In response to a post on Arkansas Women Bloggers about Favorite Arkansas Things by Planting Dandelions authoress Kyran Pittman, here are my Arkansas hotspot picks with my own particular twist toward the active lifestyle I want to lead. I’ve added to and embellished her suggestions with italics.
Favorite stretch of road in Arkansas to drive: The Pig Trail, Arkansas Hwy 23
Favorite stretch of road in Arkansas to cycle: The Wye Mountain loop on Hwys 10, 300 and 113 because it’s beautiful scenery and an incredible workout.
Favorite stretch of trail in Arkansas to cycle: There are so many but my favorite might be one of the very first trails I ever got my wheels on, Cedar Glades in Hot Springs. It’s still a great trail and holds good memories for me.
Favorite time of year in Arkansas: Autumn, because it gets cool enough to be outside more, it’s great camping weather and oh my heavens the TREES!
Favorite place to eat fancy in Arkansas: I don’t eat fancy because on the weekends it’s tough to catch me in anything other than sweaty technical gear or convertible hiking pants. I have had nice meals at places like Ermilio’s and Rogue’s Castle in Eureka Springs, and Vesuvio’s in Little Rock but I’m not sure if that’s fancy. I think it’s fancy if I wasn’t wearing running shoes when I ate there.
Favorite place to eat casual in Arkansas: The Pantry. Because it seems like it should be fancy but they don’t mind if I’m wearing workout clothes sometimes. It doesn’t hurt that the owner is a cyclist and most of the staff are active as well. I see my favorite waitperson out on the trails more often than I see her in the restaurant. I also really enjoy the Capital Hotel Bar and Grill because once again, they let me in while wearing my cycling clothes and have valet parked my bike for me while I have lunch. Score! I don’t think they’ll let me in Ashley’s looking like that but maybe they would, I’ve never tried. That would definitely go on the fancy list.
Favorite place to get away in Arkansas with a roof: Probably a cabin Mt. Magazine, I want to relax and enjoy the hot tub and the view of the woods without a lot noise or hustle and bustle. Lately though I’m becoming more and more enamored with the Bentonville/Rogers area. It feeds all my loves, trails, art, good food, a little history, some good music and always the nicest people.
Favorite place to get away in Arkansas without a roof: Any of our beautiful forest areas but my favorite backpacking area to date has to be the 26.8 mile Eagle Rock Loop in the Albert Pike Recreation Area. That loop has everything that is wonderful about the Natural State. Forest, creeks, the Little Mo, steep climbs, hard descents, beautiful trail, and peace, lots of peace.
Favorite place to walk in Arkansas: A trail. Any trail. But if I have to pick a spot in close to home where I walk a lot I’ll go for the Ouachita Trail starting at Pinnacle Mountain State Park and going out as far as my feet and time will carry me. Two Rivers Park has been a favorite place to walk and play with the family for years.
Favorite thing that grows in Arkansas: Callicarpa americana, the American beauty berry, and cypress trees, I love their knees.
Favorite place to swim in Arkansas: Lake Ouachita, mostly because I don’t like to be IN the water as much as I like to be ON the water and it’s a great place for kayaking/canoeing or paddleboarding.
Favorite colorful expression or place name in Arkansas: Possum Grape. Who wouldn’t want to say “I’m from Possum Grape.”?
Favorite fair or festival in Arkansas: That’s a tough one because I avoid crowds which also means fairs and festivals are not my thing. I guess Riverfest used to be my favorite and I just haven’t found a new one. Arkansas is RIFE with great little festivals like the Hope Watermelon festival. It’s not a festival per se but my favorite seasonal event is Christmas in Candlelight at Historic Washington State Park.
I hope my list made you think about places you haven’t visited yet or brought back memories of places you love as much as I do. The challenge is to take this list, answer it for yourself, then make a list of places you haven’t been yet. I challenge you to make an Arkansas Bucket List to post on your own blog or share it in the comments here.