Medieval James Himself

Medieval James Himself
Guide at Ozark Medieval Fortress

Friday, December 10, 2010

What Is the Ozark Medieval Fortress Tour Like?

Glad you asked. This is my favorite question.  It is usually asked where the tour begins - at the ticket counter in the gift shop, where I often greet guests.  Officially, tour guests gather in a special room that has awesome aerial photos of the castle site.  After a brief behind-the-scenes informational introduction, we begin down the gravel trail.  The first stop is a full-sized medieval Motte and Bailey wooden fortress in the forest. The next stop is the Wool Cottage and farm site where the Goodwife talks textiles and kids can feed the sheep.  We pass the garden with all the herb information, and then on to the weapons and hunting discussion and 13-Knot Rope presentation (a big part of medieval castle construction technique). 

Just before arriving at the Gate House of the Castle, we stop for a presentation by the Quarryman on how the limestone is split with a tool right from France of the Middle Ages.  At the Gate House we explain the castle project itself and point out things like the Tread-wheel Crane, Trebuchet,  and the many artisans.  At that point guests are free to visit with all the artisans: masons at the wall, basket weaver, blacksmith, stone carvers, potter, carpenters, horse carter, rope maker and woodcutters as well as special displays. 

The tour lasts just under an hour and is about ¾ of a mile long.  (Boy, it goes fast for me and I enjoy visiting with the guests.)  It is another ¼ mile up past the Fortress back to the Visitor’s Center, though, so figure a mile of walking.  The Ozark Medieval Fortress park is 50 acres and gives guests the option to not take the guided tour. You get so much more out of the visit accompanying a guide - background, historical perspective, and the chance to ask questions one-on-one.  The average visit to the castle lasts half a day, and many guests stay the whole day.  Come see why.

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