What is an Elder-hostel? It is a unique affordable style of vacation with seniors in mind who want an economical vacation with educational opportunities for skills they wanted, but had neither time nor financial availability to pursue.
Since 1980, Arkansas has had its own Elder-hostel program. They are available at the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View and Petit Jean State Park in Morrilton.
The Ozark Folk Center State Park offers the most variety of activities and flexible scheduling. They allow one to schedule time with an instructor as their time allows and for as long as one needs to execute their new craft effectively. The instructor charges by the day, which puts the student in charge of how much they want to spend. Some craft instructors take single students for a one-on-one experience and others need up to six students, depending on the subject studied and availability of the instructor.
The Ozark Folk Centerís Elder-hostel workshops are available from April through November. The workshops explore the primitive skills required to live in the Ozark Mountains of the past. The workshops include: musical instrument construction, herbal gardening, blacksmithing, broom making, wood stove cooking, soap making, wood carving, pottery making, coopering, basket weaving, doll making, knife making, candle making, using a foot lathe, weaving and quilting.
Special craft and music festivals are quite common in the Ozark Folk Center and surrounding areas all season. Folk music plays a big part in the town of Mountain View. There are always musicians picking and grinning on the square each weekend during the summer months. Local musicians and visitors alike are welcome to come and join in as well.
Petit Jean State Park is the other park that offers discounts to seniors located in the town of Morrilton, Arkansas west of Little Rock. It offers a Senior Special in October, with discounted fees on selected programs. There are many things to do here including: guided lake cruises, guided nature walks, historical tours, fishing derbies, and diamond finding contests. Ozark folk life historical information and cultural programs are also available. One of the most outstanding features of the park is Cedar Falls, a spectacular 95 foot waterfall to the canyon floor. It is located at the end of a two-mile hike to the bottom of the canyon including 60 feet of steps cut into the rock. Only those in good physical condition should try it if one decides to hike. The good news is one can also view it from the Cedar Fall Overlook at the top.
Things everyone should know to make the most of their Arkansas Ozarks vacation:
Arkansas is the Natural State and the mountain areas of the state are beautifully preserved wilderness areas. The state takes great pains to maintain the cleanliness of the parks, hiking trails and water quality of the lakes and rivers. This guarantees everyone a clean, pure and natural experience. When visiting the waterways, no glass bottles are allowed in the state park access areas and all cans are required to be in coolie cups that float. Enjoy your vacation, take plenty of pictures and leave nothing behind except memories.