Let me begin by saying that having pie everyday makes for a lovely vacation.
This includes fried pie. Which is the kind of pie you eat when you go on a Folkcation.
So what is a Folkcation? Well, in our case, it was a mini- vacation spent at the Ozark Folk Center and on the square in Mountain View, Arkansas.
Now why would we want to do that sort of thing for a getaway? (Some of you more city-minded gals might be wondering this, I know.)
Well, first of all our little family likes old fashioned things. It is one of our quirks. We tend to work history lessons into most of our vacations.
Secondly, I didn't grow up in Arkansas and the time I did spend here was spent in the city with my city grandparents. I knew nothing of Bluegrass or the Ozarks or folk culture until college. So I find it all very interesting and curious.
Thirdly, I had briefly stayed at the Ozark Folk Center back in August for the Arkansas Women's Blogger Conference (are you coming this year?? You must! So much fun!) but because I was sick I missed a whole chunk of the Folk-center-experience. I pretty much only saw my cabin and the conference center.
And lastly-and most importantly- my sweet friend Stephanie and her family had invited me and my family to come stay with them on the Folk Center grounds (Stephanie's husband is the Folk Center's Park Superintendent.)
After several failed attempts, we finally settled on a date for our visit, taking advantage of our long weekend to load up the car and head for the hills.
When you first arrive at the Folk Center, you might be caught off guard- and wonder "where is everything?" Because that is what I thought last year at the conference (but remember, I was sick and heavily medicated.)
But behind the conference center, there is the cutest little "Crafters Village" filled with shops and other structures where real craftsmen and women are hard at work.
I immediately liked this version of Main Street better than Disney's, because the shops are all actually what they look like, instead of one long tourist trap housed behind a facade.
The Crafts Village is currently undergoing some renovations (which are looking great btw,) so there were a few shops that were closed to the public. But some folks made do by combining shops- for instance Linda Odom, who is the Soap Maker, was sharing space with her husband Troy Odom who runs the Print Shop. Their combination was by far my favorite workshop/store in the whole village.
Because we were hanging out with Stephanie and her family, we got to get in on a little commerical-making action for the Folk Center. That is my boys and her boys trying out the letterpress while a cameraman looks on.
This is what I love about staying with other bloggers- you never know what sort of hijinks's are going to occur!
The Art Guild was another favorite stop for the boys. The shop is run by members of the Mountain View Art Guild, whose work is also on display and for sale. Each time we visited the boys were invited to jump in and take a mini-water color lesson, which of course Miles ate up.
Many of the artist offer workshops for all ages during the busy season- and I already have plans to go back for Pottery and Candle Making lessons later this summer.
A lot of the artist and craftsmen will make you custom items such as embossed stationary, custom belts or guitar straps, and even brooms. Shawn Hoefer makes the brooms (you can see more at his website) and he also weaves quite the story. Sweet Man said he could have listened to Shawn tell stories all day long.
For Christmas Miles had asked for a Blacksmith Forge and Anvil. Unfortunately Santa could not fit those in his sleigh.
Even though the blacksmith was not at his post the day we were there, Stephanie's husband Joe was able to help Miles and the other boys scrounge up pieces of iron and metal left behind on the ground from previous demonstrations. I honestly think that collecting these scraps were almost more fun than seeing a real blacksmith in action would have been.
Our trip also included: fun on the zipline (the boys,) bluegrass pickin' (Sweet Man and some amazing local musicians including Clancy Ferguson,) autoharp lesson (me,) fiddle buying (Miles apparently is a natural,) flea market shopping (me again,) and more yummy pie (all of us.)
Even though the trip was a bit of a whirlwind, it was so worth taking the time away from our to-do list to go and unwind, to be together, and spend time with friends (and in the boys case-make new friends.)
We had so much fun, we are all already trying to figure out how soon we can go back for another Folkcation getaway, and maybe even stay a little longer (now that we know how much fun it can be.)