One could argue that Ozark—Netflix’s award-winning and critically acclaimed drama, the latest episodes of which dropped on the streamer this week, has done the destination it’s name no favors. According to its on-screen portrayal, the vast region of serpentine lakes and verdant mountains stretching from Missouri to Arkansas is nothing more than a cesspool of corruption, drugs and violence beneath its glittering veneer. : a “sunny place for dodgy people”, if you will.
But in reality, if Angelenos have Montecito and New Yorkers have the Hamptons, the Midwestern wealthy have long retreated to the Ozarks for their summer respite from city life (even Missouri native Brad Pitt is said to have a home here in a tony enclave known as Millionaires Creek). The revelry naturally centers on the many lakes in the area (swimming, boating, fishing, floating bacchanalia, etc.), although there is also plenty to do on land to fill a hot and languid afternoon, from golf to hiking, passing through learned arts and Culture.
While the Netflix series takes place primarily around Lake of the Ozarks, near the northern edge of the region – show creator Bill Dubuque drew inspiration from his teenage summers working at a local lodge – the Ozarks actually span a colossal area of 47,000 square miles. Along the southern border are top attractions including Bentonville, the upscale, artsy Arkansas town home to the billionaire Walton family and their Walmart empire, and, less than two hours away, Payne’s Valley, a new magnificent golf course designed by Tiger Woods. GTCan advice ? Spend a few days in the city before venturing into the green and blue calm of the countryside. Below is our guide to the best places for aozark vacation in the Ozarks.
Watch ozark on Netflix
Where to stay
Search for 21c Museum Hotel
First stop: the city Walmart built. Home to some of the best art in the country (see: Crystal Bridges Museum, below), not to mention the wealthiest family in the world, elegant Bentonville has plenty to see. Make 21c Museum Hotel your home base – the chain of properties was founded with the goal of combining an immersive art experience with metropolitan hospitality. As with its other locations in Nashville, Chicago and Louisville, this means huge exhibition spaces to showcase regional and international artists, site-specific installations, fabulous decor throughout and a lively restaurant with local ingredients. The one here, called The Hive, is directed by James Beard Award nominee Matthew McClure.
Grand Cedar Pavilion
If Bentonville is the kingdom of the Waltons, Big Cedar Lodge, a sprawling 4,600-acre resort in the Missouri Ozark wilderness (and less than two hours from Bentonville), is the estate of another billionaire, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, Johnny Morris. As a renowned conservationist, often referred to as the “Walt Disney of the outdoors”, he has created a veritable playground for outdoor activities and adventures. On the very long list of amenities here: five swimming pools and six hot tubs, several accommodation options ranging from chalets to glamping tents, five golf courses, an 18,000 square foot spa where treatment rooms each have their own fireplace, a 10,000 hectare wildlife preserve (see: Dogwood Canyon, below) and a custom 65ft luxury yacht for private cocktail cruises on the lake.
Long Stream Camp
In 2019, Big Cedar Lodge added glamping to its accommodation offering. Visitors to Camp Long Creek, which is located along the water, can choose between deluxe tents, which have hot tubs and fire pits, or cabins and huts, which come with small kitchens. As for the activities at this family-friendly, kid-friendly place: there’s lakeside “beach” access, a vintage Airstream that serves food and drink, a pool, a dog park and s’more kits.
Nestled on 500 acres in a quiet corner of Table Rock Lake, lies one of the area’s best-kept secrets: the intimate, all-inclusive, family-run Stonewater Cove. Here you can be adventurous – ATV rides, ziplining, fishing excursions and helicopter rides are on offer – or simply savor the low-key lakeside vibe, partake in a treatment or two in the treehouse spa. and live a few days as well-heeled weekenders might.
What to do
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Founded a decade ago by Walmart scion Alice Walton, the Crystal Bridges Museum has grown into a lavish, state-of-the-art institution designed by Moshe Safdie with a stellar collection of top-notch art by Andy Warhol, Louise Bourgeois, John Singer Sargent and Georgia O’Keeffe. Elsewhere on its 120-acre lot: a James Turrell Skyspace, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Bachman-Wilson House, and four miles of trails to experience it all.
Natural History Museum of the Ancient Ozarks
Thanks to Johnny Morris’ voracious appetite for preservation, the ancient Ozarks Natural History Museum has an impressive array – about a third of his personal collection – of prehistoric skeletons and Native American artifacts that trace centuries-old history. of the region. Civil War relics are also on display, including uniforms, cannons, paintings, and even a medallion containing a lock of Abraham Lincoln’s hair.
Big Cedar Lodge’s five golf courses recently received Audubon Signature Sanctuary status, a distinction reserved for locations that meet the highest standards of conservation and sustainability. Payne’s Valley, the first public golf course designed by the legendary Tiger Woods, joined the portfolio in September 2020 and was named the best new public golf course in North America in 2021 by golf summary.
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park
Endangered species like owls, bald eagles and rare white bison make their home in Dogwood Canyon, a 10,000-acre nature preserve that’s also perfect for kayaking, trout fishing, hiking , biking, horseback riding and guided foraging lessons.
What to eat and drink
Chateau Aux Arcs
Yes, there is wine country in Arkansas. Chateau Aux Arc—whose name refers to the French etymology of ozark (one of the theories is that in les Arcs was the abbreviation of in Arkansas) – is the first and only winery in the state to be led by a winemaker (Audrey House) and specializes in the Cynthiana grape, also known as “Cabernet du Sud”.
At this no-frills counter restaurant in Bentonville, which started life as a food truck, brisket, ribs and pulled pork are prepared the OG way – over a pit over a 100% open flame. of pecan wood from the wilds of Arkansas. Garth Brooks even called it the best barbecue he’s ever had.
The Worman house bistro
Last year, Big Cedar Lodge took over the former 1920s country retreat of railroad tycoon Harry Worman, meticulously restored it and transformed it into a new restaurant overlooking Table Rock Lake, a bistro-style menu with an Ozarks twist and a cocktail. list that pays homage to the Roaring Twenties, with Sidecars and French 75s galore.
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