It’s time to saddle up and head out west; west Arkansas that is. Late October and early November is the perfect time to take a road trip along the Talimena Scenic Drive to see the fall foliage at its peak. Arkansas Highway 88 cuts a path through the Ouachita National Forest on its way to the Oklahoma border. The Talimena Scenic Drive offers mountain vistas of forested peaks and valleys with a multitude of outdoor excursions to enjoy fishing, hiking, and canoeing.
And if you’re wanting to make a weekend out of it, make a reservation at the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge perched on Rich Mountain, Arkansas’s second highest peak.
Built to entice railroad passengers in the 1890’s, the original structure cost a whopping 100-thousand dollars (2.6 million in today’s dollars) to build and I’m sure a glorious site to see for weary passengers.
Dutch investors named the inn in honor of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and kept a reserved suite of rooms for her in hope she would visit, which she never did.
The lodge has been through several transformations through the years, but after an extensive renovation, re-opened its doors to the public in July of 2015.
A dramatic mountaintop setting, Queen Wilhelmina Lodge offers 40 guest rooms, fine dining in the Queen’s Restaurant, and is within walking distance of several hiking trails and family oriented activities. Including programs that teach visitors about the mountain, the flora, the fauna and the history of the area.
So saddle up and head west to Queen Wilhelmina State Park.
The Talimena National Scenic Byway stretches 50 miles from eastern Oklahoma to western Arkansas. It takes about an hour and a half to drive the entire route.
I can see why the views alone would lure American settlers to west.
The Lum and Abner Museum and Jot-Em-Down Store not only chronicles the history of the iconic radio program of the same name, but also strives to preserve an important era of American life.
Need a rest? Book a room at Queen Wilhelmina’s “Castle in the Clouds.” The lodge was renovated and reopened in July 2015.