Fort Smith and Beyond

I have been remiss in failing to write a dedicated post about our trip to visit friends in Fort Smith, who then took us to Bentonville to see Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  With this post, I will address that failure.  I wrote a bit about it here, but the current post is for the “travel record” I maintain on this blog.

My wife and I left Hot Springs Village around 11:00 a.m. on October 31, just in time to escape the horrors of elderly trick-or-treaters going door to door seeking sweets.  We headed north from Hot Springs Village on Arkansas 7 for a few miles to Arkansas 298, then drove about thirty miles west to Arkansas 27, jogging south about three miles to Arkansas 88, thence west about thirteen miles to US 270, then another twenty-two miles to US 71 north.  About fifty-two miles later, we were in Fort Smith, heading to our friends’ house.

After chatting for awhile, we all piled into their very nice, shiny car still possessing that wonderful new-car-smell and headed to Riverfront Drive on the Arkansas River, where hand-made replicas of the Niña and Pinta, two of the ships Christopher Columbus sailed to the Americas, were berthed.  Naturally, I failed to take any photos, but fortunately there is information here about the ships. The very small size of each of the ships emphasized how uncomfortable and dangerous it must have been to traverse the Atlantic in the late 1400s.  While there were no plans for the original ships available, the craftsmanship used by the Brazilian builders is probably the same as that employed to build the original ships.  In addition, the structures and comparisons to other known ships makes many archeologists believe the two replicas are quite close to the ships actually used by Columbus.

On the way home from the Niña and Pinta, we happened upon a liquor store, where we went inside and discovered a wine my sister-in-law had been seeking (a malbec, from Alamos, an Argentinian winery), so we bought a bottle.

That evening, we went to dinner at a very nice Mexican restaurant (if memory serves, it was El Patrón); regardless of my memory (or lack thereof) about the name, the food was excellent! We also had the good fortune that evening to meet the father of our female friend; he had enjoyed a lunch, earlier in the day, of frog’s legs, served by the kitchen of the living facility where he lives.  Our friend posted his photo, holding a frog leg, on her Facebook page; dozens of family and friends almost immediately liked the post and posted comments about his adventurous taste in food!

The next morning, after our hosts prepared an outstanding breakfast of bacon and eggs and English muffins and fruit, we relaxed and talked.  Then, around midday, we piled back into their car and headed north on I-49 through Fayetteville and Rogers to Bentonville. We spent several hours viewing not only the wonderful art at the museum, but the architecture of the building itself.  Had it not been so chilly, we would have wandered the grounds, as well.  The setting is beautiful and is laced with trails that invite exploration.  I took random photos with my iPad; I should have brought my “real” camera, but left it at home this trip.  The photos in the linked post are but a small sample of what we saw; it was exquisite.  We will most certainly return to the museum and to the city of Bentonville, as it, too, is an interesting place to behold.

After leaving the museum, we had a late lunch/early dinner at the Tusk & Trotter American Brasserie. Oh, the food was magnificent! Duck and patė and chicharonies and bison and boar and bacon (on my wild board burger) that equaled the best I’ve ever had.

The next morning, our friends prepared a feast!  Exceptional chorizo and eggs with avocados and cheese and excellent salsas, enough food to keep us healthy and satisfied and warm through the winter!  We dawdled, because that’s what we do best, but finally decided it was time to head home to Hot Springs Village.

The trip home was uneventful, as we followed the same route back Sunday morning that we had driven north the previous Friday afternoon.  We’re now ruminating about when we’ll never travel north, and when our friends can come spend a weekend (or a week) with us.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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