If you’re a long-time Arkansan, you may remember the days when our license plates had “Land of Opportunity” printed across the bottom. If you’re a VERY long-timer, you may even remember when Arkansas was called “The Wonder State.” While you may agree that they’re both appropriate nicknames for our beautiful home, do you know how they originated? Well, it’s an interesting story.
The story of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem is one that is deeply familiar to many of us who grew up attending church every Sunday. It is the cornerstone of the Christmas season as it precedes the birth of the Jesus, and I have many sweet (and a couple of funny) memories of my daughters portraying angels and various farm animals at our church when they were small.
Winter has arrived, and social media is blowing up with folks sharing colorful descriptions of the frigid temperatures we’re experiencing in Arkansas. But for a few hours last Saturday, one place in Springdale was warm and toasty, full of smiles and friendly faces. For a little while, at Shiloh Museum of Ozark History’s “Cabin Fever Reliever,” we forgot that water bottles were freezing in our cars.
Everyone knows we are surrounded by natural beauty in Arkansas. Our landscapes range from wide open Delta to rugged mountain ranges and everything in between. For that reason, and thanks to a lot of folks who work in tourism, Arkansas has made it onto a number of lists of places to visit to ride bicycles. But some folks prefer their riding to involve significantly less sweat and significantly more speed. And Arkansas has them covered as well.
We all know, on some level, that if something serious happened to the local cell phone towers or the satellites communicating with them, it would be almost impossible to connect with others in case of an emergency. But there are amateur radio operators across Arkansas and beyond who are ready to step in when our “modern” forms of communication become unreliable.
Fans of the reality show Project Runway are probably already familiar with the Liberian-born fashion designer making her home in Little Rock, Korto Momolu. She was the first runner-up in the finale of the fifth season of the show and was chosen by viewers as the “Fan Favorite.” She went on to appear in two seasons of Project Runway All Stars.
Arkansas has a stellar history of citizens who are committed to serving others. From politicians to medical pioneers, civil rights activists and war heroes, we have a long list of sons and daughters of our home state in which we are proud. Following in this great tradition of service and self-sacrifice is the founder of the Rogers-based organization, Sheep Dog Impact Assistance.
It really isn’t hard to find a place to chill out in Arkansas. With the abundance of lakes and rivers, beautiful views from mountaintops and back-country trails, we don’t have to travel far to find some time to commune with nature and do a little “forest bathing”. (That’s a real thing, look it up!!)
But some places are better than others for getting quiet, so we’ve put together a little list of places that make meditating easier.
There are a lot of reasons to appreciate the population growth Northwest Arkansas has experienced over the last twenty-odd years. Diversity, cultural entertainment options, retail accessibility are a few. But I would be lying if I said that the rise in the number of places to find good pie wasn’t also on the list.
Arkansas is home to a wide variety of landscapes and ecosystems, from the Ozark Plateau in the north, to the Delta in the east and south, and vast swaths of rich former prairie in the middle. And we can’t forget the amazing stands of pine forests on the western border. In each of these areas, there are wildflowers that can be found almost year-round.
For many of us, summertime in Arkansas brings to mind the sound of the electric ice cream maker. There are still electric ice cream makers available for sale in the world – some even have a cool vintage look with the little wooden barrel sides. But when you have an option for creamy, cold goodness available from a local food truck, the time and effort involved in making it yourself is greatly diminished. Hence, the popularity of a Fayetteville favorite, Chunky Dunk: A Milk & Cookies Truck.
As a writer, a good cup of coffee and free wi-fi is not just a luxury, it’s practically a requirement. There are days that, if I tried to work from home, the ever-present housekeeping tasks would intrude on my focus and prevent me from sitting down and getting words written. On those procrastination days, I have to pack up my laptop and planner and get out of the house, and I recently found a new spot that I’m loving a lot.
Taking a stroll around the Fayetteville, Arkansas square on a Saturday morning during farmers’ market season is a kind of Nirvana for anyone interested in the art and science of people-watching. It’s part social outing, part grocery shopping, part entertainment event, all rolled into one square block of one of the prettiest town squares in the state.
One booth that has steady sales and lots of return customers each week is Dripping Springs Garden.
School is out, the sun is shining, and for folks near Northwest Arkansas who love rusty old metal anything, handmade and unique accessories and home decor, vintage landscape paintings and ALL the old feedsack quilts, it’s also time for the Spring edition of The Junk Ranch in Prairie Grove!
One of the newest eateries in Bentonville is on a mission. Ozark Mountain Bagel Company wants to “spread joy, love and cream cheese” on their traditionally-made bagels, but you won’t find just plain white dough covered with lox in their kitchen – the recipes are as diverse as the community they serve. Owners Bill and Sheila Ford, are spreading joy, love and cream cheese in their new Bentonville eatery.