One of the greatest perks of being a woman is a girlfriend getaway. My dear friend, Annette, of Memphis, and I needed some time together, so we planned a trip to Hardy, Arkansas, roughly halfway between us.
Hardy is an adorable town with the cutest little buildings housing all sorts of shops, eateries, and businesses. It sits on the Spring River, a great tourist destination for fishing and floating, and that interested us.
Annette and I met in Hardy at 3 Rivers Outfitters, climbed into a hot, dirty van with a bunch of strangers and no air conditioning, and began our adventure on a long, bumpy dirt road. Every time the van made a sharp turn, we all got a face full of dust (all part of the charm of an outdoor adventure, right?). When we finally got to the drop-off point we were happy to get right into the river for a full-body dip in that cold spring-fed water!
The river was low due to a lack of rain, so we had to carry the heavy canoe once or twice, but the scenery was beautiful, the water divine, and of course, the company was the best! Along the way, we pulled our canoe onto a gravel bar for a picnic of delicious sandwiches I had picked up at Words & Afterwords, a wonderful little coffee shop/eatery that is not to be missed. The stop gave us a good opportunity for a refreshing swim in a nice deep pool, and a chance to take pictures of each other in our matching (though totally unplanned) ensembles!
Two hours downstream, we came upon a three-foot drop in the river. We watched a couple of other canoes head over, but it was hard to determine their outcome on the other side. The gathering of onlookers should have been a big clue that the drop might be a little challenging, but being the go-getters we are, we decided to go for it! We thought we had the right spot and the right angle figured out, but we didn’t realize the weight of our coolers and bags should have been in the back of the canoe.
The front of the canoe went under, with me in it, and we took on a lot of water. Just when we thought we might still make it, an undertow twisted us right over! Tump! Coolers, bags, paddles, Annette and I, all floated along separated from our canoe. Our purchase at 3 Rivers of a watertight bag for our iphones, car keys, cash, and credit cards was an excellent decision! With the help of some of the onlookers, we managed to right our canoe, empty out the water, and get ourselves going again. On the bright side, we were quite refreshed!
After much-needed showers at our B&B, we had a little time before dinner to drive downtown and check out the stores. What we really had in mind were delicious, alcoholic, frozen concoctions to cool our overheated bodies. If you plan to partake in libations on a trip, always check ahead. Hardy is in a dry county. This would have been very good information to have before we got there. Our dinner destination, Biggers Bluff Steakhouse, is a private club and serves alcohol, so we enjoyed drinks with a delicious meal and dessert—a mudslide made of ice cream, Kahlua, chocolate syrup and whipped cream.
As is customary for us, Annette and I finished the evening playing Scrabble, which Annette brought, and watching Bridesmaids, which I brought. I know, a little dull, but we’re middle-aged with families, and getting to do these simple things, uninterrupted, while sipping a glass of wine (we both brought) is priceless.
The next day we chose sit-on-top kayaks with another river outfitter, The Riverside Resort. They put us in much further north on the river where the water was faster and colder. We liked the kayaks so much better. They were much more maneuverable and sit higher on the water, which is better when the water is low. No tumping or fording on this ride! We did get more pictures of the two of us in our goofy hats, though! By the way, it was in the mid 90s with full sun both days, so we used SPF 50 sunscreen and did not get sunburned!
After spending the rest of the afternoon shopping and then enjoying a great meal at The Pig & Whistle, we returned to the B&B with time for a swim in the pool as the sun was setting and, simultaneously, a full moon was rising, so the view in both directions was spectacular. With darkness engulfing us, we climbed the stairs to our room for more Scrabble. I think we could be stuck in a cardboard box and manage to have fun together, but this weekend in Hardy was an especially good getaway.
A great source of local information for Hardy, AR is discoverhardy.com.
M! FM 2013