Welcome to Harbor!

Welcome to Harbor!

You’ve made the decision to come to Harbor!  We’re so excited!  We love welcoming guests for the first time because Harbor is our home and you are our guests.  And, like any good host, we want you to know everything  about what to expect your very first time at Harbor.

Getting Here:  Our physical address for your GPS is 994 Mountain Harbor Road, Mount Ida, AR  71957.  We are located in west central Arkansas on the shores of stunning, wilderness Lake Ouachita, about 12 miles east of the tiny town of Mount Ida and 24 miles west of historic Hot Springs, Arkansas, just off Highway 270.

When you turn off Highway 270 onto the Mountain Harbor Road, turn off or shun any directions from your GPS – it will take you on a wild goose chase and drop you off in the woods!  And, you don’t need it anymore.  Once you turn onto the Harbor road drive just straight through about 2 ½ beautiful miles and you’ll end at our Lodge.  You’ll find lots of Harbor signage along the way!

Share the Road:  The Harbor road weaves up and down and around little hills and curves through the Ouachita National Forest.  You’ll want to go slowly because you are likely to find yourself sharing the road with our friendly deer population as well as turkeys, raccoons, ‘possums, squirrels and the occasional big boat owner towing his boat.  Don’t worry; it’s probably his first time here and our  roads may look little to him so he thinks he needs both lanes.  He’ll figure it out, but just realize that you will be meeting a lot of guests like yourself, here for the first time, trying to read all the signs, control the antics of the kids in the back seat and find their way.  You’ll also see joggers, hikers, bikers, ATV’s and even a horse drawn carriage on our roads, so you’ll want to drive slowly, savor the beauty of the trees along the way and re-set your mode to Harbor time.

As you pull up to the Lodge, you may be surprised to see our humble rustic lodge...but this is just the beginning.  Harbor encompasses over 900 acres!  Our lodge is the hub of our resort.

As you pull up to the Lodge, you may be surprised to see our humble rustic lodge…but this is just the beginning. Harbor encompasses over 900 acres! Our lodge is the hub of our resort.

Entrance to the Lodge

Entrance to the Lodge





Looking out across our courtyard you can see the  architect's  vision for our rustic mid-century lodge.

Looking out across our courtyard you can see the architect’s vision for our rustic mid-century lodge.

Arriving at the Lodge:  Step back in time.  Our Lodge was built in 1955, by our founder, Hal Barnes, and we’ve preserved the original mid- century architecture.  If you’re used to big grand entrances, you may be surprised at our humble, flat roofed Lodge but generations of families and guests have grown up here and it’s the hub of our operations and the heart of the resort.  Iif you walk to the front and view it across the courtyard, you’ll see how the original architect invisioned our rustic lodge sixty years ago. Our resort is spread out over 900 acres, so it’s hard to take it all in from any one spot.

 You’ll find our Lodge Restaurant here as well as our lodging offices and registration.  The Lodge is surrounded by our Guest Rooms, cabanas and our Lodge cottages.  The charming courtyard is framed by trees that Hal planted back in the 1950’s and there’s a much beloved shaded wading pool from the 1960’s, lovingly preserved by our staff. 

When you step into the Lodge, our Reception Desk will greet you and ask for your name, driver’s license and credit card.  We only swipe your card at check in, to prove to your credit card company that you were really here, since you’ve already paid your deposit.  If you are checking into a boat slip, we will need your boat registration numbers off your hull as well, so be sure to jot that down for us.

You’ll want to look at the beautiful lake view from our restaurant, which also overlooks the Lodge Pool.

Our property is quite large, encompassing over 900 acres, so in addition to your room keys and mirror tags, our staff will give you a map of the whole property and point out pools, the marina, dive shop, houseboat and water toy rentals, stables, spa and hiking trails to get you started. 

The Three Areas of Mountain Harbor Resort:

There are three main areas of Harbor, all with unique personalities and facilities.  They are:

Our Lodge Area- 

Here you will find our Guest Rooms, Studios (one room kitchenette units) our poolside cabanas and our Lodge cottages. Everything here is within walking distance of our Lodge pool, the lake view Lodge Restaurant, the laundramat, playground and our charming Lodge courtyard.

Harbor North Cottages-

Our signature Harbor North cottages are located about 1 1/2 miles from the Lodge.  These log sided, lake view cottages are beautifully furnished with an eclectic blend of antiques and contemporary furnishings.  All have hot tubs on the decks. Choose from one, two and three bedroom floorplans.

Our Harbor East Condominiums-

Also located about 1 1/2 miles from the Lodge, but to our East you’ll find privately owned two, three and four bedroom condos, managed by Mountain Harbor.  Our most economical lodging,these units feature fully equipped kitchens, washer and dryers and decks over looking forest or lake.

What’s in Your Unit:  If you are in one of our condos, cottages, studios or cabanas you have a fully equipped kitchen.  In addition to pots and pans, eating and serving dishes, silverware, cooking utensils, a blender and mixer, glasses and a coffee maker, you will also find these items provided:

Dishwashing liquid

Dishwasher Detergent

Kitchen linens

Garbage bags

Coffee, coffee filters, hot cocoa and popcorn

Paper towels

Charcoal grill

Things you will need to bring:

Salt and pepper

Condiments and spices

Charcoal and charcoal starter and a lighter

All of your food

Laundry detergent (if your unit has a washer and dryer)

Your grandmother’s favorite lake recipes!

If you arrive and find that you need anything, please just call us!  We try to stock popular items in our warehouse and we also have several staff who live on property who are happy to loan out unusual items – like that fondue pot you just realized you need!


Your bathroom has these items:

Hair dryer

Bath towels, hand towels and wash cloths

Soap, shampoo and lotion

Toilet tissue

Facial tissue

You'll love our gourmet coffee from Westrock Coffee, featuring Rwanda coffee from East Africa.

You’ll love our gourmet coffee from Westrock Coffee, featuring Rwanda coffee from East Africa.

Our lotions, soaps and shampoos are from the NATÜRA  line -Combining the elements of Nature and Science, NATÜRA products are known for their ability to revitalize, nourish, and purify both the body and the mind - and are in  100% biodegradable containers.

Our lotions, soaps and shampoos are from the NATÜRA line -Combining the elements of Nature and Science, NATÜRA products are known for their ability to revitalize, nourish, and purify both the body and the mind – and are in 100% biodegradable containers.


Other items in every unit:

Iron and ironing board

Room directory with a list of phone numbers, extensions and TV channels

DVD and VCR loans available at the Lodge

Volleyball, basket ball, and tennis rackets and balls available at the Lodge

We also have books to borrow in our laundramat at the Lodge and games you can check out. 

What’s in Your Unit (Guest Room):  Although you don’t have a kitchen, you do have a microwave, mini-fridge and four cup coffee maker as well as in-room coffee, coffee filters, hot cocoa and popcorn and paper towels.  There is a small table with two chairs in your room and two patio chairs with a small table on your patio.  Your unit doesn’t have a charcoal grill, but you can call the Lodge and request one.   See our list above “Other Items in Every Unit” for additional items! 

Alcoholic Beverages

Mountain Harbor Resort is located in a DRY COUNTY.  We have wine glasses and wine openers in our housekeeping units (cottages, condos, etc) and in our restaurant but we cannot serve alcohol.  The good news is that the nearest liquor store is just 7 miles to our east, heading back to Hot Springs.  Be sure that you make any purchases by Saturday, because Arkansas’s blue laws prohibit alcohol sales on Sunday!

 Media and Wi-Fi

With the exception of some of the privately owned condominiums, most of our units have free Wi-Fi.  Please ask before you come if your unit has Wi-Fi if you are staying in a condominium because some of those are privately owned and do not have wi-fi.  Our Lodge area with the courtyard and pool and the restaurant have Wi-fi, as does our marina, our marina patio, our Lodge Conference Building, the East Cove Conference Center and Turtle Cove Spa.

Our internet service may not be as fast as you are accustomed to.  We are very rurual!   Our services are limited here and you will probably want to bring a movie from home as opposed to buying one and downloading it (I tried that once and it took me two days…) but for surfing the web, accessing Netflix, posting to Facebook, emails, etc, you shouldn’t run into any problems.  If high speed wireless is critical, you may be very disappointed.  We’re working on trying to get better service for our guests – it’s just not available to us right now in our county.

 Cell Phones:

If you have Verizon, you should have great service everywhere you go.  If you are with another company, you are at the mercy of cell tower placement vs. trees and mountains.  All of our units, except the Joplin Inn and VanGuilder Lodge, have local phone service on the in-room phones. 

Other Things You Need to Know: 

BUGS, BUGS, BUGS –  You may never see them, hear them or feel them, but you wake up in the morning and you find yourself covered in bites.  Mosquitoes, “no-see-ums” – we got ‘em!   It’s just a part of lake life, but there are things you can do to protect yourself and your family.   Choose a bug spray that you are comfortable with and use it before going out on your deck or for a walk… and be sure to spray the shoes and socks of your little ones.  They love to run through grasses and brush and that’s where they may encounter chiggers and ticks. Chiggers are very tiny and love to bury up around the legs of underwear and waist bands.  Be sure that everyone has a nice hot bath at night.  If you forget your bug spray, our marina sells several different types.  You want to enjoy the beauty of being outside but be aware that early morning, dusk and evening are prime mosquito and “no-see-um” attack times.  It takes several hours for the bites to swell and start itching and most people get bitten in the evenings, go to bed and wake covered in bites. 

Ants – It’s Arkansas, so ants are a given.  Especially in the summer when it’s dry, ants come into units around water pipes and any tiny opening they can find.  Please don’t leave food out on your counter and empty trash into outdoor receptacles.  Call us if you see any and we will come over and spray outside your unit to stop them from coming in. 

Wasps – Wasps love making nests under the overhang of our units and on decks.  We try to always check for these and take care of any problems before you arrive.  If you see wasps, please call us and we will take care of it right away.  We don’t want you or your family to be stung! 

That’s the biggest cock roach I ever saw!  Oh, that’s actually not a cockroach.  It looks like a big shiny black or dark brown cock roach and usually you find them dead because they can’t live inside, they die.  These are wood roaches or water bugs and they fly in at night (the females have wings, the males crawl in).  They are obsessed with the light!  They are creepy but harmless and we will come and “remove” any if one gets in.  With doors opening and closing at night as folks go in and out using the deck or carrying things in, some are bound to come in.  They die once inside because they live in the warm, moist soil under leaves in the forest and your unit is too dry and cool for them to be very happy.

Pets – Yes, we are pet friendly!  So do bring your beloved furry friends, but please check wit us to make sure that your unit is pet friendly.  While all units owned by Harbor are pet friendly, some of our privately owned units are not.  Your pets will love the lake, the people and all those fascinating new scents!  We ask that you not leave any pet unattended in your unit when you go out.  Even the most well behaved pet will bark at strange noises in a strange place and that guest next door who just stretched out for a little vacation napping will not be happy.  If you are coming to the restaurant, you can bring your pet with you and leave it with us in our office, where they are likely to be quite spoiled.  Please do bring a crate if that is how they are most comfortable, as well as snacks. 

 You do need to be aware that there is no leash law in most of Harbor, but there is in the Harbor East Condominiums.  You may encounter loose dogs but the resort dogs are very friendly and they all have their own unique story.  Just ask any of our staff! 

Of course, you need to bring pet waste bags with you when you walk your dog. 

Your dogs will love hiking with you on the LOVit!

Your dogs will love hiking with you on the LOVit!

Everybody Waves  Here-  It’s Arkansas and it’s the south – we really do wave at everybody.  So don’t worry about figuring why a stranger is waving at you– we wave at everyone and if you are here long enough, you will, too.  So, please, wave right back if you feel like it.  Getting to know everyone starts with something as simple and hometown as a wave! 

Swimming Pools….and Swimming Holes –We have three sparkling, cool swimming pools at Harbor and a wading pool for your little tadpoles!  The Lodge pool for our Lodge guests is located just behind the Lodge Restaurant.  It has loungers, umbrellas, bathrooms and is within walking distance of all of our Lodge units.  The wading pool in the courtyard is a shady spot in the afternoon with comfy benches and umbrellas.  There are two additional pools in Harbor East for our condominium guests, each with loungers and convenient for our condominium guests.  We’re sorry, we don’t provide pool towels, so be sure to pack some in for your pool fun – or pick up a colorful beach towel at our marina! 

Whatever the size, you'll find our pools sparkling clean, convenient and oh, so refreshing!

Whatever the size, you’ll find our pools sparkling clean, convenient and oh, so refreshing!

Lake Ouachita is one big fabulous swimming hole!  If you have a boat you can find hundreds of tiny islands and secluded coves, many with soft, lake-worn slate beaches and shady trees.  If you don’t have a boat, you can try out the Corps of Engineers nearby Joplin Campground for a real sandy beach with swim buoys.  There is a small day use fee – usually just $3.50 or so per car.


We hate problems!  That’s why we work so hard to get rid of them!  If you are unhappy with ANYTHING, please call us and let us help!  We are always so disappointed when guests tell us at check out that they have been unhappy about something that we could have fixed. Sometimes guests tell us they “didn’t want to mess with it” or “they were out on the lake all day” or “just didn’t want to be bothered”.  We are fast, we are professional and we really, really care about you.  Please give us a chance to make it right!  We just want you to be happy and we can work around any scheudle that you might have to insure that y our time with us is wonderful!  We also have an after hours number for urgent situations and emergencies you can call 24 hours per day! 

Thank you!

We’re so glad you made the decision to come and stay with us!  Our crew pledges to give you our very best service and to assist you in every way we can!  If anything disappoints you or just isn’t right, tell us about it and we promise we will do everything we can to insure that your stay is perfect!

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


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.


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.

Blessing of the Fleet 1

Blessing of the Fleet 2

Blessing of the Fleet 3

Blessing of the Fleet 4

Blessing of the Fleet 5

Blessing of the Fleet 6

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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