In less than two hours, leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind and be in the heart of the Ozark Mountain region, getting back to nature and enjoying the great beauty of Missouri. Beautiful vistas, rivers, hiking, shopping, swimming, floating, golfing and great food are all packed into the Arcadia Valley.
From the heart of St. Louis, travel south on I-55 to U.S. Highway 67, just south of the Festus (Route A) exit, and be near the heart of the northern Ozark mountain river valley. Turn right onto southbound U.S. Highway 67 and enjoy the scenic drive past small-town communities of Park Hills, Bonne Terre, Leadington and into Farmington. On the south side of Farmington, exit on to Highway 221, which is on the right. Enjoy the scenery for nine miles and where Highway 221 turns left, stay on Highway 221 for nine more miles as you arrive in Pilot Knob, Ironton and Arcadia.
Stop for a round of golf at one of Bonne Terre’s golf courses before you complete your road trip to Arcadia. If you enjoy off-road riding or museums, Park Hills offers St. Joe State Park for the adventurous or the Missouri Mines State Historic Site for history lovers.
Where To Stay:
The Dragon-Fly-In Bed & Breakfast
16251 Highway 21
Ironton, MO 63650
Prices: from $165 per night
The Dragon-Fly-In has something for everyone with lodging accommodations in the lovely Arcadia Valley. Stay in the lodge, or stay in a cabin, but be sure to play here. Enjoy the hot tub, beautiful views, the lakeside patio, hiking fishing, swimming, paddleboats and canoeing. This wonderful and romantic getaway destination offers 176 acres of Ozark wonder. The ambiance of the Ozarks plus the on-site accommodations make for the perfect wedding venue as well.
The Wilderness Lodge Resort
2331 County Road 342
Lesterville, Missouri 63654
Prices: $89 to $99 per night
The Wilderness Lodge Resort, on the beautiful Black River, is the perfect family destination for a weekend getaway. With 31 cabins, all equipped with kitchenettes, baths, heating/air conditioning, fireplaces and comfortable furnishings, it could be your rustic getaway with all the comforts of home. If the Black River doesn’t offer enough relaxation for you, then enjoy the hiking trails, fishing, miniature golf, Frisbee golf, basketball, croquet, volley ball, shuffle board and even fort building right there on the on the resort’s 1,100 acre property. Enjoy meals in the lodge with fresh food prepared from locally grown produce and farmers markets and famous recipes from Miss Hulling’s Cafeteria. Arcadia Valley is home to an abundance of natural resources and state parks. Taum Sauk Mountain State Park is also a great place to hike and take in spectacular views. Elephant Rocks State Park is an experience like no other as its curios geologic formations are a wonder to behold. Johnson Shut-Ins, formed by violently explosive volcanoes 1.5 billion years ago, now serves as an old-fashioned swimming hole and recreation area.
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What To Do:
111 S Main
Ironton, Missouri 63650
If shopping and antiquing are among some of your favorite past times, stop by Bert’s Corner. Arcadia Valley really delivers on those fronts. Bert’s Corner offers treasures from the depression era to contemporary collectables. If you are looking to spruce up your décor, you are sure to find something to please any Wednesday through Sunday at Bert’s Corner in Ironton.
Nostalgic Place Olde Time Shop
129 S. College St.
Arcadia, Missouri 63621
The Nostalgic Place Olde Time Shop is the place to go in Arcadia for collectables and gifts. It also carries Herbaria soaps, candles, crystal glassware, china and books from local authors, making it a source of never-ending treasures. Don’t miss Arcadia Valley’s Mountain Music Festival Oct. 19, 20 and 21, this year for a weekend of music, crafters and Arcadia Valley’s Fall Festival Parade. Lovers of old time mountain music and blue grass will not be disappointed or left unfulfilled. Not only is the Nostalgic Place a fabulous bed and breakfast inn, but it is also an exquisite dining experience. When in Arcadia Valley, you must experience the Nostalgic Place Dinner Package by Arrangement, but be sure to make advanced reservations. The Nostalgic Place offers fine dinning in a unique and charming atmosphere with a fine and tantalizing gourmet menu. Shrimp and steak, or any number of other fabulous entrees that begin at $20, preceded by any variety of appetizers and followed spectacular and decadent desserts. Watching the sunset as you sip fine wine from the wine list and savor the last bites of your dessert are just the little slice of heaven at the end of a perfect day in Arcadia Valley.
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1315 North Highway 21
Ironton, Missouri 63650
Forget about fast food and settle in at Baylee-Jo’s where you’ll find great and affordable, homemade, family style meals, and don’t forget to try the all-you-can-eat fresh gulf shrimp on Friday nights. Entrees from barbecue and sandwiches to seafood combos begin at less than $15. Try the ribs, steaks or pizza.
Lisa Payne-Naeger, a native of the St. Louis area, is a freelance writer, blogger, political activist and a homeschooling mother of two children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.