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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Missouri Outdoor Writers Conference at Bennett Spring State Park

I spent the weekend at the Missouri Outdoor Communicators’ annual conference at Bennett Spring State Park. With close-to-perfect weather, a nature lover’s paradise and a group of fascinating writers, the event charmed and inspired me.

Bennett Spring State Park is a perfect getaway in the Missouri Ozarks. Located about ten miles west of Lebanon on Hwy 64, the tree-studded park offers multiple opportunities for the nature lover.

Long known for its excellent trout fishing, the park also boasts its own nature center, hiking trails, campgrounds, motel or cabin accommodations, picnic facilities, canoeing and swimming.
Bennett Spring is the state’s most visited park. It is home to the third largest spring in Missouri which pumps 100 million gallons of fresh cold water each day. It is one of the state’s eight largest springs and its water flows into the Niangua River. The spring and river offer a sensory overload to amateur photographers like me. Not only is the spring water fresh and cold, it also flaunts a myriad of blues and greens to tantalize our senses.
This fun-filled event will take several blog posts to give you a taste of the park and nearby city of Lebanon. We started Thursday evening with a picnic on the banks of the Niangua at One-Eyed Willy’s. This idyllic spot of shoreline captured my imagination with its crystal-clear water, tree-lined bank dotted with sunflowers and river rock glistening along the water’s edge. Several canoes, still wet from an afternoon float trip, gave a sense of adventure along the quiet sandbar.
Barb Ostmann & Everett
After dinner, we indulged in ‘Smores. Brian, the owner of One-Eyed Willys, introduced us to a couple of his bulldogs; JB and Willy who enthusiastically welcomed each of our group.
Brian with Willy (L) & JB (R)
One-Eyed Willy’s off-the-beaten-path location will delight those seeking their own little corner of the Ozarks and the Niangua. Visit his website, www.oneeyedwillys.com for information and more photos of his bulldogs.

For more information on the park, visit www.bennettspringstatepark.com.

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