On Wednesday of last week, we packed up our suitcases and headed back to the Lake of the Ozarks. This time we were combining two things, celebrating our anniversary and becoming a Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Member. We headed out around noon on Wednesday after packing up everything we would need for the next few days. Since we planned on many types of adventures, my packing was slightly on the heavy side. You never know what the weather would be like, plus what types of shoes to wear this time of year! We planned on hiking, going out to eat, meeting the chamber director, and a night out on the town. Can feel my pain when I was trying to figure out what in the world to pack and not pack? (Side note: always throw in a pair of shorts even if the weather has cooled off and it feels like Fall. We live in Missouri people, 80 degrees at the Lake in October is not unusual….. I did not pack a pair of shorts…. )
Since we left at lunchtime, we decided to stop in Saint James to eat at Missouri Pizza. They are now offering BBQ, so that means it’s on our list of places we both like since Curtis isn’t a big pizza fan. He thinks I am especially looney because the Hawaiian Queen is my favorite. I like pineapple on my pizza, what can I say?! Missouri Pizza’s BBQ lived up to its reputation, and we both were thrilled with our choices for lunch. I am glad it is close, and that we have another option for the question… What sounds good to eat?
Back in the car, we headed to the Lake by way of Vienna and Hwy 42. I love this drive. It is so peaceful and full of rolling hills. The leaves hadn’t quite started changing yet, but it still was a lovely drive. One of the things that I love to do is find the “perfect” place to stay. I spend way too much time looking at homes to rent and where they are located and what not…. this trip was no exception. Two must haves: be on the Lake and a fun area to stay. The place that I chose was actually in the State Park. To be truthful, I was starting to get a little desperate, but this condo popped up. The reviews were great but stated that the condo was a bit dated. I was slightly concerned, but I hit the reserve button anyway. Life is an adventure, right? You just got to roll with it sometimes! As long as it is super clean, I can stand a dated look. To say we were pleased was an understatement. Our condo was on the first floor, which meant we had a waterfront view plus walkout access. The view was amazing! I can not describe how quiet and peaceful it was. The fact that we were staying in the middle of the week and off-season helped, I am sure!
We unpacked our vehicle and unloaded the groceries… Anyone else stock up on snacks when you are on a trip? I mean, really?? Did we need 3 types of mini ice cream pints? Apparently, we did!! (Raising a hand, here) The first thing we did was sit out on the balcony and enjoyed the water and sunshine (this is where I quickly realized that it might have been 45 degrees that morning at home but it was now 80 degrees at the Lake… and warm). We enjoyed just relaxing and being in the moment, especially after all the work we had been doing for the last few months. Before it got dark, we decided to explore the property and quickly realized that the hills and incline were a lot steeper than we realized. Time to start adding in more cardio to our workouts. It was still worth it and it is worth repeating how quiet and peaceful it felt.
The next morning we had an appointment to officially meet the Chamber Membership director and to officially become a member. We left that morning ready and excited for new opportunities. First mistake: Curtis was driving, and I was the navigator. We all know that things work out much better if I am the one driving, and he tells me where to go. We ended up the wrong direction at one point and had to do a little backtracking, but we still made it on time! Thankfully no one got hurt, and no tears were shed.
The Chamber is located at Wilmore Lodge…. an impressive log building that was built in the 1930s …. The interior was elegant and rustic all at the same time, and the furniture was so ornate. The building houses the Chamber and the Tourism/Visitor Center as well as a museum that specializes in the history of Willmore Lodge, the Lake of the Ozarks area, and Bagnell Dam.
We really enjoyed our meeting and look forward to the opportunities that being a chamber member will bring. Danyell is the Membership Director. She was so helpful and knowledgable about the area and business as well. We will be having our ribbon cutting at the end of the month so that means we will be returning.
Before we left our meeting, we asked where was a good place for lunch. Both Danyell and Paige recommended JB Hooks (which is one of the places on my list), so we were looking forward to it. First though, we planned on taking a helicopter ride at Lake Ozark Helicopters. I mean, if you are planning to take a helicopter ride over the Lake you want to do if BEFORE eating lunch, right??
The flight was so fun! We did the Bagnell Dam Special tour and flew over the…. yep, you guessed it.. the dam… plus the golf course, the edge of the state park, and Millionaire Row. This was Curtis’ first helicopter flight, so it was extra special that we got to do this together and as our anniversary gift to each other.
After the flight, we headed to JB Hooks for lunch. It held up to its reputation! The atmosphere, the view, and the food were all on point. I recommend trying it if you are in the area. The next time we are there, we will go in the evening and enjoy the night time experience.
Wanting to get out and explore, meaning I wanted to go for a hike, we drove over to the State Park Marina and took a two-mile hike along the Lake. You couldn’t have asked for better weather! It was a cool afternoon, and the leaves were just starting to change. We only met a few people on the trail plus a small 4 point buck. It felt like we had the woods to ourselves!
Friday morning was check out day. We packed up and went for a drive. I had read on FunLake website about taking Hwy 54 to W to Versailles and then hitting Hwy 5 back to Camdenton. I had an ulterior motive because I had read that there was a local coffee shop that roasted their own coffee. If you read my previous blog, you know how I feel about local coffee shops. They are a must stop on our trips.
Again, we had perfect weather and the drive was gorgeous. We really just took our time and didn’t have a plan for the day (other than coffee). On a whim, we took a road toward Jacob’s Cave and stumbled upon a massive amount of people at a swap meet. We still haven’t figured that one out, but people were driving into the parking lot with ATVs and golf carts on their trailers. There had to have been hundreds of people there, and we couldn’t even see how many vendors. Quickly, we decided we didn’t care to stop, so we got back on Highway 5 and headed to Omega Coffee Company in Laurie, Missouri.
We quickly found out that the coffee shop was a popular place in town. But it was worth the stop! I ordered a dirty chai, of course, plus a couple of sample bags of different whole beans to try. I did grind them up when I got home, and they were excellent! I will be back… seems to be a theme, huh?!
By this time, Curtis was saying, find me somewhere to eat. So I hopped on google maps to see what was in the area. I wanted to stop and a local place on the water, if possible. We took a chance and stopped at Captain Ron’s. I had the BEST grouper sandwich. If you get a chance, go out for lunch or dinner there. It was fun watching the boats pull up to the dock to eat. That is now on our bucket list!
After driving all day and then finding out there was a boat race over the weekend, we nixed our evening plans and just decided to stay in. We quickly found out which side of the Lake we prefer and which side will be fun to hang out if we stay on site.
We really did enjoy our trip. Can’t wait to come back for the ribbon cutting and to get more involved in the area. Thank you for the warm welcome Danyell and Paige!