Make your first stop in the town of Ponca, and let your spirits soar with a hot-air balloon ride ($245 per person). Trip guide Mike Mills at the Buffalo Outdoor Center takes his silky sensations out in the early mornings. (Make reservations at least a day in advance.)
When it's time to eat, head to Jasper and the Ozark Cafe, a fixture in the area since 1909. They make a fine country-fried steak for lunch. Their fried cheesecake ($3.99), wrapped in a tortilla and fried to a crisp, is so good it defies logic.
This area claims galleries such as the Old Carriage House in Jasper. The red, barn-like structure sits off State 7 and features the creations of owner-artist Rebecca Holden and local craftspeople. Wind chimes, old-fashioned toys, handmade jewelry, leaves and flowers fashioned from copper, and pottery stock the shelves.