Norfork Lake Ozark Mountain Lodge is located in the town of Gamaliel, which is on the northern end of the state of Arkansas. There are eight cabins and 17 RV sites, for a total of 24 living arrangements that guests can choose from at the lodge. The property is open year-round, and the owner reports that the best season of operation tends to be during the summer months. The cabins are located in close approximation to the large lake known as Norfork Lake, which is a locally popular place for visitors to go boating and fishing. In the middle of all of the cabins is a pavilion where guests can watch movies, make hotdogs, and roast marshmallows, among other activities.
Norfork Lake Ozark Mountain Lodge has eight cottages in total, four of which are called chalets, which are like smaller cabins; two are one-bedroom apartments, and two are two-bedroom apartments. The most significant difference between the apartments and the chalets is that the chalets are smaller than the one-bedroom apartments and the one-bedroom apartments are smaller than the two-bedroom apartments. Regardless of which cabin a guest decides to stay in, they each come with dishes, a grill, pots, pans, and silverware. The owner, whose name is Betty, describes the living arrangements as being "set up so that guests don't have to bring many extra things to stay comfortably."
The other most notable difference between the chalets and the apartments besides room size is that the apartment cabins have much larger bathrooms. Inside the bathroom is a jacuzzi tub, as well as the standard amenities found in the other cabins. The RV sites are all the same, and they come with water, sewage, and electrical hookups.
All of the cabins have similar items compared to each other, but each living space has its own style and theme. The names of the cabins reference how they are decorated and what themes they are trying to replicate. The chalets are called Elk Crossing, which is elk-themed, Deer Run, a deer-themed cabin, Fisherman's Landing, which has decorations that match the sport, and Honeymoon Cottage, which has many white decorations and provides a more intimate setting. Honeymoon Cottage is located a little bit more separate from the other cabins. The one-bedroom apartments names are Water Buffalo, which is related to the animal, and Wild Horses, which has a number of horse decorations. Finally, the two-bedroom apartments are called Bear Den, which has bear themes, and Little John, which doesn't really have a specific style.
With Norfork Lake Ozark Mountain Lodge being about 80 acres in size, there are a variety of things that can be done on the property. One place that tends to be a popular location for guests to gather and hang out is the pavilion. The pavilion is found in the middle of the cabins and has a number of tables and chairs for guests to use. The owner's son will sometimes set up a screen and play movies for their visitors. A microwave can be found there, as well as a small hotdog maker, popcorn popper, and a cookie oven for people that want to make some food. A fire pit is located in the center, where guests can roast marshmallows, hotdogs, and more. At night, the pavilion can be set up to display a large number of small, laser-like lights that, in the owner's words, "makes it look like there are thousands of colored fireflies."
A zip line runs through the property that visitors can use during the day. Behind the cabins, a small creek runs through the land that has a little waterfall. The property borders Norfork Lake, but due to the density of the trees in the area, it can't be seen from the cabins, though it is roughly a short distance away. Hiking trails are located on and around the property, which allows for things like dirt biking and horseback riding. There are many unique plants that grow in the vicinity and near the trails. One thing that makes Norfork Lake Ozark Mountain Lodge unique is the location. The trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding have been a popular activity amongst previous visitors. Boating at Norfork Lake is another favored pastime that guests have done previously.
Betty, the owner, likes to recommend several restaurants to the people that come to Norfork Lake Ozark Mountain Lodge. Among these recommendations, she likes to tell people about an eatery that is called Whispering Woods, which is located on the other end of Norfork Lake, about a half-hour drive south from the property. Another restaurant she recommends to her guests is called Fred's Fish House, which specializes in serving fish-related dishes, some of which are caught locally from the lake.
The owner also mentions that there are a wide variety of places to go in the area that may pique her visitors' interest. Many people visiting the vicinity often take time to visit Norfork Lake and go boating, swimming, and more. Due to the geography of the town, there are a vast amount of caves in the area that guests can explore and take pictures in as well. Antique shops are common throughout the nearby towns. Another place that she likes to tell her patrons about, especially people who like to fish and see the local wildlife, is the Norfork National Fish Hatchery. At the fish hatchery, guests can see what kind of fish are in the lake and explore its shoreline.
Betty, who is the most recent owner of the Norfork Lake Ozark Mountain Lodge, explains that the goal of the property is to create an atmosphere that is welcoming. She wants her guests to feel like they are at home and give them a chance to relax and get away from their busy lives. Due to all of the wildlife and easy access to the outdoors, it tends to be a relatively effective getaway from life in the city. To help further accomplish this, she does several things to help people have a smoother check-in and unique stay at Norfork Lake Ozark Mountain Lodge. She enjoys interacting with those who are staying at the lodges and telling them about the area. Betty feeds the deer, so oftentimes, guests may see them roaming and grazing in the area. The owner reports that they see many different kinds of wildlife and animals. The area is also known for having a unique type of squirrel known as the black squirrel which have very dark fur compared to the most commonly seen squirrels.
Another unique feature of the establishment is the pavilion. The pavilion tends to be a popular hangout spot for many of the guests. They usually have a variety of things for guests to do there, like watching movies and making some food. Typically, she and her son may offer to help guests organize some of the activities at the pavilion and then let them do their own thing once they have everything set up.
There are several policies that are in place at Norfork Lake Ozark Mountain Lodge that the owner would like people to be aware of and abide by while they are staying at the lodge. One policy is that smoking is not allowed inside any of the cabins, though guests are able to smoke outside if they would like. Pets are allowed at the property, as Betty explains, "because everybody wants to bring their pet."
Norfork Lake Ozark Mountain Lodge has received a number of reviews from past visitors. Many of these reviews mention the cleanliness of the property. One person who stayed at the lodge in the past wrote, "Very clean and nice home base when exploring the area." Another thing that is noted among the reviews is the friendliness of the staff and the number of activities that are available. Another review of the property states, "The owners are great people, and you can really tell they want you to enjoy their property. The cabin was very clean and decorated nicely. It had everything we needed to cook with and all updated appliances. They had a bonfire and laser lights for New year's Eve."
The current owner, Betty, has owned Norfork Lake Ozark Mountain Lodge since the end of December 2016. While the lodge has been around for only a few years, the property has been around since it was first built in 1973. Ever since it was first erected, it has been a place for visitors to find lodging, though it got the name Norfork Lake Ozark Mountain Lodge at a later date.
Betty explains that she and her husband were led into the industry when the previous owner of the lodge put it up for sale. The previous owner was a young man that lived there with his family. They decided they wanted to live elsewhere, so he decided to sell it so they could move away. That is when Betty and her husband found it on sale and made the decision to purchase Norfork Lake Ozark Mountain Lodge. Betty states that one of her favorite things about the job is "being able to meet the people that stay at the property." There are many returning guests that she can look forward to and she enjoys meeting the people who haven't stayed at the property, hoping that they will leave with a good experience.
Ever since she took ownership of the property, Betty has made several changes to try to improve Norfork Lake Ozark Mountain Lodge and make it a better experience for people that visit. One thing that was added while she was in the ownership of the lodge was the zipline. There have been upgrades to some of the flooring as well that are continually being refurbished. Much of the wood has been replaced to ensure it is of higher quality. There are plans in the future to add another small cabin that will be a single bedroom with two lofts, specifically designed for children. According to her plans, it will be much smaller than the other chalets and cabins, but it will add another lodging option for small families that would like to stay at Norfork Lake Ozark Mountain Lodge.