Water falls down into a pond at Rocky Falls

Water falls down into a pond at Rocky Falls in Winona.

At the River of Life Farm on the North Fork of the White River, you can fish for trout during the day and sleep in the trees at night.

The 350-acre retreat near Dora is more than a stop in the Ozarks. it is a serene environment without the cascade of weekend tourists. What's more, it's a rare spot in the Midwest for world-class fly fishing. 

The location at "The Falls" offers wade fly fishing within the Wild Trout Management Area of the North Fork.

"If you enjoy western fly fishing, this is the closest you can get to it in the state of Missouri," said John Hennessy, a first-time River of Life visitor.

In 2017, a flood wiped out eight cabins, and River of Life Farm became a poster child for flood recovery. The owners rebuilt and now offer cabins, treehouses and lodge suites. 

Treehouses typically sleep two, while the cabins can sleep up to 14. The lodge is the least expensive option.

Prices range from $119 for a suite in the lodge to $798 for the six-bedroom Cliff House. There is a two-night minimum with online reservations.

Almost all of the accommodations have a fireplace, and the cabins have fully equipped kitchens. No pets are allowed.

The Falls Restaurant at the retreat is open seven days a week. It serves breakfast from 7 to 10 a.m., provides sack lunches for $10 apiece and offers a dinner menu with selections to be requested by 3 p.m. Choices range from hamburgers and hot dogs to grilled chicken, fried catfish, blackened salmon and a 12-ounce ribeye.

Myron and Ann McKee are third-generation owners of the property. Myron McKee said charity is at the heart of the retreat's mission to create a sense of peace. They are supporters of the Kolkata Treehouse, a home for children in India. 

"One of the unique facets of our business is that we support over 100 children in Asia on a monthly basis, providing food, clothing and shelter to orphanages that we support," said McKee, 67, said. 

The welcoming sentiment is what brings people like Jesse Collins, 37, a frequent visitor, back to the retreat.

"It's truly a magical part of the world," Collins said.


  • Community Reporter - Spring 2019. Studying magazine journalism. Reach me at zachfoor11@gmail.com or in the newsroom at 882-5720.

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