Fairfield Bay, Arkansas, population 2338
Latitude 35°36′7″N, Longitude 92°15′51″W, elevation 870 – 906 feet
Average low temp January = 25.3°, average high temp July = 92,
Annual rainfall = 50.4 inches, snowfall = 4.6 inches, sunny days = 219
I find it hard to believe the statistics I found for the elevation in Fairfield Bay. As you approach the town, you are treated to a series of roller coaster hills and dips and hairpin curves on narrow roads that keep a flatlander’s knuckles white on the wheel. Climb up the double diamond ski slope, clamber over the crest, and you are actually OVER the top of the hill before you can see road again. Add a tailgating pickup truck with extra bright headlights for a little more excitement. We resolved right away to not drive anyplace at night.
Fairfield Bay is primarily a summer resort and retirement community. Back in the mid 1960s, the Little Red River was dammed to form Greers Ferry Lake. Developers bought up the land around the lake and built resorts, timeshares, two golf courses, a marina, a park, and some houses. The full-time residents numbered 2338 at the 2010 census, but if you add in the timeshare visitors, there are about 27,000 people per year.
When we were there, the boating / fishing season was pretty much over. We visited the Marina and saw huge docks with hundreds of boats and pontoons tied up, quiet and serene in the clear mountain water. We tried the golf courses and mostly enjoyed them. It was late fall and leaves blew around the fairway, effectively hiding the errant golf ball. Our strategy was to hit only as far as we could see the ball. But then there were THOSE holes. Several of the back 9 holes were designed by golf sadists whose mission in life is to torture golfers. Beautiful, scenic, and voraciously hungry for stray golf balls.
After all the whoop-dee-do of Branson, Fairfield Bay was a nice relaxing week at “home”. We cooked, wrote, watched TV and DVD movies, and sipped beers while watching the sun set. Marylu went to the very busy and active Senior Center for aqua aerobics. I went for a beginner’s clogging lesson but was disappointed that it was cancelled. Once in a lifetime opportunity, right? Oh well, maybe somebody has an online video.
Once again, we found the locals to be friendly, chatty, and curious. Most people seem to be visitors from elsewhere and want to know where you are from. These are Southern people though. Maybe I was expecting redneck goobers when we got this far South. What we are finding are sweet, polite, fun, really nice people, with various strengths of accent. But this is the Bible Belt. There are 6 churches in Fairfield Bay. We tried a little radio and got mostly Gospel. This is a dry county. One thing we thought was hilarious was a pizza we had one night. It came in a box with an ad for Bass Pro Shops on the top, some scripture on the side; “The task ahead of you is never as great as the Power within you”, and, on the bottom of the box, gun shooting targets. Very Southern.