And it sits in the "Folk Music Capital of the World."

By Stacey Leasca
July 12, 2021
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Two hours north of Little Rock, Arkansas sits the quaint town of Mountain View. Home to fewer than 3,000 people, Mountain View isn't exactly a mega-metropolis. But that's okay because what it lacks in noise, crowds, and hustle and bustle, it more than makes up for it with relaxation, charm, and unique stays at places like Fireside Retreats.

Located a few minutes up the road from the center of town, travelers can check into a glamping destination that gives any luxury hotel a run for its money. No, it's not a building or a tent, but rather a renovated school bus, hand designed by its owner, Emily Conley.

Fireside Retreats Glamping Bus in Mountain View, Arkansas
Credit: Courtesy of Fireside Retreats

"My friend Seth and I did the renovation. I'm more the 'ideas' person, and he makes my dreams come to life," Conley, owner of Fireside Retreats, shared with Travel + Leisure. "This was very different from our typical construction projects. Let's just say, nothing is plumb and square on a bus."

Stepping inside the bus will certainly give you childhood flashbacks, but once your eyes focus on all the chic touches all that will be forgotten.

In the bus, guests will enter the living room area, which comes complete with a pull-out couch, television, and plenty of games for a night in. Moving further in they'll come upon a complete kitchen with all the essentials, including a stovetop, sink, toaster oven, and mini-fridge. Keep going and they'll come to the bathroom (yes, the toilet works and the shower is hot), before coming to the back to a cozy bed stacked with pillows. It's a space that feels more like a Bali or Venice Beach bungalow than a woodland spot, but the juxtaposition of the tall trees and humid air outside make it clear that this is Arkansas chic all the way.

"The first time I realized converted school buses were a 'thing' I knew I wanted one. There's something about a quirky tiny space that I'm so drawn to. Beyond that, my style is what I would call 'modern cozy,'" Conley said. "Knowing the intention behind the design was to create a cozy and comfy glamping getaway I wanted the space to feel almost luxurious (for a bus) and to be light and airy, with layers. So, cue the white paint and lots of pillows. I also like to use natural elements when possible, so the locally sourced live-edge wood countertops were really important to me. They just feel special."

The bus is fit for up to four guests at once, and that includes four-legged friends as well. And though the spot is stunning, Conley (and this writer) encourage guests to get out and explore the town, which is filled with adorable cafes, antique shops, and is well-known as a musical haven.

"Mountain View is an amazing town with rich cultural history and some of the most beautiful landscape in our region," Conley said. "We're known for being the Folk Music Capital of the World, and you can hear local musicians playing near the Court Square just about any time."

Conley added, there's plenty to do for nature lovers, too, including miles of trails for hiking and running just outside the bus' doors.

"Our creeks are cold and clear, perfect for floating and swimming, and the trout fishing in the White River is world class," Conley told T+L. "You can enjoy lunch and shopping on Court Square, take a class at the Arkansas Craft School, explore the Village at the Ozark Folk Center, find adventure at Blanchard Springs Caverns, or just get out in nature for a hike, a swim, a canoe trip, or build a good ol' campfire and cook s'mores."

Conley does have one note of warning: "Well, it's a school bus. If you're over 6' tall you may have to bend your knees a little."

Check out the entire listing, which starts at $74/night here.