The Great Escape

June-July 2017
Story by: Kayla Branstetter

The Great Escape

What is the thrall of a vacation or a romantic get-away? I have experienced a long line of trips that opened my eyes to not only culture, food, people, and sights, but exhaustion, indecisiveness, and frustrations. When my husband and I return home from a trip, I feel I need a vacation from my vacation.

Finally, I know the perfect place for vacation and relaxation for couples and families alike, and this place is local. Imagine erasing long security lines, flight delays, traffic jams, long lines, waiting lists, and decisions; instead, imagine being surrounded by the tranquility of nature, lake, comfort, and better yet, no hassle or hidden costs. After a visit to this magical place, I think back over my past trips, they suddenly seem preposterously stressed, as if for all these years, my family and I vacationed wrong.

So, what changed my mind about my previous trips? The resort, Stonewater Cove, located outside of Shell Knob, Missouri. After one visit, I realized what I missed from my past trips, true relaxation and solitude.

As I drove to Stonewater Cove, I endured slow drivers and construction work that resulted in one-lane traffic—in other words, I surrendered to the feelings of frustration, annoyance, and aggravation. However, the moment I turned onto Stallion Bluff Road, a new feeling crept into my emotions—peace as I discovered an old friend, nature. With the turn of each corner, the stress of society disappeared into a memory as the trees wrapped their limbs around me and the mountains smiled as if to welcome me back from civilization.

When I arrived and exited my vehicle, I listened to the trickling of water and noticed nature encircling my husband and me. I turned to my husband and whispered, “This place is gorgeous. I already feel relaxed.” We opened the wooden-carved doors to the lodge, where Adam greeted us with a warm and welcoming smile. As he gave us a tour of the grounds and introduced us to the staff, I began to feel like family for the staff mirrored Adam’s hospitality.

After our tour, my husband and I strolled through the resort’s grounds, admiring the beauty, the seclusion, and tranquility before returning to the lodge for dinner. All meals are served in the main lodge, with the main show centered on witnessing the sunset over Table Rock Lake.

Chef Singyn Hunter enhances one’s experience at Stonewater Cove, for everything he creates is made from scratch and beautifully placed on display for guests. His international experience brings culture, flavor, and a uniqueness to every plate. His culinary skills matches those of the most skilled chefs around the world, without the top chef price, for three meals per day are included with the resort’s nightly rate, and I promise, no guest ever goes hungry with Singyn Hunter’s cooking.

At the conclusion of dinner, and in the sweet silence of the sun set, my husband and I sat on a rocking chair, watching the sun’s final good-bye as it slowly faded into the lake, with the light blue sky vanishing into the pink reflecting off the tranquility of the water, to form a perfect silhouette of the Ozark Mountains. Soon the sun disappeared and the stars awaken.  For the first time in a long time, we found pleasure in simply observing one of nature’s most perfect gift, the sunset. During this moment, I agreed with writer and poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, “In the woods, we return to reason and faith.”

The journey to this place began in 2000, when the Bond family purchased the land, with the hopes of one day opening a resort. After the purchase, they spent from 2000 until 2004 building roads and preparing the area for construction—with official construction beginning in 2004. This endeavor was a family decision for the Bond family always enjoyed visiting Table Rock Lake and desired to design the perfect vacation. They pulled from their own various experiences to create a rugged, luxurious getaway for couples, families, friends, weddings, or anyone  interested in a flexible schedule complete with activities for everyone—spa services, ATVs, zip-lining, hiking, sunset cruises, pool, miniature golf, canoeing and kayaking, mountain biking, fishing trips, seasonal horseback riding, and more. With the beauty of nature coupled with the activities and friendly staff, the area forces one to disconnect from phones and create memories.

Words and pictures will never truly capture the heart and ambience of the resort for the Bond family placed much care, love, and personality into their resort, and they continue to place much care, love, and personality into their resort. Overall, this resort is not a corporation looking for numbers, but a family and staff who truly go above and beyond to make one’s experience as relaxing and hassle-free as possible. In other words, they strive to spoil their guests.

I love to travel to create new memories, meet new people, and experience a new culture, but I have never experienced anything like Stonewater Cove, and as a local, I am proud to discover such a special place exist within our hills and hollows of the region.

Read the full article: “The Great Escape” (Hills and Hollows Magazine)