A Slice of Heaven in the Ozarks at Blue Jay Farm
Blue Jay Farm graciously hosted our visit. All opinions are mine, but they might have been slightly influenced by the goats.
At a sharp bend in a rural lane in Dixon, Missouri, is a stone arch. The stones are of random size and heavy weight, glued together by thick mortar. The sturdy columns and impressive keystone are an almost imposing sight, until you see you can skirt right around this behemoth - although it's more fun to drive through the narrow passageway. The No Trespassing sign on the open gate seems more of a suggestion than a dire warning. It's a shrug that says "come on in - just be nice about it."
The arch is a gateway to Blue Jay Farm, a secluded retreat in the Ozarks about two hours southwest of St. Louis. Situated on a seven-acre spring-fed lake and surrounded by woods, it's a piece of Missouri history and about as peaceful an escape as you could hope to find. But don't take my word for it:
There must be a mermaid in the lake, whispering her siren call, having it skip across the water, dance through the leaves, drift along the hawks' wings...As a joint birthday present to ourselves, my husband and I decided to take a dog friendly weekend away - and found a slice of heaven. ~ Barry, Jeanne, Tattoo & Gwennie, Westwood, MO
I found that romantic tribute in the journal on the kitchen table. Guest books are magical. You can feel the impact of a place in the handwritten pages. The entries give a glimpse into the reasons others have stayed and what they've found valuable, and they provide new insight and often reinforce first impressions. By their self-selecting nature every guest book entry I've ever read, no matter where I've stayed, has been positive, but the missives in Blue Jay Farm's First Cabin journal were downright gushing with praise, including lots of hearts and paw prints. It was almost like a competition to see who was moved the most by this getaway.
This is one contest that everybody wins.
Emerald Lake from the upper deck of First Cabin
Bring your family and just relax. Plenty of fish to catch! Put your phones down and just enjoy. ~ Kyle, Hannah, JaimeAnn, KyleeRaye, MattieGrace, & OdellaJo
The retreat dates back to the 1920's when brothers Frank and Paul Wielandy purchased the 360-acre property. Frank had found it when he was on a scouting mission in his role as Governor Stark's Game & Fish Commissioner, and he became so enamored that the brothers bought it in 1923. The Wielandys were a big deal in St. Louis. In addition to Frank's conservation work, they were co-owners of the Blackwell-Wielandy Book & Stationery Company, well known for its Blue Jay writing tablet, pens and pencils, and crayons. They often invited guests to experience the bucolic setting and see for themselves the wonder of conservation.
When we got our first peek of Emerald Lake and First Cabin, it was obvious that preserving the history and the natural beauty that drew the Wielandy's in the first place is important to the current owners. The Goodmans purchased the retreat from the Wielandys in the 1950's and it's been in the family ever since. One of the most touching entries in the guestbook was by Stephen Wielandy about his visit to Blue Jay with his father, who had stayed there often when his father, Stephen's grandfather, owned the place.
Since 2000 Blue Jay Farm has been run by Sue Goodman and her brothers. Sue and Bob are the primary caretakers, but she was out of town when we were there. Her brother Doug happened to be in town from San Diego - which was, coincidentally, our destination - and he gave us a tour of the cabins and around the lake in Wilma, a cantankerous four-wheeler. From what I'd read in the guest book, Sue and Bob are just as happy as Doug was to share their pride with anyone who stays.
From refreshing swims to kayaking or canoeing to exploring the surrounding forest, streams, and a beautiful little waterfall, Blue Jay Farms is awesome...The fact that this place is so dog friendly, really was the best! ~ Brendan & Jessie (and Jack & Willy, with accompanying paw prints), Thunder Bay, Ontario
A stay at Blue Jay can be filled with activity. You can swim, fish, hike, paddleboard, canoe, and kayak, and all of the equipment is there to be enjoyed. Or, you can make a cup of coffee and sit out on the deck and watch the sun rise. Guinea fowl and goat roam around during the day to keep you company.
Rates range from $80/night for the Old Cabin, which has electricity but no running water (you'll have access to the Kitchen Cabin) to $210/night for the Goodman Cabin, which has been renovated and restored. Weekly rates are also available. You can find descriptions of their cabins and their current rates at www.bluejayfarm.net. If you need to unwind and unplug, Blue Jay Farm is a throwback to a simpler time. Drive through that arch and you'll enter a charming escape that will help you refresh, renew, and find peace.
This was the first trip I took as a newly divorced woman and I discovered I enjoyed own company. My heart healed here and my creativity soared. Thank you for creating this little slice of Heaven. I'll never forget it. ~ Lynne K.
Neither will I!