Archive for the 'Arkansas' category

Arkansas – Self Creek Lodge & Marina Review

| September 6, 2010 7:29 pm

We departed today to head back home for the long drive.   As promised, here’s the review of the accommodations and the marina.  First, let me state that we had a great time and we think we’ve discovered one of America’s best kept secrets when it comes to lakes and cottages and we will likely return in the future.   The hotel rates vary throughout the season and because we’re still in summer season, we paid the highest rate.    We rented a three bedroom cottage at a rate of $410 per day from Self Creek Lodge & Marina.   The cottage comes fairly equipped with a full kitchen including stove top, oven, microwave, fridge, and sinks.   Additionally, it is fully stocked with utensils, cookware and minor cleaning staples.    There is NO FOOD provided and clients are expected to bring their own food.   Additionally, there is a small grill outside that would need charcoal or wood to cook with if so interested.

Each bedroom had two double beds, the master had a king size bed and the living room couch had a sofa bed.   All bedrooms had their own bathrooms which included sinks, commode and shower and all contain doors to “isolate” the areas from other areas of the cottage for additional privacy.  While I took some photos the ones on the site here are pretty standard.

Here’s a view of the deck, which includes a heated hot tub, patio furniture and grill.   Beyond the trees a view of the lake and access to the lake can be made through the back down the hill.

Our lodge had a fireplace however we never used it but did make occasional use of the nearby TV.

As stated earlier, we rented a 25′ boat for the day at a rate of $319 and the fuel expenses were reasonable at about $20 for nearly the entire day of boating.   The marina also has jet skis and a variety of other toys for rental at half day or full day rates.    The marina does not rent fishing poles but it does sell a variety of fishing bait and tackle but be forewarned that the items sold there are fairly expensive.    The marina and lodging is not near any of the typical shops you’d expect to find items cheaply (i.e. Target, Wal-mart, etc).     As best as we could tell, the nearest grocery store is about 20 miles away although the marina does have basic food items if you’re in a pinch.

There are tons of other things to do in the area and you need only look at the website or use google to find almost any variety of outdoor activity.   The only major drawback and perhaps the greatest asset is the location.   Because it’s a fairly long drive from almost anywhere, even if flying in to a nearby city, the area is fairly isolated and relatively pristine.    The only thing that would have made our stay a little better would have been to catch a couple of fish from the lake!

Day 2 – Arkansas

| September 5, 2010 6:27 pm

Given the fact that we had a huge lake almost entirely to ourselves, we opted to rent a boat from the marina to take advantage of the possibilities.   The smallest boat they had available was a 25′ boat for $320 per day plus fuel expenses.     We headed to the docks and took off in our pontoon like boat out to the heart of Greeson lake.

The kids couldn’t wait to dive into the lake for a cool swim and seem to be enthralled with the idea of swimming to the variety of islands peppering this archipelago lake.  The kids modus operandi was fairly standard:  Dad parks boat about 20 to 30 feet from shore while kids jump out and swim to the island to explore.

Kids swim to shore

Kids explore island

Kids swim back to boat

Kids swim back out to other island.

The swimming back and forth quickly wore the kids out so we then switched to fishing.

Bart tries to catch some catfish….meow…or bass….

While we try to catch some fish, we decide to sit back relax and enjoy the view.    With miles and miles of lake everywhere the eye can see and hardly any other boats in the water, it becomes possible to turn the helm over to younger captains….

While we all sit back, relax and enjoy the scenic tour!

Around lunch time, we anchored the boat near our cottage and swam to shore to head up to our cottage to get something to eat.    After eating lunch, we headed back out to the lake and swam back aboard our boat to catch a few more hours of swimming & fishing before we ended the day back at the marina.

We headed back to our cottage for dinner and played a game of Life as we rested our weary legs and sun tanned bodies in the cool indoors!

We were totally wiped out by 8:30 p.m. in the evening and decided to start packing for our trip home the following day.   We’ve had a great experience here in Lake Greeson and we’ll likely return sometime in the near future.

Day 1 – Arkansas

| September 4, 2010 8:12 pm

We’ve opted to head for Arkansas this Labor Day weekend to do a little diamond prospecting!   Actually, Bart has been wanting to go diamond prospecting ever since he was a very young kid and we finally decided to take this opportunity to do it before he lost the sparkle for it.  We spent a few hours driving here and our cabin was warm, inviting and welcoming when we arrived late on Friday.    We spent the evening dissolving our sore muscles in the large hot tub.  We’ll have photos of the cabin later including a complete review but for now, we’ll share how our first full day went in Arkansas.

We started the morning with a hearty breakfast of eggs and biscuits while the kids gorged themselves on the usual cereal.   After breakfast, we headed over the diamond crater with dreams of striking it rich with a large 8 carat diamond. 

The next several hours were spent doing a fairly repetitive process as outlined in the photos below.   First, you find a site which looks promising by walking around until you get the vibe that there may be diamonds on that particular spot.

After finding the right spot, the next step is to dig, then dig some more and finally dig some more and fill your dirt into a bucket for further analysis.   After the dirt pile is transferred into the bucket, it gets put into a diamond screen where you shake it until the small clumps of dirt fall through and leave larger stones and rocks to review.

There are two types of diamond screening: wet and dry.   We started with dry screening but as you dig deeper, the soil becomes a bit more moist which results in the screen clogging.    After an hour of dry screening, it quickly became necessary to do wet screening…

As you can see by the photo, wet screening consists of pouring dirt into your screen, submerging the screen in a water trough and shaking out the soil leaving only larger stones to screen.  While this method is much faster than dry screening, the constant need to add water to the screen increases its weight and the work is much harder!

After spending a few hours dry screening and wet screening in the bright sunshine, it quickly became apparent that prospecting is a great deal of work. We left the crater empty handed except a few souvenirs and expenses for renting all that equipment!

After our day trip to the crater, we made a quick stop at a nearby shop for anything uniquely Arkansas made and the only items we could come up with were a local fudge dish while everything else in the shop was made in China.   After our quick stop we headed back to the cabin to cook lunch and relax by the nearby lake.

As you can tell by the photos, we had the lake all to ourselves. 

Seriously, we had the whole lake all to ourselves except for a few people on motor boats!

As the sun began to set and the beams of light bounced off the warm blue water and onto the leaves of the trees making them turn a firery orange, we decide to power up the grill and cook some dinner.

On the menu was seasoned chicken quarters and a nice smoked sausage.   We feasted on the patio overlooking the lake as the sun set down behind the trees.

After dinner, the kids tried to catch a couple of fish down by the lake but returned empty handed in short order.   The rest of the evening was spent laughing and talking of the crazy things kids and their parents talk about when soaking in a hot tub on a lazy Saturday evening.