Iron Mountain Lodge and Marina – DeGray Lake, Arkansas

Posted on July 2nd, 2006 in Commentary by EngineerBoy

Iron Mountain Resort and Marina
134 Iron Mountain Marina Drive
Arkadelphia, Arkansas 71923

For reservations call:
(870) 246-4310 in state
(800) 243-3396 out of state

This is the second summer that we’ve vacationed at the Iron Mountain Resort on DeGray Lake just west of Arkadelphia, Arkansas. We discovered Iron Mountain last summer, when we had originally scheduled a vacation in Gulf Shores, Alabama, but Hurrican Dennis caused us to change our plans at the very last minute. We were driving from Houston to Indianapolis so needed something that was roughly on the way, and we knew we wanted to swim and spend time in the sun, so figured that a lake would work. Plus, other than the Gulf Coast (threatened Dennis) there isn’t really any other options for swimming between Houston and Indianapolis other than inland lakes/rivers.

So we furiously researched lakes located in the states between TX and IN, and we started with the overly optimistic goal of finding one in which we could snorkel. Searching for snorkeling in Arkansas is what lead us to DeGray Lake, based on an article about some club that snorkeled there to observe wildlife. Note: although we found DeGray Lake by searching on snorkeling, we found that it was too opaque and weedy to be any fun snorkel-wise, so we do not recommend it as a snorkeling destination, but we loved it anyway!

Once we started focusing on DeGray Lake we then started looking for accomodations. The only place with any availability was Iron Mountain, so although I’d love to say that our careful research discovered this gem, it was simply fate playing a hand.

So that’s how we found Iron Mountain last year, and we enjoyed it so much we went back this year, too. Both years we stayed in a two-bedroom, two-bath cabin, but calling it a “cabin” isn’t really accurate. One bedroom has a king size bed, the other has two full-size beds. Both bedrooms have private bathrooms/showers, as well as sliding glass doors that open to the back deck. The back deck is private and includes a hot tub and spans the length of the cabin. There’s also an open living room/dining area/full kitchen in the cabin, with pots, pans, dishes, silverware, refrigerator, dishwasher, etc, so you can stock up on food and cook for yourself if you want.

There’s also TVs with satellite channels in the master bedroom and living room, and the living room also has a DVD player and VCR. So all in all, not exactly “roughing it” as you might infer from calling it a “cabin”.

And as nice as the cabin is, our focus is the lake and boat. We rent a 29′, hard-topped pontoon boat when we’re there, which has an amazing amount of room, a stereo, and the hard top roof is load-bearing with a ladder, so you can climb up on it to sun yourself or to jump the 8′ or so down into the lake. That’s basically what we did. All day. Every day. Jump off the roof of the boat into the lake. And, damn, was that fun. The console also has a standard 12v cigarette lighter socket, which allowed us to plug in our radio adapter for our iPod and listen to our own tunes the whole time. Sweeet!

The Jumping Family!

Also, the folks that run the Iron Mountain lodge, and the folks that work there, are just about as nice as you could ask for. They remembered us from last year, and were always pleasant, helpful, friendly, and efficient. So, we love Iron Mountain and DeGray lake, and highly recommend it as a family destination. Many of the cabins are adjoining, with doors that can be opened, so it would be perfect for a family gathering, too, and we’re thinking about trying to arrange one. Also, they have conference facilities for business off-sites, as well. And, the biggest bonus of all, no cell/BlackBerry coverage, and no Internet connectivity, so while we’re there we are *completely* unplugged from work. And that makes for a *perfect* vacation!

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