Arkansas, bet you thought we went straight to Hot Springs and made a time of it, huh? Well, you’re wrong. We went Ft Smith, then Lake Ft. Smith, then Fayetteville, then back to Ft. Smith, back to Fayetteville, then up to Rogers, then over to Eureka Springs, then back to Rogers then headed out of state.
Did you get all that?
Yeah, I know.
In actuality though, our planned stop was Hot Springs, so I’m about as basic as it gets in my planning.
Better luck next time I suppose.
We ended up running in what felt like circles, but it worked out just fine. Sometimes when men are involved it gets a little confusing, am I right?
Ryan had a couple of stops for work and it let us see some beautiful scenery around Northwest Arkansas!
The first night we took quite a scary and twisty ride through the mountains to get down to Lake Ft Smith. Had a great time at the park but only stayed one night. It isn’t too far from Devil’s Den State Park which Ryan and I visited a while back and I could remember the switchbacks in the road to get down there….VERY DIFFERENT IN A BUS!
And by different I mean Scary as all get out!
Of course, on the ride out of the park our great google maps told us a different route. A scarier route. Like, I was sweating and couldn’t take my eyes off the road, and (in Ryan’s words) had our cheeks clenched tightly!
It was the closest to a heart attack I’ve ever been I’m sure.
So after surviving that we had a day at Fort Smith riding the trolley and eating some scrumptious food at Brickhouse. Sea Salt Caramel Sweet Potato Fries with bacon. Seriously? I’m not even ashamed to say we licked the plate. And how small is this world? Small enough that our waitress knew people from our church. She text them while we were there. So strange that you can be so far from home and still have these connections!
After exploring the Fort and the kids earning their Ranger badges, we headed to a park in Fayetteville. This was the most enchanting little park we’ve ever seen. And the houses around the park were gorgeous! Wide front porches, ceiling fans, beautiful rock walls with stunning landscaping and rocking chairs. I could just imagine how amazing it would be with a blanket of white snow over it! A great porch for hot cocoa or iced tea!
But this park, guys. A local artist designed and crafted the entire thing. It was rocks and water and so many “hazards” in modern day thinking but it was pure magic with spires and faces and bridges and butterflies.
Next was Eureka Springs – a super cute little place. But again. Bus. Twisting little narrow roads. Not enjoyable. Beautiful, but more of a motorcycle kind of trip.
Then we stopped at the Crescent Hotel and walked around. Google the hotel, super interesting stuff, that one. And what do you know, they had a piano in the lobby that Walt Disney himself had purchased for WaltDisneyWorld’s Mainstreet. The owner of the hotel purchased it when Mainstreet retired it. Leave it to me to find Disney in the hills of Arkansas!
Anyways, lots of Bed and Breakfasts and walking hand in hand is what Eureka Springs calls for. Not chasing kids downhill as they splatter on the sidewalk catching momentum and screaming – which Benjamin and James both did a handful of times.
We stopped at the War Eagle Mill and Hobbs State Park. Both fantastic little spots. The Mill had a great working mill where you could watch the process and also purchase gifts and local artisan doodads. We picked up delicious salt water taffy and a bag of Cinnamon Pecan waffle mix with some sweet potato butter (Had the waffles and the sweet potato butter the next morning. YUM!). Then headed upstairs to grab lunch at the restaurant. All in all it was worth the stop to check out the Mill and the Park – which had a fantastic Nature Center and Lookout for birdwatching.
So there was a lot for Arkansas to show us in a short amount of time really. We were on the road more than we would have thought or planned, but the kids did great and we had a great time. It is very clear to see that the states motto is something they strive to bring to life as well which is great!
Fantastic parks, beautiful panoramas, great ole Arkansas, the Natural State.