We are a couple of middle-aged empty-nesters from SW Missouri. With three full-time college students and one struggling young adult to support, we don’t spend much on leisure, but I found a couple of great deals in the Fayetteville area and we decided to take a much-needed break. Here are the details, for anyone curious or bored enough to read:
Our little excursion began bright and early with a pre-retirement seminar at Branson High School. (This was a good beginning to our weekend as I found out I can retire at the ripe old age of 48.) After that information overload, we headed to Fayetteville by way of 65 and 412. This is a nice, easy drive; I think we just missed the best color in the trees by a few days. Lunch was an assortment of healthy items that I had packed for the road, but hubby augmented that with an order of onion rings. (If you make this drive from anywhere north of Branson, a great lunch choice would be the Dobyns Dining Room at the Keeter Center on the campus of College of the Ozarks. We were saving our money for dinner.)
Once we were just north of Fayetteville, we checked into our hotel, The Inn at the Mill. I had booked through Small Luxury Hotels and had received an outstanding rate of $69 a night. When checking in, I asked about the upgrade mentioned on SLH and the sweet clerk upgraded us to the McIntosh suite. This is a roomy, Asian-inspired room with a private deck and whirlpool tub. The day was perfectly gorgeous, so we threw our suitcase in the room and headed outside.
The grounds of the Inn are truly beautiful: a huge water-feature, Koi pond, and outstanding landscaping. We spent more than an hour just soaking it up and taking photos. We relaxed in our room for a bit, dressed up for the evening, and then headed to the lobby for our complimentary wine and cheese. We ate on the deck overlooking the pond—the afternoon was simply perfect.
Next, it was a short walk up the hill to the gorgeous James at the Mill restaurant. We were seated on the upper level overlooking the lower dining room and the grounds of the hotel. Service was very good; our meal started with complimentary caviar. Really. We each had an appetizer and an entrée and shared a dessert. The highlights of the meal were my onion-encrusted chicken breast and hubby’s filet, but the dessert (warm chocolate cake with toffee ice cream) was a home run. We saved 10% on the meal with a voucher we received from the hotel. Honestly, this meal was expensive, but it was one of those rare treats that was well worth it.
Next, it was a short drive into Fayetteville to the Walton Arts Center. We had tickets to the night’s 10 for $10 offering: a delightful jazz trio with a guest sax player. These were world-class musicians who played a two and a half hour show—incredible entertainment at any price.
After the show, we were exhausted and went right to sleep in our comfy, four-poster bed. Due to the time change, we enjoyed an extra hour of sleep before the sun woke us. The hotel serves a nice continental breakfast; we took the option of having it delivered to the room. We ate, drank coffee, and read the newspaper. Hubby was delighted to find a Formula One race on the television so we lingered in the room while he watched and I caught up with the news of the day using the hotel’s fast, complimentary wireless internet.
Once it was time to check out, we took our time driving home, stopping at War Eagle Mill. We enjoyed some bean soup and a sandwich and bought several food items in their store. After that, it was time to head home and watch the Chiefs lose—the only disappointment of the weekend.
This was a restful, delightful break and we plan to do the same in the spring.