If you’re a fan of Netflix’s Ozark, you know much of the award-winning series’ dizzying story begins at a little family-owned resort at Lake of the Ozarks, the Blue Cat Lodge.
And if you’re a superfan of Ozark, you know that the Blue Cat Lodge was modeled—in very specific ways—after Alhonna Resort, a real resort on the shores of the Lake of the Ozarks. Resorts like Alhonna were a staple of family vacations between the 1950s and 1980s. Bill Dubuque, the creator of the series, grew up in St. Louis, and worked summers at Alhonna in the 1980s. Dubuque’s real experiences at Alhonna are woven into Ozark’s script and setting. But these are more than easter eggs; they add depth to the place and people of the show. Some moments of continuity with the real Lake of the Ozarks are obvious, but other elements are noticeable just to those who have been here a long time. And plenty of people have been coming to Alhonna for decades.
The original eight, rustic cabins were built in the early 50s by “Al” and “Honna” Vilmin. The resort has always a space for folks to slow down and enjoy time with family and friends, a place filled with childhood memories of first catches and roasted marshmallows. The sentiment may have inspired Marty Byrd’s monologue at the bar when he tries to gain the resort owner’s trust. In Season 1, Episode 2, Marty—trying to impress the resort owners for his own purposes—praises the Blue Cat staff, pointing to a photo on the wall and saying, “Whoever took this photo told this kid to push this fish forward so it looked bigger in the picture, because he wanted to make this memory as special as possible, because he cared. That happens here.” Alhonna really is that kind of place. There, families create moments that become lifelong traditions.
The iconic resort—gaining steam in recent years thanks, in part, to the Netflix show—is now for sale. The Shafer and Gross families bought the resort with her family in 1980. Under their leadership, the business has boomed. After 31 years, the family is ready to pass Alhonna into good hands: the resort is for sale.
The resort was just listed with local agents Mike Swift & Clara Decker with EXP’s Swift & Co Realty. “We are flattered to have the opportunity to sell not only a piece of Lake history but also a piece of current pop culture,” Decker said.
All About Alhonna
Alhonna is perched on a 3.99-acre lot at the entrance of a cove on the Lake of the Ozarks’ 8 Mile Marker, with 1,354 feet of shoreline. Its location is as ideal as it gets: less than a mile from the convergence of the Lake’s Gravois Arm and Main Channel, in the midst of some of the most popular stretch of the Lake for boaters, and just one cove away from two of the Lake’s most popular waterfront hotspots: Camden on the Lake/H. Toad’s and Shady Gators.
With 62 guest rooms, Alhonna is capable of hosting hundreds of guests any weekend, with one- two- three- and four-bedroom units.
The resort is a fisherman’s favorite, hosting 20 fishing tournaments a year, expanding the resort’s season from early-spring to late-fall. Indoor and outdoor pools offer plenty of places for guests to lounge and kids to play. A toddler pool and playground make the place even more obviously built for family fun.
One notable decoration in both Ozark’s Blue Cat Lodge and the historic Alhonna is a 46-pound catfish mounted behind the bar. Lake of the Ozarks has three main types of catfish: channel cats, flathead cats, and—typically the largest—blue cats. With hundreds of anglers coming through Alhonna each year, one of the owners, Sheryl Elia notes, “Blue cats are a pretty big deal around here.”
The famous Bobber’s Restaurant and Lounge, a popular breakfast spot on the Lake, especially for anglers, features full kitchen and banquet-prep amenities. It’s not just breakfast, though: the restaurant is open for three meals a day, with the Big Bobber burger, several styles of chicken wings, and plenty more on the menu. Bobber’s 75-person banquet room is perfect for family gatherings or small events.
In addition to the guest rooms, restaurant and banquet hall’s revenue streams, Alhonna also puts its 123 boat slips, 14 rental boats, and full gas dock to work.
The iconic resort’s asking price is $7,000,000.
Swift added, “This is such a unique opportunity here at the Lake. We have not just had interest from local buyers, we also have talked to investors from all over the country. There has been such a spotlight on the Lake lately, lots of people are looking to invest in such a thriving and growing tourist destination. You could not have better neighbors with Shady Gators, Camdenton on the Lake and Tap and Grill within a mile by water. Also Supercat Fest & Lake Race are right in front of Alhonna which makes for five holidays weekends at the 7 & 8 Mile Marker. The current owners are some of the nicest people I have met at the Lake and have have had such an amazing run. It will be exciting to see what the new owners do to the property when the torch gets passed.”
View a virtual tour of the property, at the link below:
View the Alhonna listing online, here: https://www.swiftandcorealty.com/details.php?mls=55&mlsid=3539453
View more Swift & Co. Listings at SwiftAndCoRealty.com