Area Attractions and Maps
One of the most popular activities in this area is visiting historic downtown Pocahontas, one of the oldest towns in Arkansas. A seventeen block area of downtown Pocahontas is a National Historic Commercial District featuring primarily Victorian architecture dating back to 1873. This area offers unique shopping opportunities (several in the studios of local artists), exceptional regional cuisine, museums, music venues, a unique downtown woolen mill, Black River Overlook Park, antique and collectable stores, Statue of Princess Pocahontas, old train depot, a clogging and dance studio, the state’s oldest pharmacy and oldest barber shop, a veteran's memorial, and many other attractions.
Here are some other things to do in the Shady River area...
Birding and Wildlife - This area is where the Ozark Mountains meet the Delta of the Mississippi River. We’re also in the Mississippi bird migration flyway, in a section where the flyway narrows, giving us more birds per square mile than wider parts of the flyway.
This is a fabulous birding area where guests are likely to see significant numbers of varieties of bird and wildlife species. In addition to observing species inhabiting or passing through here at Shady River, spotting is excellent in the Arkansas Wildlife Management areas here in Randolph County—Dave Donaldson Black River WMA and Robert L. Hankins Mud Creek Upland WMA. Another excellent spot for observation is Buck Hollow Ranch, which offers wildlife photo safaris of elk, deer, wild turkey, and many other wildlife and bird species. Birding and wildlife observation is also excellent along any of Randolph County’s five navigable rivers (but we think Eleven Point is the best).
Crowley's Ridge Nature Center - Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center in Jonesboro offers visitors the chance to experience and explore a unique piece of North America and its wildlife. Inside the center, exhibits reveal the natural forces that formed the 200-mile-long ridge and native wildlife, ranging from large game animals to small insects. In addition to self-guided exhibits and trails, Forrest L. Wood Crowley’s Ridge Nature Center offers many activities and nature education programs. MAP (from Shady River)
Davidsonville Historic State Park - Site of the 1815 town of Davidsonville, which included Arkansas' first courthouse and land office. The town no longer exists, but there are yearly archaeological digs there. MAP (from Shady River)
The Irish Wilderness - Part of Mark Twain National Forest, the Irish Wilderness is a dense forest of oaks and hickory. The Wilderness is set aside by Congress as a natural area affected primarily by the forces of nature with little evidence of man’s works - “where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” Many outdoor enthusiasts seek out its peace and special closeness to experiencing the wonders of nature. No two individuals share the same meaning and values of the wilderness experience, but it is primitive and challenging, and recreationists must be self-reliant. The Wilderness hiking trails are great, but it's also a nice place just to drive through. If you're going to the Wilderness, a GPS unit is recommended! MAP (from Shady River)
Mammoth Spring State Park - Mammoth Spring is Arkansas's largest spring and the second largest spring in the Ozark Mountains. A National Natural Landmark, the spring flows nine million gallons of water hourly. MAP (from Shady River)
Grand Gulf State Park - Just 11 minutes from Mammoth Spring (above), this Missouri state park is often referred to as Missouri's "Little Grand Canyon." Grand Gulf State Park offers visitors a chance to view a variety of natural wonders. From a canyon to a cave to a natural bridge -- this state park has plenty to see and much to do. The 322-acre park presents the most spectacular collapsed cave system in the Ozarks. Part of the cave's roof forms one of the largest natural bridges in the state, spanning 200 feet with an opening 75 feet high and 50 feet wide. MAP (from Shady River)
Other Outdoor Activities: Boating, canoeing, kayaking*, fishing, and camping along the county’s five rivers. Some of Arkansas’s best duck hunting, the state’s #1 walleye stream (our Eleven Point River), deer and wild turkey hunting.
*Shady River provides a canoe, kayaks, and tubes, along with the necessary personal flotation and safety devices. Due to insurance regulations, all equipment, including the electric kart, is for use by Shady River registered guests only.
Small Fiber Farm - This small, unique woolen mill in the Pocahontas Downtown Shopping District offers tours of the mill as well as locally-produced woolen yarns from a variety of wool-producing animals grown locally, as well as finished woolen pieces for sale. Tours of their sheep ranch are also available. MAP (from Shady River)
Row Crops and Ranching - Randolph County grows rice, soybeans, milo, corn, and cotton in the fields of the flatlands in the eastern part of the county. The western uplands include cattle and sheep ranching as well as more unusual animals such as alpacas.
Pearcy Gallery - Displaying locally-created artwork. Open occasionally, or by appointment. On the town square in Pocahontas. MAP (from Shady River)
Randolph Music Theater - Regional and name bands perform live bluegrass, Southern gospel, and traditional country and western music, as well as a few modern country hits, performed in a historic old downtown building that was once Pocahontas' movie theater. MAP (from Shady River)
The Five Rivers Historic Preservation website keeps a listing of upcoming area festivals and events. Here are a few:
Randolph County was one of the first areas in Arkansas settled by U. S. citizens both before and after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. Numerous state firsts may be found here including the sites of Arkansas’s first courthouse, first U. S. Post Office, first school, first U. S. Land Office, first river ferry, first grist mill, first Baptist church, first Methodist circuit, first Masonic Lodge, first circus performance, first national road, first court, and several others.
The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum - In the nearby town of Piggott, the museum includes a barn-studio associated with writer Ernest Hemingway and the family home of his second wife, Piggott resident Pauline Pfeiffer. MAP (from Shady River)
Looney Tavern and Inn - Built in 1833 and recently restored (though not yet open to the public), this is Arkansas’s oldest known standing commercial structure. The old tavern is right on the Eleven Point River. Though it's not open to the public, you can see it from the river bank.
Maynard Pioneer Park and Museum - Housed in an over 100-year-old cabin; filled with antiques from the 1800s; also has many pictures, newspaper clippings and historical documents making it ideal for genealogy studies for people from that area. Also on the grounds is a park with three pavilions, barbeque pits, playground equipment and 4 RV hook-ups; and a log cabin that served as both church and school. Located in the charming nearby valley village of Maynard. MAP (from Shady River)
Pocahontas Historic District - The Secretary of the Interior has designated a 17-block area of downtown Pocahontas as a National Historic Commercial District. The district, centered on the restored 1873 Victorian Italianate Courthouse, features structures which are mostly over 100 years old, constructed in the Victorian style. The district also features exceptional regional cuisine, art galleries, antique stores, flea markets, and the oldest continuously operating drug store and the oldest continuous barber shop in Arkansas. Visit the Randolph county Tourism Association offices in the 1873 courthouse. MAP (from Shady River)
Ravenden Springs Community Museum - This outstanding museum in the small town of Ravenden Springs, a thriving and bustling spa town in the late 1800's and early 1900's, displays the history of the town and its healing springs. It's located in the old rock school building, a National Historic Register property. Visitors wanting to tour the museum should inquire at the Ravenden Springs post office. MAP (from Shady River)
St. Paul’s Grotto - This 1936 rock grotto and garden at the 1901 St. Paul’s Catholic Church is a representation of the miracle site at Lourdes, France. MAP (from Shady River)
Walnut Ridge Army Flying School Museum - There was a major World War II airfield near Pocahontas. This museum is a tribute to the airmen of WWII, the planes they flew and the military and civilian personnel who supported their mission. MAP (from Shady River)
Our county has beautiful vistas in its uplands and lowland areas, with wetlands, rolling hills, rivers, creeks, and lakes. Spring brings many thousands of flowering trees and plants. Our area offers excellent fall foliage.
For good steaks, try Don's Steakhouse, beside Walmart in Pocahontas. They also have good fried catfish, shrimp, and sandwiches. MAP (from Shady River)
The Amish-Mennonite Country Store in the nearby town of Dalton makes fresh sandwiches on homemade bread and they have natural foods. 7 miles (11 minutes) north of Shady River on HWY 93. MAP (from Shady River)
Sources for more Information...