Some months ago I subscribed to a free email newsletter called Only in Arkansas. Several times a week I receive information and absolutely gorgeous pictures of places to go and things to do in the Natural State.
One of the best advantages of living in Arkansas (besides the fact it’s a beautiful state) is the minimal distances between points of interest. Under one hundred miles can equal a nice day trip with an early start, especially during Daylight Savings Time when it’s light until 8 PM. And day trips save big bucks on hotels and too many meals out.
Being located pretty much in the center of the state, only about 40+ miles from the capital of Little Rock, I’m in a position to go any direction with ease. If I don’t want to mess with interstates (and the conglomeration of same in LR isn’t fun), backroads are available. They’re not four lanes, of course, and sometimes they’re pretty winding, but they’ll get you where you’re going with less stress than an interstate. (And being retired, who’s in a hurry?)
You’re not from Arkansas? Go here and select your own state--or any other for that matter--to find the delights awaiting you.
I prefer to travel in the fall when the weather is nicer, but day trips in an air-conditioned car to see air-conditioned places or sit outside in the shade with a cool breeze blowing works for the hotter months.
My first day trip will be the 80+ mile drive to Mena, arriving mid-morning for a late breakfast, probably at the Skyline Café touted for its down-home cooking, and a trip to the Visitor Center (no website link available) which is, I understand, a must-do. Then a leisurely day of strolling around town, making sure to stop in the Mena Antique Mall and The Mercantile Before leaving, I’ll drive around to check out some fantastic B&Bs (Jansen Park Place, Johnson Manor , ABears Den, and Rainey Day Resort for possible writing retreats at a later date. I can’t leave without driving up to Queen Wilhelmina State Park for the view. Leaving as late as 6 PM will get me home by 8, but I’ll probably not cut it that close.
I love researching new locations to visit and find the smaller places much more interesting than the traditional tourist spots. Friendly folks always ready to chat about their town is the icing on the cake. There used to be some television advertisement that said, “getting there is half the fun”--and I find the planning to be the same. Planning makes sure I don’t miss the important things--and have time to see them!