Winter is the perfect season to go on a treasure hunt looking for antiques and collectibles. And my first stop was Granny’s Porch Antiques and Collectibles in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.
Meet Carol, the collector, curator and owner of Granny’s Porch, Antiques and Collectibles in Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.
For twenty years Carol has greeted customers from behind the counter of Granny’s Porch.
With a background in art, she has an eye for what her customers collect. She personally selects each piece in her shop: antiques, glass, jewelry, pottery, porcelain, china, leather items, and more.
For several years I have collected Depression Glass. So the collections of glass caught my eye right away. I am just a few pieces from having an eight place setting. It has become difficult to find the last pieces of depression glass in my chosen pattern. But I found several patterns of depression glass at Granny’s Porch.
To make shopping easier for patrons, the shop’s collections are organized in groupings throughout the shop. There are figurines, pottery, leathers, aluminum, and western and Native American items.
It’s appropriate that Granny’s Porch is housed in a 100-year old building, which was originally an early day mercantile, or general store. Carol has made many improvements to the building. And she still has 5,000 feet of space on the second floor!
When visiting Granny’s Porch Antiques and Collectibles, plan to spend a little time looking through the many displays. You may just find a treasure of your own.
117 S. Lee
Fort Gibson, OK 74434
Granny’s Porch is also listed in the Oklahoma Antique Trail.
*Granny’s Porch is open a limited number of days per week at this time. Please check Carol’s website page on Facebook for days and hours of operation.
Shopping for gifts in Eureka Springs, Arkansas offers unique boutiques at every turn. And the historic buildings, the surrounding scenery of the Ozark Mountains, and the numerous art galleries, candy, toys, leather, tee-shirt, and hobby shops make the experience memorable.
One of my favorite shops, the Two Dumb Dames Fudge Factory, smells delicious inside.
Step into the Fudge Factory and treat your senses to the mouth watering smell of chocolate.
Their Turtle Cheesecake Fudge is my favorite, with layers of white chocolate, milk chocolate, caramel and filled with nuts. Smooth and rich, a pound of this layered fudge is cut into small squares and packaged in a small gift box for a cost $13.99.
Since 1980, the Two Dumb Dames Fudge Factory has turned out the most mouth watering fudge in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Started by a mother and daughter team, these not-so-dumb-dames eventually handed the fudge factory down to their children and grandchildren to continue the business.
Two Dumb Dames Fudge Factory
33 South Main Street
Eureka Springs, AR 72632
Original arts and prints, collectibles, graphic tee-shirts, toys and custom printing.
34 Spring St., Eureka Springs, AR 72632
I inherited an antique clock from my Grandmother. But the clock is badly in need of repair. So, I was thrilled when I found this shop!
Bleser’s Antique Clocks buys, sells, repairs and/or restores antique clocks.
Bleser’s Antique Clocks
Bruce and Jane Bleser
“Socks and underwear!” Every Christmas while growing up my brother would complain about getting “socks and underwear” wrapped and under the Christmas tree.
Always practical, my mom would take the opportunity to wrap a few necessary items and place them under the Christmas Tree.
So, naturally when I found this shop in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, I couldn’t resist choosing a pair of colorful socks for my brother this year!
For Bare Feet
35 Spring Street
Eureka Springs, AR
Gifts, sauces, salsas, rubs, and more. This shop is full of gift items for the chef in anyone. If you love spicy foods, you will love this shop.
Spicy jellies, candied jalapeno’s, tee-shirts, aprons, grilling sets and gag gifts galore.
And, complimentary spicy popcorn!
87 Spring Street
Eureka Springs, AR
Sonya’s Leather shop is stocked to the rafters with leather jackets, vests, bags, luggage, purses, gloves and all at reasonable prices.
Sonya’s Leather, Accessories & Gifts
65 S Main St.
Eureka Springs, AR 72632
In addition to sales, several hobby shops in Eureka Springs offer workshops to create items such as Crescent Moon Beads.
Hats Hides and Heirlooms has a large selection of hats for men and women. But their merchandise is a bit pricey.
The Secret Garden offers garden sculptures and decorative items for home and garden.
Even if you aren’t shopping for a special occasion, a visit to Eureka Springs, Arkansas is a unique experience in itself. Situated in the Ozark Mountains, this mountain town with its winding streets and scenic beauty is worth a trip.
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes! Just trying to stand upright on the sloping sidewalks uphill and down can be a challenge!
We all met at one of the lakes, each family driving or pulling a camp trailer, pickup and camper, or popup camping tent. Someone pulled a boat along for water skiing, fishing, setting out or checking jug lines, or trotlines for fish in the middle of the night.
So, it seemed natural that eighteen months ago when I found a lakefront home I liked, I made the move from the city to the lake. I’m well into collecting my lake attire: tee-shirts with sayings such as: Lake Hair Don’t Care, The Lake is Calling and I Must Go, and Yes, I Fish Too!
Living at the lake reminds me of those days at the lake with my family. But kids grow up and move away. My grandmother has long since passed away. Cousins have their own families now. It seems that the only reason to pull the family together these days is a funeral. My mother died in April of last year. And the family came together to attend her funeral.
Fall in Branson, Missouri means the biggest new fall event in
Silver Dollar City‘s 60-year history:
Harvest Festival, Craft Days & Pumpkin Nights
Pumpkins lined walkways and decorated street lamps. Pumpkin sculptures of cats, spiders, and owls stood between 6′ and 26′ tall around the park. Lighted pumpkins strung overhead crisscrossed the pathway to Pumpkin Plaza. Even Master Pumpkin Carver, Barry Brown, from Denver, Colorado, was on hand to demonstrate his craft. Hundreds of Brown’s custom-designed pumpkins that turned
More than 10,000 carved pumpkins decorated the 1880’s theme park. There were 2,500 custom carved pumpkins, 5,000 real pumpkins and “Funkin’ Pumpkins.” Pumpkins ranged in weight from 3 lbs., to 250 lbs.
Silver Dollar City located in Branson, Missouri, is an 1880’s style amusement park that opened in May 1960.
The park boasts more than 40 rides and attractions, and 100 resident craftsmen and women.
Earlier in 2019, Silver Dollar City was named one of the top 5 amusement parks in the country, according to USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards.
In addition, Outlaw Run, the park’s wooden roller coaster ranked in the Top 10 Best Roller Coaster poll from the media company.
As much fun as all of the pumpkins were, the highlights of the festival for me were the true creatives. Talented craftsmen and women demonstrated their skills; creating beautiful glass vases and figurines, functional and decorative pottery, intricately designed and stitched home decor, and so much more. And there’s a new Maker’s Market to showcase the works of these American artisans during the festival.
Pumpkin Whoopie Pies
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Pumpkin Cake Pops
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
Pumpkin Apple Fried Pie
Pumpkin Funnel Cakes
Pumpkin Ice Cream
Pumpkin Shaped Pretzels
Season Passes: Ages 12+ 115 Ages 4-11 $105 Ages 65+ $109
*Group and vacation rates available
**Check the Silver Dollar City website for Special Offers
Sometimes I stumble onto an amazing attraction on my way to another “amazing attraction,” such as in this case. Looking forward to shopping in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, I came across the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge and turned off Highway 23 when I saw a sign pointing the way to the refuge.
Inside the visitor center I joined a small group of tourists for a walking tour of the large animal compounds at the refuge. The chuffing of tigers, and the caroling of lions echoed through the Ozark Mountains. One tiger in particular followed us behind his fence as we filed across the front of his habitat. Every rescued animal has a story. Every story is heart wrenching. To see these magnificent animals and hear their stories of rescue and recovery is inspiring.
I have to say that walking the touring trail was a little challenging at times. But the only way to see the large cats in their habitats is by guided tour. (The trail was only 1/2 mile long.) Still, I’ll take the trolley next time. I will admit that the walking tour was worth the trek.
Guided walking tours leave the visitor center every hour from 10 am – 4 pm during the summer; and from 10 am – 3 pm in the winter. There’s also a guided trolley tour from 10:30 am – 3:30 pm during the summer months for an additional cost of $5. Biologist and / or zoologists lead the guided tours.
Private tours are available on Saturdays for a behind the scenes look at the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge for an additional cost of $100 – $150 per person. *These tours must be scheduled at least three days ahead of time.
Visitors can stay a day or a week at TCWR. RV/Tent spaces are available on site for $65. Or stay in one of their unique
Adults (19+) $20
Teens (13-18) $15
Kids (4-12) $10; Seniors (65+), and Military
Infants are free (0-3)
If you’re like me, and you love animals the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is worth a visit. If you’re in the Eureka Springs, Arkansas area stop in to see the amazing animals and the herculean efforts made by the staff to improve and maintain a high quality of life for these formerly abandoned and abused animals.
Historic and beautiful, the Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church rests on a sloping mountainside in the Ozark Mountains in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
Standing in the parking lot of the Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church, I can look down the tiered mountainside and see the entire church and grounds. Looking up and behind me I see the historic, famous and notoriously haunted Crescent Hotel looming over the valley.
At the edge of the parking lot stands the Bell Tower. A statue of St. Elizabeth of Hungary greets you as you enter the tower.
Highlighted in “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” this unique feature belongs to the only church where visitors must enter through the Bell Tower.
Pass through the bell tower and follow the 100′ path to the entrance of the Catholic Church. Native rock lines the path on both sides. Notice the 14 stations of the cross represented in sculptures carved from Italian marble. Flowering shrubs, small trees, and manicured flower beds add color to your walk to the front of the church.
Built by Richard Kerens, the St. Elizabeth Church pays tribute to his mother, Elizabeth. The Rotunda, with its crowning dome reminiscent of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, was built in 1904. Then, the Sanctuary was added to the back of the Rotunda in 1907. And finally, the detached Bell Tower was added to the church in 1910.
There’s a tradition held by the locals that if you make a wish and toss a coin onto the red roof of the church, and the coin stays on the roof your wish will come true. If not . . . better luck next time.
To visit the Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church is free and open to the public. Enter respectfully, slip onto a bench in the quiet sanctuary and say a quick prayer, remember loved ones, or contemplate your blessings.
Surrounded by nature, steeped in history and happily off the beaten path, War Eagle Mill rests in the scenic Ozark Mountains in northwest Arkansas
It's early morning at the War Eagle Mill near Rogers, in Benton County, Arkansas. By nature I'm not an early riser. But this morning I'd hoped to arrive a bit early to walk across the bridge, and along the river bank, to take a few photos of the natural scenic beauty. But fog settles overnight in the valleys of the Ozark Mountains. And the haze in War Eagle Valley adding a sense of bygone days.
There's been a mill on this site since 1832, when Sylvanus Blackburn ventured west from Hickman County, Tennessee into the valley near present-day Rogers, Arkansas. He built a home on the west side of today's War Eagle Creek, and a gristmill on the east bank of the creek, before sending for his bride, Catherine. Over time the couple had eight children.
Tragedy struck the mill in 1848 when heavy rains flooded the valley and washed the mill off its foundation carrying it downstream.
But the Blackburns rebuilt the mill.
War Eagle Mill would be destroyed two more times. In 1862, during the Civil War the mill was burned by confederate soldiers to keep it from falling into the hands of the Union Army. The mill burned again in 1924. Today the mill that you see was last rebuilt in 1973
War Eagle Mill is powered by an 18' foot cypress undershot water wheel. The force of the flowing water in War Eagle Creek turns the wheel when the water washes over the paddles at the bottom, which turns the mill's machinery. This causes the millstone to grind the grain into flour. War Eagle Mill is the last working gristmill in Arkansas. The mill is said to have the only working undershot water wheel in the nation.
Step inside the mill to find an abundance of organic foodstuffs including flours, meals, cereals, whole grain mixes, jams, jellies and preserves. There are bread mixes, soup starters and much more. Samples of jams, jellies and preserves are available for visitors to taste before buying.
Climb the stairs to the second floor gift shop to find all kinds of gift ideas. Browse the kitchen gadgets, pottery, candles, jewelry, and t-shirts. Among the most interesting items I found were the knives, hammered and shaped from railroad spikes.
If you arrive early for the cafe, you can sit down for a game of checkers. There's a checkerboard for visitors standing against the wall.
*War Eagle Mill and Gift Shop are open daily from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.
The signature dish at the Bean Palace Cafe is beans and cornbread: pinto beans with ham hocks, and hot buttered homemade cornbread. Beans and cornbread served with sweet tea in a mason jar. Add warm cobbler topped with ice-cream for dessert. That's my idea of a southern meal.
*The Bean Palace Cafe is open 7-days a week. Lunch is served daily from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm. The cafe serves breakfast on Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 am to 10:30 am.
War Eagle Bridge
Adjoining the mill, a one-lane steel bridge crosses over War Eagle Creek. Built in 1907, the historic bridge was built by the Illinois Steel Bridge Company of Jacksonville, Illinois. This is the only Parker Truss bridge in northwest Arkansas. On November 19, 1985 the War Eagle Bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
War Eagle Creek meanders through the scenic War Eagle Valley, past War Eagle Mill on the east side of the creek and under the historic War Eagle Bridge in Northwest Arkansas.
It's early morning in War Eagle Valley. The fog that settles in the valley overnight in the Ozarks hasn't yet lifted. Yet, already people are standing on the banks of War Eagle Creek and under the bridge fishing.
For fun, the mill is sponsoring a Fishing Derby over the weekend. Winning categories may include ugliest fish, largest or smallest fish.
But serious anglers fish the creek for catfish, perch, bass, and stream-running walleye.
Every year the mill hosts the enormous War Eagle Crafts Fair. This year the fair was held from Thursday, October 17th to Sunday, Oct. 20th, 2019.
If you love arts and crafts the War Eagle Crafts Fair is great. The fair is actually made up of three venues: the Sharp's Fair sets up in the field adjacent to the mill, War Eagle Vendors set up booths in the mill parking lot, and the War Eagle Fair is held on the west side of War Eagle Creek.
Crafts Fair Parking
Come early to get a parking space close to the fair. Parking is in a huge pasture on the west side of War Eagle Creek. Thousands visit the War Eagle Crafts Fair every year since it originated 65 years ago. Items to look for at the fair include:
The War Eagle Crafts Fair takes place in the fall, which is beautiful in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. Crimson reds, burnt orange, and golden yellow paint the landscape.
But then, any time is a good time to visit War Eagle Mill.
Directions: *War Eagle Mill: The website lists turn by turn directions to the Mill.
Belle Starr was nibbling on a piece of cornbread as she left the home of friends to return to her home at Younger’s Bend in February of 1889. Just as she guided her horse onto the river road, a shotgun blast to her back catapulted her out of her saddle and onto the road. She tried to push herself up from the road, but a second blast to her shoulder and face ended her life. Her murderer was never brought to justice.
Belle Starr, born Myra Maybelle Shirley, was born on a farm near Carthage, Missouri on February 5, 1848. One of six children born to John and Elizabeth Shirley, Belle was the only girl. The Shirleys were a wealthy family. And their home was also a hideout for outlaws.
Belle attended the Carthage Female Academy where she learned to be a proper lady according to the rules of etiquette at that time. She studied the classics, and learned to play the piano, a skill which she enjoyed throughout her life. Belle’s older brother, John Allison, nicknamed Bud, taught her to ride a horse and shoot both pistol and rifle. And Belle was a crack shot. She won many awards for her marksmanship.
Before setting out to find Belle Starr’s grave, I visited the Three Rivers Museum in Muskogee, Oklahoma, to learn a little more about the Outlaw Queen of the Old West. There, in a glass showcase I found photos of Belle, a pistol, a rifle and a side saddle that had belonged to Belle Starr. In addition, two chunks of stone are all that’s left of the original headstone marking Belle Starr’s grave. It seems that souvenir hunters took chips of the previous stones as a piece of history to keep.
The photos in the case from left to right: Belle’s grave is shown to be about 20-feet from the front door of her three-room cabin at Younger’s Bend. The house was demolished in 1933.
Belle, always fashionable, is shown in her black velvet riding jacket, a hat sporting a large plume, and draped with cartridge belts. She is holding a pistol, and posing for the photo. Also in the center of the table is a photo of the headstone marking Belle Starr’s grave. Belle Starr was buried about 20′ from the front porch of her cabin.
And finally, Belle is shown sitting side saddle, which is how she often rode her favorite mare, Venus.
Then I was ready to find the legendary Belle Starr’s grave hidden away somewhere on a wooded hillside near Younger’s Bend on the Canadian River and close to present day Eufaula, Oklahoma.
Younger’s Bend is approximately 1.1 miles east of the Lake Eufaula dam driving from the dam on HWY 71. You will want to watch carefully for the short road to Younger’s Bend. It can be difficult to see from the highway.
*Also, be aware that Belle Starr’s grave is on private property.
Carved in the face of the headstone are three symbols related to Belle Starr: a star, a bell, and Belle’s favorite mare, Venus. The current headstone is about the fourth one placed on Belle’s grave. Visitors chipped away the first three stones taking the chips away to keep as
souvenirs of the Bandit Queen. Coins litter the base of the headstone, empty gun shells scatter the ground in front of the grave, and flowers placed at the base of the headstone are all left by recent visitors. I have to admit that I left a few coins myself.
Born at Carthage, Missouri
Feb. 5, 1848.
Died Feb. 3, 1889.
Shed Not for me the bitter tear,
Nor give the heart to vain regret;
Tis but the casket that lies here,
The gem that filled it sparkles yet.
Written by Belle Starr’s daughter, Pearl Reed
Belle Starr was buried in a homemade pine board casket, dressed in her black velvet riding jacket, jewelry, and holding her pearl-handled Colt 45. Sometime later the grave was robbed, the pistol and Belle’s jewelry were taken. When she learned of her mother’s disturbed grave, Belle’s daughter, Pearl hired a stonemason to build the stone enclosure around the grave.
Belle Starr married more than once, but is believed to have taken many lovers over her lifetime. On November 1, 1866, Belle married Jim Reed. The couple had two children, Rosie Lee Reed (called Pearl) born in 1868; and James Reed born in 1871. When Jim was killed in 1875, Belle married Sam Starr, who was killed in 1886.
It was only after her death that the legend of Belle Starr was created in newspapers, magazines and popular dime novels.
Belle Starr took many secrets to her grave. She lived, died and was buried on a quiet wooded hillside near Younger’s Bend on the Canadian River in the Cookson Hills of Oklahoma.
Belle Starr and Her Times: The Literature, the Facts, and the Legends. By Glenn Shirley
Belle Starr: The Bandit Queen. By Burton Roscoe. Introduction by Glenda Riley