Road Tripping in Northwestern Arkansas

I am sitting at the desk in our hotel, the room pitch dark except for the ghostly white glow of the notebook computer’s screen. Unwelcome thoughts and the frequent sound of the air conditioner fan switching on and off interrupted my sleep, what little there was of it . I finally switched it from ‘auto’ to ‘on’ to stabilize the abrupt cycles of on-again, off-again disruptive noise. A constant roar is easier on the mind than periods of silence followed by acoustic mayhem.

A detour to have lunch at the Pig Trail Bypass Country Cafe, said to be either in Elkins or Crosses, lengthened yesterday’s four-hour drive. Regardless of which community can rightfully claim the address, we found the place. We went in search of the place because I read, somewhere (ThrillList, I think), that the combination grocery store and diner offered one of the ‘best hamburgers in Arkansas,’ called a Hooshburger.  We arrived at 11:30 a.m.; our order was taken at around 12:15 p.m. Lunch was served around 12:30 and we were out the door around 12:45 p.m. I suspect the exceptional delay was not the norm, but the one worker (later joined by two others) who was cashier, cook, and waitress did not seem particularly apologetic. The Hooshburger was a decent hamburger, but I wouldn’t advise making a special trip to get one.

We got to Bentonville well before check-in time at our hotel, so we decided to wander for a bit. We drove to Bella Vista, a planned community with a history similar to Hot Springs Village. A neighbor in Dallas once told us it was a spectacular place. Our little drive through the community left us unsure what is spectacular about it. During our drive, we briefly stumbled across the state line into Missouri, but corrected that error shortly thereafter.

After checking in to the hotel, we went exploring. First stop was an international market grocery, its shelves awash in Indian foods quite foreign to us. While many of the items on the shelves were familiar, many brand names were not and we saw a number of items that we’d never seen before. I thought it odd that—in Rogers, Arkansas—we would find international foods we didn’t see in Dallas or Little Rock. It was an interesting experience.

From there, we drove into downtown Rogers, a quaint town with much to recommend it, including Brick Street Brews, a bar and beer garden that serves a variety of Arkansas beers. I had a Bentonville Brewing Naked Porter, followed by a Core Brewing & Distilling Oatmeal Stout. Janine opted to do something rare for her and have a glass of wine, Benziger Merlot. Though we had been thinking about seeking Indian food for dinner, sitting in the pub (I wish we had one like it in Hot Springs Village) changed our mind. So, we went to The Rail, just around the block, and had a wonderful pizza. Because the place also offered Arkansas beer, I asked for an Ozark Beer Company Cream Stout to accompany my pie.

Today, we visit Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, where we will see a lot of art and sculpture and where, at the appointed time, we will get a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Bachman-Wilson house, one of his Usonian houses which was disassembled in New Jersey, moved to Arkansas, and then reassembled at the museum.

And that is what I know at the moment.

About John Swinburn

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