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Every year Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa, located 12 miles east of Mount Ida, on the shores of Lake Ouachita, hosts a special weekend to highlight the natural beauty of Lake Ouachita and in particular its cherished Bald Eagles.

“Sharing the eagles with our customers, friends and neighbors is our way of giving enjoyment and sharing fellowship with our community”, stated Bill Barnes. “There’s nothing quite as inspiring as seeing the Bald Eagles in the wild, diving for fish or soaring overhead”.

An Introduction to Falconry and Bird of Prey Program presented by Rusty Scarborough, will be held at the Lodge Conference Building, Saturday February 8th at 10:00. Anyone interested in Birds of Prey and the sport of Falconry are encouraged to attend. Falconry is the ancient Sport of Kings, where a trained bird of prey is used to hunt for small game. The sport dates back over 3000 years and was a type of hunting to put food on the table. The sports history and how to become a Falconer will be covered as well as identification of native birds of prey. Live birds will be presented during the program so bring your camera if you like. Also a Live Bald Eagle will be presented after the falconry program.

Harbor’s marina will offer free barge tours to view the eagles on the lake starting at 1:30 that afternoon. Participants need to call the marina at 870-867-1212 or 870-867-1211 to make reservations for the barge tour.Image

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Mount Ida, Arkansas, December 3, 2013: Bill Barnes, Chief of the Joplin Volunteer Fire Department announced today that the Holiday Spaghetti Dinner and Auction Fundraiser held over the holiday weekend was the most successful the department had ever experienced.

“We would like to thank the generous members of the Mount Ida and Joplin community who turned out in record numbers to support our department”, Chief Barnes stated. “Thanks to the efforts of all of the volunteers who worked so hard to set up for the event and prepare the food and the generous donations of our friends in the community, our department was able to raise over $15,000!”

“The funds will be used to pay for the equipment, fuel and supplies that allow the department to serve the community, as well as building expenses and insurance. The Joplin Volunteer Fire Department operates 13 land fire apparatus and 5 fire boats.”
This past year the department responded to 68 land and water medical emergencies and fires.

Mountain Harbor Resort Holds Its Largest Lighting Ceremony in Its History!.

Every year Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa, located 12 miles east of Mount Ida, on the shores of Lake Ouachita, hosts a holiday lighting ceremony to celebrate the start of the Christmas Holiday season. The event is always held the Friday night after Thanksgiving and is open, free of charge, to Mountain Harbor guests and the public.
“Sharing the lights with our customers, friends and neighbors is our way of giving enjoyment and sharing fellowship with our community”, stated Bill Barnes. “There’s just something very, very special about the Christmas lights over the lake, and the joy we see in each child’s eyes reminds us of how very special this time of year is”.
The crowd at Harbor this year was estimated at over 800 guests who crowded in to enjoy fresh, homemade holiday cookies from the Lodge Restaurant, hot apple cider and cocoa and listen to the wonderful holiday live music. On stage, Randy and Chana Caylor sang holiday favorites to the crowd’s enjoyment while the kids received Christmas tattoos or face painting by Harbor’s Christmas elves.
Of course, the big stars of the night were Mrs. Clause and the Big Guy himself. Mrs. Clause read Christmas stories and posed for photos with the children until Santa Clause arrived via the hay ride wagons. After a countdown by the crowd, the big switch was flipped and all the lights of Harbor were turned on. Santa visited with kids, big and small, for over two hours until everyone had an opportunity to express their Christmas wishes. Throughout the evening, guests were treated to hayrides through the resort to admire the Christmas lights over the lake.
“Our crew starts working in September hanging Christmas lights, and we estimate that over two million lights have been hung this year at Harbor” stated Chuck Mayberry, Facilities Management Manager.
The Lodge and cottages, Harbor’s Marina, all of the main buildings and even the trees on the drive to Harbor were alight and the resort is brightly decorated for Christmas visitor and the many Christmas parties planned for the season.

Harbor's Santa Takes Special Requests!

Harbor’s Santa Takes Special Requests!

Apache Pilot Robert Purdy of the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade and multiple tours of duty to Afghanistan and Iraq was a special guest at our July 4th Flag-Raising Ceremony this week. During Rob’s most recent tour, he requested of Bill Barnes an Arkansas flag to wear during his mission. He described how he had always worn a United States flag under his equipment and that for this final tour, he wanted to take Arkansas with him instead. Bill promptly took the Arkansas flag from the Harbor Marina, which is where they stood during the discussion, and handed it to Rob.

It was with great excitement and pride that Bill accepted the return of this flag on Thursday, July 4th, 2013, from Rob. It had safely been worn on his body during his entire tour of duty – and during his final mission overseas. The flag and this special award pictured were presented to Bill and the staff at Mountain Harbor Resort. Most importantly, having Rob with us in person and back safely with his family on home soil, was the greatest honor of all. It was a wonderful July 4th, made even better with the presence of Rob and all that his service to our GREAT NATION represents to us as proud Americans.

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Mountain Harbor has proudly hosted an annual Blessing of the Fleet Ceremony for more than 15 years now – on Lake Ouachita, just off of Marina Point. At Harbor, Brother David Jones prays over each blessing that is carefully wrapped and distributed to every boat that passes by the Joplin Fire Department fleet of fire boats. In addition, Jones also prays over each vessel that passes under his bow. It’s a simple prayer – one that hopefully brings grace and safety to the families that devote so much time to Ouachita during the summer season.

This tradition, of course, began centuries ago – as traditions usually do. Mediterranean fishing communities held elaborate ceremonies meant to ensure a safe and bountiful season. A successful fishing season brought prosperity to the entire community of families, or could just as easily keep everyone starving through a long winter. The more elaborate and commonly held ceremonies were most common among Catholic communities.

The United States was introduced to these ceremonies when it was only a “New World,” as immigrants made their way here and brought with them the culture, traditions, and lifestyle that were accustomed to. As the centuries passed, the events began to include multi-day festivals, a Catholic Mass in some areas, parades, pageantry, dancing, feasting and contests. The most well-known of these ceremonies still take place in Jacksonville, Florida; Darien, Georgia; Brunswick, Georgia; McClellanville, South Carolina; Mount Pleasant, South Carolina; and even Washington D.C.

Here at Harbor, our ceremony hosted 37 boats this year. It’s a small, simple celebration that we host each Memorial Day weekend, but one that we cherish deeply. It’s so special because of the many families and friends that return here year after year to celebrate summertime, beautiful woods and a wilderness lake, as well as the pleasure and luxury of togetherness. We thank you everyone that participated. And – we wish each guest that touches our shores a safe, exciting, and happy 2013 boating season.

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See a full gallery of photos – including all participating boats and families – at this link: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151659170216425.1073741842.131072131424&type=3

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Mountain Harbor Resort proudly nominated Gina Golden – long-time staff member and friend to the resort as the 2013 “Star of Industry,” at the annual Stars of Industry Banquet and Awards Dinner hosted by the Arkansas Hospitality Association. Nominees are recognized for their outstanding service to the hospitality industry, and for going above and beyond their call of duty. Gina is directly responsible for motivating fellow staff members and setting a wonderful example via her work ethic, compassionate attitude, and sweet patience. She continues to represent Mountain Harbor and the Tri-Pennant Family of Resorts in the highest way possible.

Gina has worked in the Harbor Guest Care Department for eight years now. She currently handles warehouse duties (the warehouse is an 8,000 square foot facility), and guest care time sheets, she assists with room inspections and takes care of housekeeping inventories. When she’s not on the clock, Gina is a member of the Joplin Volunteer Fire Department. In addition to a 40-hour work week, Gina trains with the fire crew and responds to fires and other emergencies. She is currently working on her First Responder Certification, as well. The best testament to Gina’s character and dedication to the company happened very recently over the Christmas holiday. During this year’s surprise ice and snow, many guests were stranded here at Harbor. Gina knew from radio traffic that most staff would not make it to work to help care for the many individuals needing resort care. Gina made it as far as Harbor Road, where Harbor staff picked her up to carefully usher her down the icy highway. Without being asked, Gina didn’t hesitate to spend her Christmas here at Harbor taking care of everyone else. This consideration for others is what sets Gina apart. It’s a value that you can’t teach people, because it has to genuinely come from inside someone.

An excerpt from her award nomination – carefully written by Pati Brown, our wonderful long-time Lodge Manager at the resort – is a wonderful way to close this great tribute to Gina: “We don’t know of anyone else who has so personified the exceptional passion, dedication and commitment in a career that has embodied excellence and integrity. We are proud to nominate Gina Golden of Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa as the “Heart of the House” Employee of the year.”

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