More often than not, our little getaways, the ones meant for us to escape the world, don’t quite live up to their billing. It’s not that we don’t make the effort; escaping the crowds simply isn’t that easy, especially when you don’t want to give up the luxuries of a “real” vacation. There are very few places that allow a total escape from the outside world in addition to providing all the perks and relaxations of true luxury. StoneWater Cove Resort is one of those few places. Located two hours (South West) of Springfield, MO, facing Table Rock Lake, surrounded by the Mark Twain National Forest, the resort is an experience not to be missed.


To understand the inspiration for the wondrous world that is StoneWater Cove Resort, you have to know the story about the people who envisioned this vast 500-acre natural playground. Ten years ago, the Bond family owned a small bit of land in the area, returning every year with their three children to enjoy the outdoors. Having invested in local real-estate development, Mr. Bond decided to build his own resort just steps from Table Rock Lake. Every inch of the resort is inspired by the family, from the activities, to the decor and the food. So when you arrive at StoneWater Cove Resort, it’s kind of like getting the keys to a friends cottage, but, unlike your friend’s cabin, all the lights work, the water runs, the furniture is not from the 1950s, the ATV’s work, the boat is full of gas, and there is a spa to tend to your more sensible needs. The Bonds built the resort with fun, adventure, and relaxation in mind, and for a few days, you can enjoy the unforgettable world they created.


StoneWater Cove Resort is a great place to bring a family, relax with your most loved one, or have a corporate getaway that everyone will remember. It’s got anything and everything one could want for an amazing getaway.


Forest Activities:

Horseback riding: During the late spring and autumn you can saunter over the gentle hills and through the peaceful trees on friendly horses.


ATV rides: For a high energy forest adventure, a favorite activity for many guests, experienced guides lead whirlwind tours on trails that meander up and down through the forest foothills.


Ziplining and a ropes course: Experience the thrill of sailing over the treetops on an exhilarating zipline ride or build teamwork and strengthen family bonds with professionally guided obstacles on the Chevron ropes course.


Skeet shooting and archery: Learn a new skill, brush up on a rusty one, or just have fun practicing your skeet shooting skills on the prairie then test your skills with a bow and arrow via archery sessions.


Water Activities:

Fishing and boating: Test your talents at catching bass fish on Table Rock Lake, known as one of the world’s clearest freshwater lakes, with hundreds of tree-lined coves creating the perfect setting for fishermen of all skill levels. Enjoy a professionally guided leisure boat ride that provides a stunning view of the Mark Twain National Forest from the peaceful waters of Table Rock Lake.


Wakeboarding, knee boarding and waterskiing are available for beginners or experts. Also, water tubing is another option for family fun.  Bonus points: A tournament slalom ski course is available three minutes away via boat rides from the resort.


Kayaking and canoeing: Venture out on the water to explore the shoreline full of hidden alcoves and stunning waterfalls.


Meeting Room: With plenty of room for a small group of executives, everyone will feel inspired by this unique working environment.


The activities are great fun, and the guides are very knowledgeable and friendly. On my trip to StoneWater Cove Resort in February, I rode ATV’s in and out of the forest for hours and then went Ziplining several times, each time getting closer and closer to the feeling that I was superman.


After a day of activities, guests can retire to the main laugh for food and indoor activities or head back to their room for a hot bath.


The Main Lodge  

The main lodge is where your experience starts at StoneWater Cove Resort. Check-in is simple, so you don’t feel like you are checking into a hotel. Peeking out around the corner from the check in area, there are huge windows, which face Table Rock Lake.

The main lodge was designed to create a family atmosphere. The formal dining room faces Table Rock Lake. Diners sit in groups of six, at huge wood tables that promote conversation. The decor in the dining room is rustic, centered around a huge fire place that runs down the the second floor, accented by stone and wood. Downstairs, there is a less formal dining area and huge couches facing the fireplace, where guests can relax after a day of activities. Downstairs there is a huge television room, outfitted with a Nintendo Wii and bean bag chairs that are perfect for unwinding. 


The Food

The food at StoneWater Cove Resort fits the atmosphere of the resort. It feels home cook, but has flair that most home chefs could not reproduce. Executive Chef ……. made two wonderful dinners during my stay. The first night Chef … served up an amazing four course meal:


onion au gratin


baby back ribs

chicken and shrimp skewers

southern fried catfish


texas style baked beans

southern style bake potato salad

jalapeno and green chile cornbread

garlic and french bread


brownie pile up

The ribs were cooked to perfection. Contrary to popular belief, ribs that are perfectly cooked do not fall off the bone; they have just a slight bit of chew to them, similar to a tender steak. The southern fried catfish was outstanding, so I helped myself to second on this plate.


The second night was chef’s … big night. With all the guest leaving in the morning, this would be the last impression we had of StoneWater cove. The chef pulled out all the stops, creating a unique but hardy meal.


consommé celestine


wilted spinach



trio of filet roulade, shrimp and pork tenderloin with seasonal vegetables drizzled in espresso sauce


blackberry flambé

The entree was a symphony of different tastes that I was initially skeptical about. But this was a wonderful representation of a southern style meal that incorporated unique elements, like wasabi. The food at StoneWater Cove Resort really did fit with the entire experience.


The Rooms

Each room at StoneWater Cove Resort is uniquely designed by Ms. Bond. They were all inspired by a different center piece. My room felt like it was built specifically for me. The sealing was wrapped with brown leather that matched the headboard of the bed and the chairs in the seating area. The room was finished with a perfect contrast of dark and light wood that made me feel like I was in my dream room. it featured a giant bathroom with a rainfall shower for two and a huge bathtub that calls to you the moment you lay eyes on it. Everything in my room flowed perfectly, from the decor to every functional space. I know they call this the “brown” room, but I might have to start a petition to have it renamed “matthew.”


The rest of the rooms are just as beautiful, and the attention to detail in each room is impeccable. Each room is rustic, so you are not going to be getting any ultra-modern blue lighting or cold impersonal steel tables in this joint. Rooms are simply warm and full of love.


By Matthew Cloutier


Contact Information:

1257 Sunset Timbers Trail

Shell Knob, MO 65747

(800) 792-3956