"Queen Wilhelmena Drive"
My sister moved to Mena and my son and I went to visit her. She took us up a 13 mile drive of trees and views of the valley below! It was really relaxing and beautiful. Queen Wilhelmena Lodge is at the top of the mountain not far from the Arkansas/Oklahoma border. This windmill is really pretty and there is a small train ride and other interests there.
A quiet wilderness
We weren't able to spend long in western Arkansas, and always planned to return to the area to explore more. It is that kind of country: pretty, varied, comfortable even.
It is well away from modern America, and you got a feel for a very strong local pride in the peaceful valleys, the tough little towns and the vast stretches of forest in this area.
Mena doesn't want to sell itself or go all out to attract visitors. Visitors come, they go. Mena gets on with its honest business.
In December 2000, a fierce ice storm did a lot of damage to the forests in central and western Arkansas. Although four years is likley to have healed the many scars, the damage to the forests was obvious when we visited in March 2002. But the broken limbs of trees and the jagged fragments of shattered wood seemed to add to the unusual landscapes.
Wherever we went, even on well-marked trails and in parks, we were alone, unbothered by other human activity. The solitude is refreshing when you live in Houston (at the time)!