On this gorgeous day, I had the joy of showing property to a young family, in the southern part of Missouri. They primarily looked around the Cassville area, a small town tucked deeply within the Ozarks. It is beautiful country there, as the state of Missouri transitions into Arkansas.
Because of the distance involved, Greg accompanied me, driving the car and looking up the next house’s address to map it out while the buyers and I checked out properties. My clients are from Arkansas so we were all in slightly unfamiliar territory. That was part of the adventure though! And with our phones GPS systems, we managed to move from house to house. It was a fun afternoon, and I appreciated the cooperation of realtors in the area, who are in a different MLS region. My realtor key doesn’t work in Cassville and those helpful agents opened doors for us.
I finished with my clients and with a couple of hours of daylight left, Greg and I decided to drive without a set destination and enjoy the incredible beauty around us, seeing where we ended up. One of Cassville’s attractions is Roaring River State Park. The spring fed river snakes through the valley, with picnic and camping sites along the banks. There’s a trout hatchery here, and every spring trout are released into the river and fly fishermen gather to perfect their casting skills.
This time of year, the park is mostly empty, the campsites and store and lodge all closed. We enjoyed slowly driving along the winding roads and stopped near the river to walk and take pics. Peace flows through that valley, along with the river. I could feel it in the stillness. As I returned to the car, a ladybug flew in, seeking a place to hibernate. I saw ladybugs gathering in every house that I showed today. They require a warm place to cluster, dozens clumping together in a corner of the ceiling, where they go dormant for the winter. I gently picked up the ladybug and held my hand out the open window. She was content to sit on my finger until I encouraged her to go.
We drove into Arkansas, meandering through the hills and sharp turns of Eureka Springs. The trees are slightly past their autumn peak, but there was beauty in the yellow and brown leaves clinging to branches, and the occasional maple still brilliant with oranges and reds. We stopped at an overlook, just west of town, to gaze out over the valley below. Hills rose and fell away into the distance. The sun was setting and in the gathering shadows below, cows were mooing and a rooster crowed. It was very pastoral. I realized that the landscape before me was reminiscent of Scotland. No wonder I love the wooded hills of Arkansas so.
As we neared Rogers, AR, I wanted to treat Greg to dinner, grateful for his help today. In the spirit of adventure, we decided to eat at a new restaurant. Greg felt like Italian food. Using my phone I located Tony C’s Italian Garden & Ristorante. It sounded ideal and had a 4 star customer rating. Off we went.
Unknown paths can lead to exciting adventures on the journey , or interesting detours. We located the restaurant and being unfamiliar with its reputation, I was glad to see five or six cars in the parking lot. That’s a good sign. From that point on, the signs all pointed back toward the door. All of the occupants of the cars were gathered around the bar, having a rowdy time. We were the only customers seated in the dining section. One very intoxicated woman was telling stories to her drinking companions, in a very loud voice. She seemed oblivious to the sign posted near the bar that stated: No Profanity.
We debated whether we should just leave. But a nice woman had taken our order. We let the sense of adventure prevail and made the best of it. The noisy lady left. The food arrived. I ordered their #1 special. Who would have thought of pairing fried chicken with spaghetti? Tony did! And it was actually pretty tasty.
Back in the car, we had a good laugh about our experience. I think Tony’s is more of a bar favorite than a top restaurant. Although I won’t be dining there again, I’m not sorry we tried something new and trod down an unfamiliar path. That was the theme today…exploring new trails, while enjoying the beauty and the surprises found along the way. Detour literally means “a change in direction”. It was all part of the day’s journey. And I told Greg the dinner didn’t count…I’ll take him to an Italian restaurant another time, in Joplin.
AJ Darkholme wrote, “The most fulfilling adventures happen when you start your journey without knowing where you’re going, because only then are you free to experience the unexpected detours you’re meant to take.” We were meant to end up at Tony’s…because that is where we ended up. If nothing else, that adventure will be very memorable.