BY JANET STEINBERG
Lake of the Ozarks, has been likened to a twisted
dragon. This undulating Lake of the Ozarks is filled with
fascinating stories and soft adventure.
|THE UNDULATING, DRAGON-LIKE LAKE OF THE OZARKS|
we made a stop at The Willmore Lodge. This historic 1930 log
building is home to the Lake Area Chamber of Commerce as well as
the Bagnell Dam History Museum.
This Adirondack-style, 6,500 square foot lodge was constructed in Oregon
for Missouri’s Union Electric Company. After the structure was
cut and assembled from Western white pine logs, and approved by Union
Electric’s president, it was then marked, disassembled,
and transported by train to Missouri. It was finally reassembled at the
present site using only square wooden pegs and overlapping corner
saddle notchings to hold it together. The building was reassembled
and completed in about three months at an approximate cost of
BEADED MOCCASINS IN THE BAGNELL DAM HISTORY MUSEUM
1930, the Bagnell Dam was still under construction, so the view from the
Lodge was only wooded valleys and grassy fields along the narrow
little Osage River. The sprawling dragon shaped Lake of the Ozarks
was over a year from being open to the public and as yet to be named.
In 1945, under a cloud of scandal, Union Electric sold the Lodge, a hotel,
pleasure boats, forty thousand acres of lakefront property, and eight
hundred miles of shoreline to Cyrus Crane Willmore for $320,000. Ultimately,
many years after Willmore’s death, Union Electric re-acquired the
building and adjoining property. The Lodge is now
preserved as a historic site, and houses the history of its region.
Construction of the Bagnell Dam, to impound the Osage River, started just
months before the 1929 stock market crash and the Great
Depression. It was completed in 1931 and the
resulting reservoir is what we now know as the Lake of
the Ozarks. At the time of construction it was one of the
largest man-made lakes in the world and the largest in the
|BAGNELL DAM COMPLETED IN 1931|
comes to lodging, Lake of the Ozarks certainly provides enough
choices. You can pick your accommodation from a delicious
menu of rustic cabins, comfy condos, fully equipped houseboats,
family-oriented resorts or
luxurious pampering retreats. For those of you who know me
it will not come as a surprise that I chose one of the latter.
The Camden on the Lake Resort, Spa & Yacht Club at Toad Cove is the
newest and most luxurious full-service resort to open at the Lake of
the Ozarks in nearly a decade. The hotel is located adjacent to the
Toad Cove Entertainment Complex and covers over a quarter of a mile of
After a full day of driving and sightseeing, dinner at Camden on the
Lake’s H. Toad (as in Horny Toad) was the perfect place for a
relaxing casual dinner with a drop-dead lake view.
A DRINK LAKESIDE WITH H. TOAD AT CAMDEN ON THE LAKE
good times roll. The options for fun at the Lake of the Ozarks
The imposing architecture and breathtaking scenery of Ha Ha Tonka State
Park makes it one of Missouri’s most treasured spots. The park
features the stone ruins of a turn-of-the-20th-century mansion built high
atop a bluff by a prominent Kansas City businessman. The mansion was
nicknamed the “castle,” because it was modeled after later
European castles from the 1500’s.
Golf is also an option at some fifteen courses including Old
Kinderhook’s Tom Weiskopf Signature course…carved out
of the Ozark hills and ranked as the #2 course in Missouri; the Club
at Porto Cima…a private Jack Nicklaus Signature Course; and the
Osage National Golf Club…with 18 of its 27 holes designed by Arnold
The Lake of the Ozarks offers a variety of other activities throughout the year.
You can go waterskiing, tubing, biking, zoom around in a
speedboat, or take a delightful lake cruise on the
150-passenger Tropic Island motor yacht. You can just drop
a fishing line and dangle your feet in the water, or you can just do
nothing. You can eat yourself into oblivion or spa
yourself into supermodel form.
My quest for supermodel form began with a couples massage at Spa 54 at
Copper Door Aveda Spa in the Camden on the Lake Hotel. My
husband and I felt rejuvenated and revitalized, but no supermodel form
|RELAXING PRIOR TO COUPLES MASSAGE AT SPA 54|
Next day I
was off to The Lodge of Four Seasons, the luxurious grande
dame of the Lake of the Ozarks, for a day at the iconic Shiki
Spa. Aaaahhhh, the Shiki Spaaahhhh…one of the largest resort spas in
the Midwest. “Shiki” means “four seasons”
in Japanese, and the spa follows an Asian theme to bring guests a unique
and unparalleled experience.
Following my Spa Shiki Supracor Exfoliation & Massage and my Anti
Gravity Facial, I am certain you would not have recognized
me. And my handsome hunk of a husband looked even more handsome
after his Gentleman’s Facial. But we still did not make
the supermodel cut.
Our beet and goat cheese salad lunch at Spa Shiki’s café was very,
very healthy and our dinner at HK’s, the signature restaurant
of the waterfront Lodge of the Four Seasons, was very, very
divine. No calorie counting there.
HK is named after the resort’s beloved founder, the late Harold Koplar, a
Russian-American hotelier and businessman who established
the development at Lake of the Ozarks in
1964. Located off the main lobby, HK’s,
features floor-to-ceiling windows with panoramic views of the lodge’s
beautiful Japanese Gardens and of the Lake of the Ozarks main
channel. The food was as beautiful as the view.
GARDEN AT THE LODGE OF FOUR SEASONS
Other culinary treats at the Lake included lunch at Baxter’s Lakeside
Grille. It was an “ooh” and “aah” lunch…first because of
the view, and then because of the food. This classic American
restaurant builds on the rich history and tradition of excellence
that the Lake Area is known for. The menu is a taste-pleaser, no
matter your taste preference.
Dessert followed at Randy’s Frozen Custard where a Turtle Concrete concoction
totally eradicated my supermodel fantasy. To quote their
motto: “You Know It’s Fine, When You See The Line!”
After years of wanting to get to the Lake of the Ozarks, I’m glad I
finally made it! It is truly a lake to love!
STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel Writer and Travel Consultant.