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The Ozark National Forest, Sylamore District encompasses more than 130,000 acres north of Mountain View, Arkansas. Whether you seek a romantic weekend for two or a family vacation with access to hiking, biking, fishing and exploring, the Sylamore District is full of beautiful scenery, great music and loads of activities. When you are ready to settle in for the night, Fireside Retreats are the perfect places to unplug and reconnect to what matters most.
Home is where the heart is. It’s a cliché, but it’s also a testament that stands the test of time.
You probably have a place where you feel connected and at home that isn’t the physical location of your house. For me, it’s Greers Ferry Lake, where every summer, we spend weeks camping along its banks. We don’t live there, but it sure does feel like home.
Emily Conley, founder and owner of Fireside Retreats, found that connection in Mountain View. From that connection, she built a weekend getaway which morphed into a side gig that became a business that doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon.
“It’s where my heart is at home. It’s a special place for me – a sanctuary for my family.”
Conley has three high school-aged children, which have her going in a thousand directions. She runs to keep healthy and keep up with her kids, and running is what first brought her to Mountain View.
Each February, the Sylamore 50K – 25K brings hundreds of runners to Alison, Arkansas, for an epic trail run through the Ozark National Forest. In 2013, Conley ran the race and fell in love with the forest, the town and the community surrounding Mountain View. She immediately began searching for a weekend getaway and purchased The Studio later that year.
A renovation project was next, and Conley found herself spending more and more time in Mountain View. The Studio became her personal hideaway. She eventually listed it as an Airbnb property to help offset the renovation cost and bring in a little income on the weekends she couldn’t make it to town.
Whenever she drove through Mountain View and the surrounding areas, Conley searched for another property to make her own. She purchased what would become the Meadow Cabin, the Cabin-ette and the Cottage at the Creek in pretty quick succession, and it just snowballed from there. Today, Fireside Retreats operates 16 rental units and will be adding a few more in the future.
As for Conley, she plans to slow down once her kids graduate, and then she will make one of the properties her full-time home. As she has built and renovated each property, she has done so with the idea that each property could be the one she ultimately chooses as her forever home.
Conley’s attention to detail is impeccable. Each property offers a getaway that may be remote but offers all the comforts of a home away from home. Conley’s guests are looking for a mountain getaway but don’t want to give up modern conveniences, and she comes through in a big way.
“My goal, in hospitality, is for other people to see the beauty I see [in the Ozark National Forest]. For people to want to protect a place, they have to love a place. I hope people come to see the same beauty that I do.”
The Skooli is one of Fireside Retreats’ most sought-after properties. The “glamping” experience of sleeping in a renovated school bus is perfect for those who love the outdoors but prefer to have some of the comforts of home.
Fireside Retreats offers two A-Frame-style homes and people are drawn to the unique architecture. Both the Hidden A Frame and the Back Porch are new construction, giving a modern feel to a rustic getaway. People want to get out and explore, but they want a place that feels new and like a luxury getaway.
The Crash Pad is a quirky hippie hideaway that people fall in love with. The two-story property has a large living area, kitchen and bedroom on the top floor. The downstairs is an ultra-cool hangout space with a fully renovated Volkswagen bus that sleeps two and a trundle bed. The Crash Pad is perfect for families who love the Skooli but require a bit more space.
The Hiker Hut is ideal for individuals or couples who really want to get away from it all. This completely-private property is nestled in the national forest and has direct access to the Syllamo Bike Trails with over 50 miles of hiking and biking trails. This is an absolute getaway! The Hiker Hut is remote and quiet, and guests are likely to spot turkey, deer, fox, and maybe even a bear or two.
The Nook on Main is designed for those who enjoy the hustle and bustle of town. It’s located right on the town square in Mountain View with direct access to shops, folk music, restaurants and more.
Jane’s Bend is a retreat for families and large groups. Situated right along the banks of Sylamore Creek, James Bend sleeps 10 in a breathtaking setting. If you visit in the summer, bring your swimsuit because the most magical swim hole is just a few steps from the back door.
Fireside Retreats are perfect places to fill your heart with love for the Arkansas Outdoors. You can view each of the properties in more detail on the Fireside Retreats website and reservation portal.
If you get to enjoy a weekend (or longer) getaway at one of Conley’s beautiful properties, be sure to check out all of the amazing activities in the area.
A Weekend in Mountain View
Mountain View Music
OK Trading Post
The Dulcimer Shoppe
Bean Fest and Outhouse Races
Sylamore Swinging Bridge
Sylamore Scenic Byway
Fishing on the White River
All photos courtesy of Fireside Retreats.
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