Arkansas is a beautiful place to visit, with rolling hills of forests separating farms, towns and roads. If I had to compare it to an area where I grew up, it would probably be most similar to Pennsylvania.
Without being too harsh, the stereotypes of Arkansas are anything but flattering. I think part of growing up is having the opportunity to break down stereotypes and form your own opinions, and Arkansas’ landscape made this an easy task to accomplish.
We made the trip to Fayetteville last weekend to visit the University of Arkansas and some family members. Flying into Tulsua, OK around nine at night on Friday, most of the city was already asleep. Finding a gas station that was still opened on our way to UA was a fruitless task, leaving us out of cash in what is perhaps the one part of the country that you should never be without.
My first real glimpse of Fayetteville and Arkansas came early Saturday morning. The air was crisp, which was a nice break from the humid air of Houston. Most of the trip was spent catching up with friends and family, making it as much a relaxing break as a sight seeing vacation.
While visiting we headed up to Bentonville (yes, home of Walmart) to take a look at Crystal Bridges, an art museum being built by one of the Walton kids on a creek in the hills. The trail to get to the opening where the building is being constructed was perfect for a fall walk. Since we don’t get seasons here in Texas, it was nice to enjoy the changing of the leaves and cool temperatures.
The future site of the museum is quiet impressive, with massive copper plated roofs and concrete construction. A creek/river/lake will run through the middle of the building’s footprint on it’s opening day, 11-11-11, lending to the natural theme of it’s location. I’m anxious to see what the building will eventually house. It’s already been added to the to-do list for the next trip.
No trip log, such as this, would be complete without mentioning the food. While we only visited a handful of restaurants during our stay, they were all quiet good. I had a sushi roll at Shogun that was like nothing I’ve had before. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of it, but trust me, the presentation (it was on fire) was as impressive as it’s smoky flavor.
We were also treated to some home cooked goodness compliments of the family. Hana’s parents stopped on their way to Fayetteville and picked up smoked bacon and farm raised eggs, along with some homemade bread. This made for, hands down, the best omelet I’ve ever had.
It wouldn’t have been a college visit if we didn’t swing by UA for a tour and some drinks. The college itself is nice and hilly. I’m glad I didn’t have to trek across those hills when I was in school. I was way too lazy for that action. The university inscribes all graduates names into the sidewalks of the college, going back to it’s first class in the 1870’s. The oldest names are weathered and the class is only a few people. It really emphases the university’s history in the area.
Most of the college bars are located off of a main campus road called Dickson street. The close proximity and variation was great for bar hopping, and we did just that. Even though it rained most of the night, all of the bars we stopped at were busy as can be, with live bands and plenty to drink. I’m a fan of Jazz and Blues music, so it’s no surprise that my favorite stop of the night, a newer bar called Legacy Blues, had live music and classic drinks.
I can almost guarantee this wont be my last trip to the Ozarks for more reasons than one. It just goes to show you, you can’t judge a place until you’ve been there.