2003 Newsletter Produced By Black Oak Resort
P.O. Box 100 - Oakland, AR 72661 - (870) 431-8363
www.blackoakresort.com - e-mail: vacation@blackoakresort.com

Greetings and Happy New Year
To All Of Our 2002 Guests

Table Of Contents:

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Dear Friends,

Welcome to Black Oak Resort!This upcoming year is going to be the start of a transition period for Black Oak Resort. We are contemplating retirement in the not too distant future. Michael is going to be 63 on March 3, and Betty is not far behind. You can read all about it in the "OUR PLANS" section of this newsletter.

We had another good year in 2002, and for that we thank all of you. We have gotten to know most of you very well by now, and consider you as our good friends. We cannot believe how lucky we have been all these years, for our guests have been unbelievably generous and caring towards us. Life has been good, and we wish the same to all of you.

Please read on and find out all that's been happening here...lots of exciting news...at least to us. We hope to see you again this year and will look forward to your visit.

Our Year In Review

Weather. Rainfall was the big news in 2002. We were over 7 inches above normal annual rainfall. This translated to high lake levels, which lasted well into August. Normal pool is 654 feet above sea level. We got up to 689, and that's only about 5 feet from going over the spillway on Bull Shoals Dam. Now, high water is bad for business, and for fishing, but again our customers were very patient and understanding when there was little or no parking space left. At its worst, our entire parking area was flooded out, and we were forced to park along the roadside.

The fishing was also hurt once the levels were over the shore's brush line. Once this happens, you lose a lot of your lures, the fish have excellent cover as well as abundant food supplies, and it's much harder to catch fish.

The good news is that whenever we have really high water on the lake, more of the spawn survive, and the big fish don't get caught that much either, so they have a chance to grow even larger. This usually translates into two or more years of excellent fish populations, especially the largemouth and crappie. The smallmouth seem to be unaffected by any lake conditions and almost always have good spawns.

Presently, the lake is about normal for this time of year, 652 feet. We are into our winter now (the month of January), where the average high temperature is 45 degrees and the average low is 25. Luckily, winter never lasts very long here, and we look forward to spring.

Dogs. We still have both of our dogs.

Sam and Abby
The Black Blob is Abby

Abby, our miniature black lab, is three years old now. She's very fast, and covers about 20 miles when Betty takes her for her 4-mile walk on Ozark Isle. In the winter, the island is closed to traffic and Betty just lets her run. The only problem Abby has is that she chases cars, so we can't ever let her off leash except in the winter. Abby has one other problem: She will roll in any dead thing she finds out on the island, so she really stinks pretty bad all winter long. Betty thinks this a common behavior in hunting breeds. Other than that, she is really a joy - the most affectionate dog we've ever owned. She still sleeps with us (in the middle, naturally).

Sam
Sam, the Couch Potato

Our other dog is Sam, who is a lab-chow mix (we think). He's around eight now. The good news is that after a year of being kept on a diet, his weight is now down to 63 pounds. He was as high as 80 pounds when we got him last year. He now walks the whole 4 miles with Betty and Abby, and even scampers a bit, which we never thought he'd be capable of. Sam's only problem is that on his walks, he stops at every single persimmon tree and eats the persimmons (mass quantities) that have fallen on the ground. We are afraid he will develop an intestinal blockage if this continues. The seeds are numerous and huge, and he eats seeds and all, of course! Sam also needs help getting into the car after he finishes his walk, so Betty and Mike with AbigailBetty has to lift him into the van. He has no trouble jumping in when we go out, just after he finishes and is tired. So, that's pretty good for an older dog. He still favors Betty, whereas Abby loves us both about the same, and the rest of the world isn't far behind.

We think that two is the ideal number of dogs to have. They are companions to each other, and don't require any more work than one dog would, except for more hairs to clean up. And we forgot, twice the expense.

Cats.
Our cat population remains about the same as last year. We did acquire one new cat and lost four.

We lost Bat-Ears, who was the first cat we owned since coming to Arkansas, and who is responsible for Jitterbug being here (her grandson). Bat-Ears was all black, and the queen of the group. None of the other cats would mess with her. But she was great with people (that's where Jitterbug got his charm). She had been diagnosed with feline leukemia and finally succumbed this December. She was the grand old dame and will be missed and remembered.

Jitterbug
Jitterbug

We also lost three cats all at once this May. We suspect that they took a one-way ride in one of our customer's boats. They were Whiny Cat, Little Cutie, and Miss Lily. So sad to lose these cats. Betty was especially fond of Little Cutie, and hopes to see her return, but after a year, what are the chances?

The dogs and cats get along well
Little-Little, Sam, and Abby

We also still have Cutie-Pie, Fluffy, Little-Little, Handsome, Igor, Pinky, Scaredy Cat, White-Foot, and Blackie. There is another cat hanging around that we have named, but he only shows up some days and he may belong to someone else. His name is Newman.


New Kitten
Name the Kitty!

The new kitten just showed up this November and probably got here by way of a car engine, since she took a ride on top of Betty's car engine shortly after showing up. We haven't named her, but she's now ours and lives inside with us. She's really beautiful, solid grey and long-haired, and so smart, she opens drawers and cabinet doors, and terrorizes all the animals, even Jitterbug. We need to give her a name. This is her picture. Any suggestions?

So, that puts our cat count at 12, or so. All have been neutered, so that number should remain stable, we hope.


Betty's News

Betty, Herbie and Tub
Betty with her beloved Herbie and Tubalub

Betty always seems to have more news to report than Michael, and a lot of it is boring, so whenever you get bored, skip to Michael's News.

Chicago Marathon. Betty was training to run the Chicago Marathon again this year, and was all set to run it, and had even gotten up to running 18 miles; then in August, her Rheumatoid Arthritis sidelined her. Both her knees were swollen, the right one being the worst. Her hands, wrists and feet were also inflamed so badly that the simplest tasks were next to impossible to perform.

Her rheumatologist told her not to run at all until her knees were back to normal. He also put her on a stronger medication to control the flare-up (methotrexate). Even walking was so painful as to preclude any form of exercise. So Betty did what the doctor ordered and is slowly getting better. She started exercising again in December, and walking is getting easier. But another marathon is not in the plan right now. Betty doesn't even know if she will be able to resume running, and she misses it terribly. But if the doctor tells her it's ok, she will definitely ease back into running.

Weight Watchers. Betty joined Weight Watchers at the end of 2001, so she's been at it a little more than a year. Her weight loss is pathetic. She was doing very well, losing about 17 pounds. Then she had this arthritis flare-up which affected her knees, and she quit exercising. Well, guess what happened. She stopped burning so many calories a day, but her appetite stayed the same. She gradually regained almost every pound she had worked so hard to lose. She now is only down 4 pounds instead of 17. But, she is now back to walking, at least, and is sticking with the program. She still believes she can succeed.

One More Dead Cat. Michael had to dispatch a cat to the great beyond this summer. There was this mean black and white cat that had been fighting with our Jitterbug, and caused him some serious damage on two occasions. Betty, being a great animal lover, decided to start feeding him in the hopes that she could get him tame enough to get him into the vet for a good neutering! He was getting sort of tame, and Betty could touch and pet him a little while he was eating.

One night, Betty came home after dark from her Weight Watcher's meeting, and the cats, including this one, were milling around wanting to get fed. Betty went up to this cat and bent down to pet him. He looked up at her, and sort of corkscrewed his body, and before she could register what was happening, the cat leaped up and bit her in the face.

Betty ran inside to wash it off, and there were two punctures near her lip. Betty realized that the cat could be rabid and asked Michael to come and try to get it into a cat carrier to take it into the vet. She got some cat food and put it in the carrier to lure the cat inside. The cat would start to enter the carrier, but never far enough to get the door closed on him. We tried several times with more food, but by then the cat was getting increasingly wary, and was moving off.

At this point, Betty uttered the words she never thought she would say regarding a cat or a dog, or any other animal for that matter..."Get the gun." Michael got his gun and shot the cat while Betty went inside to call Bill Presley, her vet. While she was dialing, she heard a second shot. Michael had to shoot it again, since it was dying slowly.

When she got Bill on the phone and told him what happened, he wanted to know where Michael had shot the cat. Michael said, "in the head–twice." Bill said that was the wrong thing to do, since they need the brain to check for rabies. He told us to bring the cat in anyway, that maybe they would have enough brain left to do the test. He also told Betty to get to the doctor first thing since a cat bite can get seriously infected really quick, and not to delay.

Well, by the next morning, her cheek was puffed up like a chipmunk and felt really hard underneath the skin. The doctor agreed to see her the same day, but she had to wait til 4 p.m. all day to get in. By that time, the infection had really started hurting, and she was prescribed a strong antibiotic ($80 plus).

The other interesting thing is that where normally you have time to start rabies shots for a bite, this doesn't apply to head bites (closer to the brain). And of course they had no anti-rabies vaccine on hand anyway. So, we had no choice but to wait for the results on the cat. Some medical system! So, for another scary 24 hours, Betty didn't know what the outcome would be.

As it turns out, Michael was a bad enough shot that they were still able to determine that the cat did not have rabies. So, the poor cat died in vain. Betty felt bad for the cat, but not that bad, as this was obviously not a cat that was going to be tamed anyway.

Book Reviews, Etc. As far as her reading, Betty did finish "The Corrections" by Jonathan Frantzen. This is one of the best books she's ever read, delving into the problems of family and aging, with a wonderfully insightful view of men's mind-set. It's a tough read in parts because he uses many literary references that are wasted on Betty, but it's well worth it. She also read books by two women authors, "Summer Sisters" by Judy Blume, which was a terrific read about friendship between women. And "The Pilot's Wife" by Anita Shreve, also strongly recommended. This book covers the grieving process and how we really never know another person as well as we think. A little lighter reading was also squeezed in: one by Victoria Holt, and two by Patricia Cornwell, two of her favorite authors. This totals more books than she's read in many years.

We also have bought a DVD player and have started buying the DVDs of "The Sopranos," the first three seasons. We just finished watching all of season two, and are positively hooked on this series. James Gandolfini and the entire cast, especially Nancy Marchand, who played his mother, are fascinating. We also started buying the CDs of the background music from each episode. Everything about this series is perfection. It is awfully bloody, but so funny too. Michael being 100% Italian makes it all the more relevant to us. As far as other TV watching, Michael still likes his History Channel, The Discovery Channel, and "Judge Judy." Betty is absorbed in "CSI" (both of them) and "Law and Order," when she has an opportunity to catch these shows. There's really a lot of good things on television today. The only comedy show she watches faithfully is "Everybody Loves Raymond," and on occasion, "Friends."

As far as our tastes in music, we like Moby, Sinatra, Billy Joel, Linda Ronstadt, love jazz and blues, and recently have been listening to some opera. Also, we like listening to any of the old songs from the 20s, 30s, and any Cole Porter songs. Try "Red, Hot and Blue", which is a compilation of Cole Porter tunes redone by modern musicians. It's been around awhile, but it's one of the best. A friend also gave us a copy of the "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou" soundtrack. We can see why it has remained a best seller for so long - it's terrific music, and we don't even care for country music that much.

As far as Betty's health, other than the Rheumatoid Arthritis, she's doing well. Her cholesterol is in great shape, which she attributes to the exercise.

Michael's News

Michael is still golfing at least once a week. He would welcome any of our guests who'd like to join him, so remember to bring your clubs. He's a member of Big Creek Country Club now. All our customers who have golfed with him say it's a great course. It's rated one of the top new courses in the country.

Michael is still Fire Chief here in Oakland. This year, our fire rating (ISO rating) was reduced from a Class 6 to a Class 5. We are now one of the few fire departments in the state to have a Class 5 rating, and even without fire hydrants. So, we are very proud of what our department has accomplished.

Michael gave up bowling this year, mainly due to the smoke. Betty always complained when he came home about the smoke smell emanating from him. Michael agreed that it was very bad to inhale all that second-hand smoke, so he's given it up, at least until they decide to go smoke-free.

Michael also shoots sporting clays and trap at several gun/hunt clubs nearby. He enjoys this almost as much as being fire chief, fishing and golf. Betty thinks he's just trying to get out of work.

Michael is still taking Lipitor for his cholesterol, and it's working. His last total cholesterol was 156, even better than Betty's 165. And he's on the lowest dose.

So, other than some minor urinary problems and mental sluggishness, we both are doing fine.

Thank you all again for a very good year. We're looking forward to the coming year and seeing you all again in '03!

Signature - Mike and Betty Scrima

In Memory - Bill Presley

This year, our entire community dealt with a terrible loss. Our most beloved vet, Bill Presley, passed away suddenly this past August.

Bill had been our only vet since we moved here in 1985. He took care of all our pets and got us through some terrible times when we lost our three dogs, Herbie, Grant, and Kala. Bill even helped Betty in finding a canine cart for her most special dog, Herbie, when he could no longer use his back legs. It gave him another year, and it was, for the most part, a very good year. Betty never regretted her decision to put Herbie in that cart and was so comforted by Bill's support during that troubling time.

Bill had no fear of any animal and always treated them with gentleness. Bill could not bear to euthanize a healthy animal and many times he would adopt the animal or keep it at the office until he could convince one of his clients to adopt it.

Bill had to euthanize our three dogs after all options had run out, and it was still not easy. He was a great comfort to us. He even came to our resort when Kala's time came, and eased her suffering while she was at home with us. We were so thankful to Bill for making it easier on Kala and us all.

Bill was such a good man that it spilled over onto all those who came into contact with him. His office staff, which included his wife, Ann, are a very special group of people. His wife Ann was his complete partner in life, and it was obvious to us all how much love they had for each other. Bill was so much fun to be around and had an easy sense of humor. On all but the most difficult visits, we looked forward to our visits with him, and always had a good laugh together, many times about our animals.

Bill touched a lot of lives and taught us all something about love, in the way he treated people and his animals. If that is his legacy, he made the world a better place. Our hearts go out to Ann and their family. We loved Bill and will never ever forget him.

2002 Fishing Contest Results

Even though the fishing wasn't as good as previous years, probably mainly due to the high water, our people still managed to catch some fine fish. The Walleye was decent, as was the Smallmouth and the White Bass. We had a very large catfish. Catfishing is always very good under high water conditions. We also managed to catch another of those nice hybrids that keep showing up in the lake, even though they were never stocked. Whatever happened to the crappie this year? We know that some had to be caught, but you must let us know for it to count in the contest. It's too late to let us know now!

Notice that almost all of the fish winning the contest were caught on a combination of blue, silver, white or chrome (with one exception–no, two counting the hot dog). So, stock up on these colors. They're a winning combo.

The winning month was April, with four winners. May came in second, with two winners. No winners in June, which is a first. Last year June produced the most winners. We are sure that this was due to the high water in June really messing up our fishing. Also, notice that most of our winners were caught on windy days. So, don't let the wind deter you from going out fishing.

Three women won again this year. Also notice that two wives of last year's winners won this time around (Kaye Philipps and Danielle Griffiths). We hope this does not bring about any marital discord. Also Bill Saager won, following his son Jason's win last year. As they say on "The Sopranos," it's a family affair.

The only repeat winner from last year was Tasha Forrester. The north beat the south, yet again, with the majority of winners from our home state of Illinois. We never know how to count Missouri, with the north or the south, so Tasha, please let us know.

Our contest winners will receive a 10% discount on their cabin this year. Congratulations!

So, look forward to a much better year of fishing in 2003. The high water is a small price to pay for the resulting great fishing on the lake for the next several years.

Walleye
6.5 lbs.
Frank Serna
Chicago, IL

April 25, 8 p.m.
Overcast, Windy
Trolling, 65 feet
Silver & Blue Shad Rap

Blue Gill
1.0 lb.
Kaye Philipps
Davis Junction, IL

May 15, 9 a.m.
Calm, Overcast, Cool
Blue & White Jig & Minnow

Largemouth
3.4 lbs.
Mike Young
Decatur, MI

April 3, 9 a.m.
Cold, Windy
Silver Flake & White Grub

Kentucky
2.7 lbs.
Tasha Forrester
St. Charles, MO

Sept. 20, 10 a.m.
Cloudy, Windy, Cool
Trolling, 30 feet
Lindy Rig
Black & Gold Blade
With Live Nightcrawler

Hybrid Striper
10.9 lbs.
Rich Gelden
Bristol, WI

April 22, 12:30 p.m.
Sunny
Silver & Blue Hot'n'Tot
35 feet

White Bass
3.5 lbs.
Bill Saager
Ottawa, IL

April 3, 3:15 p.m.
Sunny, Windy, Cold
Minnow

Rainbow Trout
1.6 lbs.
Danielle Griffiths
Joliet, IL

July 12, 8:55 a.m.
Sunny, Breezy
Blue & Chrome Pro King
28 feet, Downrigging

Smallmouth
3.7 lbs. 19 inches
Dennis Roberts
Mokena, IL

May 9, 11 a.m.
Cloudy, Windy, Cool
Trolling Deep
Blue & Silver Hot'n'Tot

Catfish
18 lb. Channel Catfish
Brian Deas
Bartlett, TN

August 1, morning
Hot, Sunny
Trot Line
Hot Dog

"Best" Area Restaurants

White Water Grill: This place is rumored to have some connection with President Bill Clinton's White Water scandal. It is owned by one of the White Water investors. The place is top notch. Food, service, atmosphere are all excellent.

Among the stand outs is their dinner salad which comes with the entree. It is by far the best salad in our area, with really good salad dressing too. Another standout is their french fried sweet potatoes. They also have excellent garlic mashed potatoes, as well as regular fries and baked potatoes if you prefer.

Their entrees are excellent. Great steaks. One of our oldest customers (number of years with us, not age), Bob Upton, claims that they really know their stuff when it comes to salmon, and he's really picky! They also have great catfish, Mexican dishes, fried chicken, and we hear they make a great portabella mushroom sandwich too.

New Restaurants:

"Best" List of Area Restaurants

PLEASE CHECK WITH US BEFORE YOU GO OUT TO ANY OF THESE RESTAURANTS. Find out in advance if we still stand behind these recommendations, and be sure to find out the days and times the restaurants are open, and whether or not reservations are recommended. Also, find out if they serve liquor and if a membership is required. Things could be mighty different than what you're used to.

Best Appetizer: 178 Club (Potato Skins), Bull Shoals

Best Atmosphere: Big Creek, Mountain Home, (Both are No Smoking)

Best Bar-B-Que: Couch's, (No Smoking)

Best Breakfast: Th'Barn Café (by far!), Oakland
Couch's Bar-B-Que, Mountain Home

Best Buffet: The Front Porch (Daily), Yellville

Best Entertainment: Hopper's Dinner Club, Mountain Home (music and drinks)

Best Hamburger: The Top Kat, Stateline, Missouri
The Back Forty, Mountain Home

Best Italian: Dino's, Mountain Home

Best Lunch: Eclectic Eggplant, NY Steamers, Mountain Home
Sodie's, Flippin

Best Oriental: Blossom Cafe -- all fresh ingredients and not overcooked! Vegetarian dishes plus Oriental and American beer and wine. (No Smoking)

Best Prime Rib: 178 Club (Saturdays), Bull Shoals

Best Ribs: Hopper's Dinner Club

Best Salad: Eclectic Eggplant, Chelsea's, White Water Grill,
Mountain Home

Best Seafood: 178 Club, Bull Shoals
Fred's Fish House, Mountain Home (catfish)

Best Steaks: 178 Club, Bull Shoals
Hopper's Dinner Club, Mountain Home

Best Sunday Brunch: Baxter Regional Medical Center, run by the Mariott food service.

Best Value: European House, Mountain Home
Th'Barn Café, Oakland

Best View: Gastons, overlooking the White River, Lakeview

New For 2003
        •Expanded Lake View
        •New Digs For Us
        •Out With The Old VCR's - In With The New DVD's

Expanded Lake View. The first thing you'll notice is our expanded view of the lake. We will be clearing out the trees behind the cabins to open up the lake view.

New Digs For Us. We are in the process of redoing our office cabin. The addition is 1,020 square feet of living space added onto the back of the cabin, and includes a bedroom, bath, kitchen with island and dining area, plus a great big great room. We also are putting on a new 16x52 ft. deck.

Work in progress
Rear View in Progress

The existing building is being remodeled to add a washer and dryer, a housekeeping and storage room with separate entrance to it, and an expanded office, while keeping the existing bath and one bedroom. New flooring and lighting will be added, the two fireplaces will be torn down, and it's going to have a new metal roof, new front door, and entry.

Work in progress
Front View in Progress

This addition will double our living space. We're so excited to finally be able to live like regular folks, and not be so packed in like sardines. We expect to be finished by April. We'd better be, because we are presently living in Cabin 7 and have to be out to make way for our guests.

 
 
Out With The Old VCRs - In With The New DVDs

We are replacing all the VCRs in the cabins with DVD players. There's no stopping progress, and we're not going to buy any more VCRs, since they are not making many and are harder to find, going the way of the eight-track tape players. So, don't bring any videos this trip, but do bring your DVDs, because we're just starting to collect them, and may not have such a big selection.

Improvements In 2002

You may have noticed that we have a brand-new fence. Ten feet high oak, along the entire 1,000 feet of frontage. We are letting it weather so it will look just like the old one, except it's still standing.

We also bought a new bass boat. It's 18 feet, a G3, which is a division of Yamaha, and has a 70 hp Yamaha motor, 2 live wells, front and rear, trolling motor, two LCDs, front and dash, console steering, electric start, 2 batteries, 30 gallon gas tank.

We bought a new refrigerator for cabin 1.

We had our pool shed redone with new insulation, door, and siding.

Our Plans

Most of you already know of our plans - somewhat. But, now is the time to spell it all out for you, since it will impact you, too.

First of all, we are putting our retirement plans into place, with the expectation that when Michael is 64 or 65, we will have already either slowed down or completely retired. Actually we don't believe we really want to completely retire, but it will depend on what happens this year. So, here are our options:

One option (option 2) is to sell the resort and the inn after this season. Another option, (option 1 and most favored) would be to sell each cabin individually, so that we can remain here and still stay as active as we want to or are able to. So, here are the details of each option, starting with our preferred option to sell off the cabins one by one.

Option 1

One reason that we like this option is that it will enable us to gradually slow down, instead of abruptly quitting work. Also it will allow us to live here, and we can't think of any place we'd rather be. The third reason is that sometimes the sum of the parts is greater than the whole, as far as our price.

Each cabin would include enough space around it to allow for expansion. The rest of the resort would be common ground owned by the association of owners. Our attorney will have to come up with the details of this arrangement, but we would assume each owner would get a vote on any changes to the association covenants, (for example, no manufactured homes, a limit on number of people per unit, restrictions on number of pets, no livestock, approval on changes/additions to the cabins, etc.). We expect each owner will get a boat stall, and will have to share costs of the pool, dock, maintenance of the grounds, etc. There should also be a fund to cover future costs, such as repairs to the fence, pool, dock, landscaping, or anything that the association would think would add to the value of their investment, such as paving the driveway or the road to the dock. Each owner would be responsible for their own cabin's upkeep.

We would stay in our cabin and would handle management of the resort, for most of you would like to rent out your cabins whenever possible if you aren't living here full time. This would also mean that you can write off any costs as a business deduction, at least until you move here, which we know from experience, at least 50% of you would like to do someday.

We are willing to do the financing for you, and because of the usury laws here in Arkansas, we are not allowed to charge the same interest rates as banks can charge, so unless you would be able to pay cash, or borrow interest-free from a relative, our rates will be lower than any you'll find. And this way, we will be able to get both the principal and the interest, which will benefit us too. We will ask that all who are interested pay us earnest money so that we can count on your commitment, which will determine if we can do this at all. If we do not have at least 5 units spoken for, we will have to reconsider the viability of this option. We do know that a lot of you have expressed interest already and will honor those first who have already spoken for a particular cabin.

Now as to prices, we are asking the following for each unit:

  • Cabin 1   $125,000 Deluxe 2-bedroom Cabin (½ of a duplex)
  • Cabin 2   $125,000 Deluxe 2-bedroom Cabin (½ of a duplex)
  • Cabin 3   $ 75,000 One-bedroom Cabin (Separate unit)
  • Cabin 4   $ 95,000 Deluxe 1-bedroom Cabin (Separate Unit)
  • Cabin 5   $ 75,000 One-bedroom Cabin (Separate Unit)
  • Cabin 6   $130,000 Deluxe 2-bedroom Cabin (Separate Unit)
  • Cabin 7   $130,000 Deluxe 2-bedroom Cabin (Separate Unit)
  • Office      Not for sale
  • Cabin 8   $135,000 Deluxe 2-bedroom Cabin (Separate Unit)
  • Cabin 9   $ 80,000 One-bedroom Cabin (Separate Unit)

Here's how we figure the cost: Because cabins 1 through 5 are on the east end, they lack the view of the lake of cabins 6 thru 9. Also, to a limited degree the best views are easier to book reservations for. Also deluxe cabins are much easier to book. So, if you are going to be renting your cabin, you will be able to recoup your costs much quicker. Also, you shouldn't need to do much remodeling, whereas you might want to renovate the small regular cabins.

Knowing the success we have had since building our deluxe cabins, we feel that all the deluxe cabins are priced reasonably, since they are a sure thing if you are going to be renting them. This will also make us happy, since we can still be actively involved in the resort business, but without the burden of doing everything ourselves.

We will be clearing the trees out from behind the cabins, which should open up the view of the lake greatly. We now own the land right behind the cabins, so we are going ahead with the clearing this winter. We will be leaving some of the big trees of course, plus some flowering and fruit-bearing trees for the birds.

If you are interested in purchasing any of these units, and to get the cabin you want, get in touch with us right away, since we already have several interested parties. We will ask that you put up 1% in earnest money right away, so that we can determine if this is doable. If for any reason we can't get enough interested buyers, your money will be refunded with interest. We will not begin to schedule any closings until the end of 2003 or thereafter, after all our confirmed reservations have been fulfilled.

Option 2

Our Second Option would be to sell most or all of the resort as a whole. The good thing about this is that we would be free to do as we please, with no immediate worries, which is also attractive, especially after a busy season. The problem with this option is we would have to price the resort around the total of all individual cabins, and this may be too steep to find a reliable buyer. However, several of our customers have asked to be notified if we ever decide to sell, and this would be the easier option.

If you are interested in being a resort owner, we can tell you that we have done quite well, but we have also had years of sacrifice to get to this point, and lots of hard work. If we could do it all over again, we would. It has been a great ride, and we hate to see it come to an end. But, we can't put off advancing age forever, and it is getting harder on us each year. So, we feel it is time to make plans for our future.

We are also planning to sell Black Oak Inn. Our asking price is $130,000. This is our separate facility of six motel units under one roof, and one utility room. There is also covered storage (six units), which we rent on an annual basis of $240 each. The motel rents for $42 a night, except for one bigger unit that rents for $54 a night. You have plenty of room for expansion, either a living quarters or more motel rooms. It's a half-mile from the marina, just about across from the Barn Café on Route 202. It has about 2 acres of land. Business is primarily the spring and summer right now, and, with someone living there at all time, could be even better. It has a new rubber roof guaranteed for 20 years, all new heat pumps, and the exterior has been recently painted. There is one interested party right now, and we plan on selling it in 2004.

To All Our Guests

We don't believe that there will be any great impact on your ability to book cabins with Black Oak Resort in future years. If the resort is sold as a whole, things should be about the same as always, except for the new owners, of course.

If the cabins are sold off individually, you have several options. You can buy one, and guarantee your stays and also make enough money to pay off your investment over the years to come. Or you can continue to stay in the cabin of your choice, since most cabins will still be rented out by the new owners. And we will still be here overseeing everything as we have in the past.

We aren't so much retiring as securing our financial future just in case something were to happen to either of us. So no matter what happens, Black Oak will continue in some form in future years. So not to worry, all should be well either way things work out.

New Fun Things To Do On Vacation

Michael has been golfing at all three of our 18-hole golf courses: Big Creek Golf & Country Club, Twin Lakes Golf Course and Rivercliff. Both Big Creek and Twin Lakes are in Mountain Home, while Rivercliff is on the White River in Bull Shoals. We are arranging special pricing for our guests. Check with us before you go golfing, but by all means bring your clubs, or better yet, go golfing with Michael, since he is going once a week now anyway.
 

Rivercliff Golf Course offers golf in the shadow of Bull Shoals Dam
Rivercliff is on the White
River in Bull Shoals.

Twin Lakes Golf Course offers 18 holes in Mountain Home
Twin Lakes Golf Course offers
18-hole golfing in Mountain Home.

You could go with Michael to two gun clubs (Twin Lakes Gun Club in Midway and Rockbridge Gun Club in Missouri) for sporting clay and skeet shooting, so bring your guns! Both clubs have one loaner gun to use if you don't have your own.

New Products

The only outstanding new product we tried this year is a form of ice cream called "Dots." Its little tiny balls of hard ice cream that create a real taste sensation in your mouth. The only place we've seen them is in the open kiosks in the shopping malls and at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. We tried the banana split flavor, and darned if it didn't taste exactly like the real thing. For those of you who like your ice cream rock solid, this is sooo good.

The other product you should try (if you have dogs) is something found in the freezer section called Frosty Paws. One of our guests, Jo Ann Logan, told us about this product. It's not ice cream, but it is frozen, looks like ice cream, comes in small cups, and our dogs absolutely love them. We give them as a treat about once a week when our dogs have been especially good. (NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION).

Since we obviously didn't try many new products this year, we'll mention that our very favorite restaurant is The Olive Garden. Some of our guests laugh at us, but it is outstanding for the price, and the service is the best. We really like their soup, salad and breadsticks, and almost always order the mussels as our appetizer. You should also try their pizza. It's better than all the pizza chains. We like the chocolate mint they bring with the bill also!

Black Oak Resort Policies, Special Customer Discounts & Incentives

We thought that some of you may not know that we have several special discounts available:

10% Repeat Customer Discount. After you have stayed with us once, anytime you return, you are entitled to a 10% discount off your cost of your cabin. Stipulations:

1. Discount applies if we have received your deposit by the end of January of the year in which you have reservations.

2. Discount applies on stays of three days or longer.

3. Discount applies on stays between May and August. Other off-season rates apply for September through April.

4. Discount applies to the cost of your cabin rental only -- not to equipment rentals, merchandise, or licenses.

10% Referral Discount. If you refer a new customer to our resort, you are entitled to a discount on your cabin equal to 10% off the cost of their cabin. This is the most inexpensive way to advertise our resort: word of mouth. This discount applies to any length stay for anytime of year. The only stipulations are that the new guest must have completed their stay at the time we apply your discount to the cost of your cabin. If not, then you will have a credit off on your next stay. Only one discount can be given on any new customer. Also, this discount applies to repeat customers only.

Note: In order to qualify for these discounts, we must have you on record as a repeat customer. If we have no way to verify that, then you would be required to provide proof. Of course, we know most of our repeat customers, but if you are part of a large group in one cabin, then we may not have your name recorded. Make sure that we get everyone's name when your group arrives.

Antique Car For Sale

1965 Ford Mustang for sale1965 Ford Mustang, V8, Poppy Red with White Vinyl Top, 2-door Automatic, Excellent Condition, Can Be Driven Home. Start the bidding at $12,000. Owner has right to refuse bid.

This car is owned by Junior and Geraldine Queary (Gerry works here). You know cars in the South hold up much better than in the North. No salt on the highways here! And Gerry is a clean freak, so you know that the car has been meticulously cared for.

If You're Considering Retiring or Relocating

Bull Shoals Lake in the Arkansas OzarksWe know that many of you love this area so much, you move in! Jim and Vicki Jensen, both realtors with Larry Black & Associates, Inc. in Mountain Home, are your best real estate contacts! Jim and Vicki live in Oakland, so they know all there is to know about the area, and would be glad to talk to you. They can be reached at the office (877) 425-9898, or at home (870) 431-8355. Or you can visit their Web site: www.larryblackandassoc.com.


Our Web Site

Our Web site is updated often, so if you haven't checked it out lately, you might want to take a look at it.

It has every fishing contest result going back to 1991, and shows the biggest fish ever caught at Black Oak in each category. It also has all the recipes published in past years' newsletters, as well as the complete newsletter from every year. So it's loaded with information.

It has a section on subscribing to our e-newsletter. It also has a section for inquiring about available dates for reservations.

Also, please visit our Favorite Links page, where you'll find restaurants and things to do in our area, as well as informative Web sites such as the Arkansas Web site. You may also set up a reciprocal link with our Web site.

We also encourage you to send us your photos for inclusion in our e-newsletters. Please provide caption information in detail!

Black Oak Resort
P.O. Box 100
Oakland, Arkansas 72661
(870) 431-8363
E-mail: vacation@blackoakresort.com

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