There are a variety of good spots to stay while visiting Mountain View, Arkansas, including some lovely B & B’s. Country Oaks Bed & Breakfast gives you a choice between their Victorian farm house and an oak timber-framed Carriage House, nestled among 69 acres of majestic oaks, pastoral fields, and a large private lake. Good choice if you want peace and quiet.
But next time, I’m staying right in town at the brand-spankin’ new Pinewood Cabins. These immaculate cabins provide the perfect Pioneer ambiance with every modern convenience imaginable — cable tv, fireplaces, full kitchens, & swimming pool. Each is tastefully furnished with period pieces, homey quilts, local arts and crafts–even your jaded teens would love it! (Tip: with prices starting at only $75/nite, I’d suggest getting them their own cabin and reserving one of your own, perhaps one with a private Jacuzzi for a little old-fashioned romance.)
But before you get too cozy in your cabin, walk down main street, as the sun is setting on the town square, for the musical experience of a lifetime- “Pickin’ in the Park.” You’ll soon appreciate why Mountain View is called the “Folk Music Capital of the World.”
At the end of the day, when the weather’s right (which includes almost any night except possibly if a tornado’s coming), this small town of under 3,000 people comes alive with pickers and listeners congregating at their favorite corner. There are no tickets to buy (it’s all free), no stages (if you don’t count one group of musicians consisting of a sheriff, a retired lawyer, a music teacher, and a teenage girl, who had driven up from Louisiana to join in the pickin’ from the back of their old pickup truck), no booze (most folks bring their own folding chairs to sit a spell, maybe sip a cold soda, and definitely break for a double scoop ice-cream cone).
From babies to old geezers, fun was had by all, and it was easy to get lulled into their version of channel surfing. When you got tired on listening to one group, you simply pick up and mosey down the block hear another sound. You’ll pass signs like “Aunt Minnie’s Pickin’ Porch-all Pickers Welcome” or BBQ Stands selling green fried tomatoes, or hot Frito Pie (which when I asked exactly what it was, the reply was “Honey, you ain’t lived till you try a Frito Pie, bless your lil heart”).
Melodies range from country ballads to bluegrass, folk to gospel, played on a variety of instruments: mandolins, guitars, dulcimers, banjos and the occasional Dobro. It was hysterical watching a local 5 year old boy belt out his “Here, Rattler, Here” song, complete with a wide range of animal noises, backed up by his family playing the “Lord’s Music”, as well as listening to some famous old- timers with scores of their CD’s available at the town music shop, playing alongside folks “from off” who have moved to the Mountain View area just to be part of the music scene.
Read this in-depth gem of a story on the music scene here.