“When you part from your friend, you grieve not; For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.” – Kahlil Gibran
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Jasper, AR – Any time you feel like visiting the Arkansas Ozark Plateau is a good time. Why? Because you’ll undoubtedly pass through or near the small town of Jasper. A peaceful and creative colony, this place is perfect for both weekend getaways and entire vacations. The rural vibe, combined with the quiet, yet progressive community, are perfect for escaping the noise of bustling, multi-million cities.
Jasper, AR – Home Of Many Pioneers
Jasper has a population of just over 450 and is surrounded with miles upon miles of natural beauty. In fact, the first national river in the nation – the Buffalo – begins to flow in the area. The first thing you’ll notice upon entering this quaint town is the breathtaking courthouse right smack in the middle of downtown square. Several gazebos on the grounds contribute to the laidback atmosphere of the downtown itself.
Northwest Arkansas in general is a breathtaking area to explore, and offers tons of natural treasures to visitors and locals alike. For example, the Arkansas Scenic Byway 7 traverses the heart of the country, running both south and north. In doing so, it offers astounding views of nature to travelers. On the other hand, Jasper is the home of the annual Buffalo Elk River Festival. If you’re not up for exploring the surroundings, you can stay in town and join the party that celebrates the reintroduction of the elk to the region.
Small Towns Are Often Some Of The Best Survivors Out There
Back in the 60’s, one of the biggest economic booms in town came from a theme park named Dogpatch, USA. It was based on Al Capp’s famed “Lil Abner” comics. However, the park went out of business in the 90’s, which led to a decrease of the economy in and around Jasper. Most recently, much of the town has been reinvigorated thanks to the growing motorcycling tourism push, as well as the reintroduction of the elk into the Buffalo National River Valley.
Considering everything aforementioned, there are several things that you simply must try if you’re ever in this gorgeous little town. Actually, there’s like a million things, but since we’re limited by space, here’s just a couple that should at least make it to your shortlist. First and foremost, you really, really, really need to go down the Buffalo. The Little Buffalo rushes right next to town, and its big brother is just a few miles out. Spring and early summer are the best times to float it, but late fall should also be a challenge and something different to try.
Jasper’s Restaurants And Accommodation Are Not What You’d Expect
Another absolute favorite of ours when it comes to Jasper is the food. There aren’t many restaurants in town, but they more than make up for it in taste. The Cliff House Inn, to the south of town, is where you want to go if you’re looking for pies. Buffalo and elk steaks are to die for at the Boardwalk Café, and the Ozark Café is the home of the famed Excaliburger (it’s every bit as extraordinary as it sounds). Now, you’d think that was it, right? But, that wouldn’t be fair to the Blue Mountain Bakery’s cinnamon rolls. They’re heaven. With cinnamon, that is.
And lastly, we couldn’t let this go without mentioning the plethora of historic lodging properties that dot the town. For instance, the former Dogpatch Hotel is now called The Hub, and is all for motorcycle enthusiasts. Little Switzerland Cabins, on the other hand, are just a couple miles north of town. They’re ideal if you’re in the mood for cozy décor and comfortable furnishings. And then you have the Arkansas House Inn, which is what we went with. Packed with eclectic rooms, the inn occupies a stone structure that was built back in 1934. All aforementioned options have their upsides, but we were blown away by the ambiance of the Inn. Sorry guys – we’re allowed to have favorites!