Off the Beaten Path

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The unique structure of the institute make it a wonderful destination as well as a place to learn. The college has its own inn, restaurant, gristmill, farmer's market, museums and other places of interest you can enjoy touring. The 1,000 acre campus overlooks Lake Taneycomo at Point Lookout, Missouri. Most of the attractions are free of charge and all are staffed and operated with student labor.  

Accommodations at Keeter Center
The Keeter Center is an impressive lodge style inn for visitors. There is a huge fireplace in the lobby with a tree made from Jupiter wood besides it. The lobby soars three stories high and is supported by thick logs brought in from Montana. They were all already down so none were cut to build the Keeter Center.

The building was constructed to replace the original State of Maine Hunting and Fishing Camp that once housed the school. That building burned in 1930.

In 2004, this magnificent new building arose. Two hundred and fifty students worked on the project doing about 70% of the work.

Keeter Center Lobby
Right near the front you can browse the gift shop that specializes in college made products like milled grains, fruitcake, pottery and other items made on campus by the students.

I took the opportunity to speak to one of the student staff, Kitty, who was tending the cash register in the gift shop. She is a nursing student and is working over spring break. She informed me, "I work just forty hours for two weeks and it covers all my room and board next semester."

Tucked away  in one corner of the lobby is Nettie Marie's Homemade Ice Cream Shop. It's totally a campus project beginning with students milking the 60 or so Holstein, Guernsey, and Jersey cows at the W. Alton Jones Campus Dairy.  The milk is then pasteurized, bottled, and delivered it to the ice cream parlor, where those working students turn it into ice cream. I enjoyed a delicious chocolate cone.

Meeting Chef Robert at Dobyn's Dining Room
We then took a tour of the lodge with Lin, a sophomore public relations major with a minor in music. He took us to see one of the 15 rooms and suites.

The one we visited was spacious and well appointed. Lin told us it was very  popular with brides having their wedding here. We visited their conference center and viewed an impressive array of celebrities who have spoken here for their Community Convocation Series including, Lady Margaret Thatcher, Colen Powell, President Gerald Ford, and others of that caliber.

The 275-seat Dobyn's Dining Room and student dining room gets much of their food from the campus garden, diary, bakery, mill and hog farm. The Sunday brunch in a huge event with three different seating to accommodate all the reservations.

Beverly Hillbillies car at museum
The  school garden provided 8500 pounds of vegetables for the campus dining facilities this year is expected to double that next year. University of the Ozarks offer a four year accredited culinary program headed by Chef Robert Stricklin who is also executive chef for the dining room. After we were all well stuffed we headed over to tour the museum.

Ralph Foster Museum has been called the "Smithsonian of the Ozarks." It preserves the heritage of the area.

My favorite item was the 1921 Model 46 Roadster Beverly Hillbillies truck. It has a place of honor in the museum reminding people of the visit by the cast and crew of the classic comedy. It was donated to the museum by series creator/producer, Paul Henning, who hailed from Missouri and drew the original inspiration for the show from a Boy Scout camping trip he took to the Ozarks. For a few bucks, you can have your picture taken behind the wheel with the picture of the cast behind you as one of our group did.


Weaving loom at the mill
I was surprised to learn that Rose O'Neill , the creator of the Kewpie doll, had a very dark side to her.  Her doll collection is impressive: lots of dolls besides the Kewpie Doll.

The museum is eclectic and has something for everyone from gun collections to butterflies.


The Star Schoolhouse is an vintage one room school located right next to the museum. It was built in 1910 and later move here to preserve it.  Stop in and see the schoolmarm costume and those old McGuffey's Readers

Gaetz Tractor Museum is another museum on campus which takes you back in time. It is filled with tractors and farm equipment from earlier eras. We viewed it on our way to see one of my favorite attractions on the campus, the mill.

Edwards Mill

Edwards Mill built in 1973, was constructed using timber salvaged from former Missouri mills which give it a authentic look. When you set into this working grist mill powered by a 12-foot water wheel, you feel like you stepped into the past'

Michael showed us how to ground some yellow corn meal. He put it into the hopper and ran it through the grinding wheels. Tyler bagged as it emerged. They are students who grind the corn and wheat into whole-grain meal and flour. I had to buy a package of freshly ground grits. Love the stuff. It tastes much better than the store bought kind. Interesting the job choices that students make often have nothing to do with their curriculum choices. Tyler was a criminal justice major with a minor in music.

Michael explans the workings of the mill
We also toured the mill's weaving studio, where students design and weave rugs, and other items on traditional looms. We watched some students  creating hand woven baskets. The basement provided us with an exhibit of antique milling equipment. These young people are learning something they would never find at a traditional college.


Farmers Market was our next stop. This is the newest project at the College of the Ozarks. It was opened in summer of  2013 and is doing well.

Aside from the beautiful produce, there was fresh meat from the farm, potting plants and flowers. fruit cakes and jellies, milk from the colleges' dairy barn and a cooking exhibit done by student chef Joy Hunt who has a double major, Culinary Arts and Hotel Restaurant Management with a minor in Business Administration.  The young lady should go far. She created a Cider Braised Cabbage with Kielbasa Sausage that we all got to sample. The cabbage came for the college garden and the pork from the college hog farm.

Farmer's Market at University of the Ozarks
College of the Ozark Greenhouses t
hat house the orchid collection are right next to the mill. McDade Orchid Collection.

When alumnus Clint McDade donated his collection to the college in 1972, the school build three greenhouses to tend them. The collection has grown to over 7,000 plants tended by students workers. You can visit and even buy an orchid plant there..


Fruitcake and Jelly Kitchen is a great place to stop buy and purchase a fruitcake for yourself or as a present. If you don't like fruitcakes, this kitchen will convert you to a fruitcake lover.
Greenhouses at University of the Ozarks

Williams Memorial Chapel is the heart of the campus. It was built by student labor out of local limestone and dedicated in May of 1958. If you are on campus at noon or 6pm, you will hear the bells ring out.

We had to take a quick drive by Lookout Point from which the town got its name. What a view! What memories I took with me as I left this special school. I will be back and hope you will too.



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