavern you can see all of the various types of cave formations you would expect to see in such an environment.  It was well worth the time and minor effort involved for us to see this cavern.

Between breakfast at the Cliff House Inn and a tour of Mystic Cavern, we thought it was time to start heading back to town, but not without one more quick stop along the way.

Stopover at Buffalo National Scenic River

We would be crossing a section of the Buffalo National River, a scenic waterway administered by the U.S. National Park Service as the first U.S. National River.  The Buffalo River is a superb and popular river for float trips.  Besides the solitude and seclusion the river offers, the main draw is the pristine beauty of the crystal clear water gently flowing along cliffs and rock embankments like the one shown in the photograph above.  When the water is calm, it is hard to tell where the water begins and the rock ends.  We wouldn’t think of driving by the Buffalo River without stopping to take a look, which is exactly what we did before returning to town to pick up Retta’s vehicle from the dealership.

It is a very nice feeling knowing that we can enjoy such a wonderful and scenic day by just driving around the very area we choose to make our home.

6 thoughts on “A Nice Way to Kill Some Time

  1. We are blessed to live in such a beautiful part of this country. Thanks for the future trip ideas. Theresa and I went on a weekend drive to the mills that dot the area in southern central missouri a couple of weeks ago. I am looking forward to the leaves turning before our next trip though.


  2. Beautiful. I wish I could have gone with you since you seem to know all of the good spots. Maybe this Arkansas place is not so bad afterall.

  3. You touched on one of my favorite places on this earth, Buffalo River National Park. I used to go there strictly for the floating but realized it was much more than that. After buying some land with a cabin next to the park, I have spent 25 years not only floating, but hiking the hundreds of miles of trails (and off trail too) along with biking on old logging roads that criss cross the area. I haven’t even come close to exploring all there is to see there.

  4. Hal, I can’t see the pretty pictures… I get:

    You don’t have permission to access /blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/day-outing_001.jpg on this server.

    Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

  5. Duane – If you can’t see the pictures,. how do you know they are pretty? 😉

    You might try loading the page again. My web host has been known to experience problems from time to time – maybe you just tried to access the page at a bad time.

    I recently activated a module my web host provides that stops other sites from hot-linking to my photos. I wonder if the problem lies in that module?

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