Thanks for your many suggestions for the Natural State bucket list.
They keep pouring in.
Here’s a compilation of items you’ve sent in along with some items I’ve added.
These are things you should do at least once in your life to earn bona fide All-Arkansan status:
— Visit Bald Knob when the strawberries are ripe in May and order the strawberry shortcake at the Bulldog.
— Sample the fried chicken at the Mount Nebo Chicken Fry while watching the Little Miss Pullet contest.
— Pick wild blackberries while watching for snakes and worrying about how many chigger bites you’ll have at the end of the day.
— Eat some peaches at the Johnson County Peach Festival.
— Kayak with folks who know what they’re doing on the Mulberry River and the Big Piney Creek.
— Have a steak at Jerry’s in Trumann.
— Hang out with some bikers at Roy’s in Paragould.
— Attend the Fourth of July community picnics at Corning, Piggott and Portia.
— Cross the U.S. Highway 62 bridge over Norfork Lake on a clear day and admire how blue the water is.
— Eat the gear salad and the filet mignon at Herman’s Ribhouse in Fayetteville on the night before a Razorback football game.
— Sit outside at Basin Spring Park in downtown Eureka Springs on an early fall Saturday evening and enjoy the music.
— Visit Judge Parker’s courtroom at the Fort Smith National Historic Site and then take a walk down Garrison Avenue.
— Drive along the Talimena Scenic Drive when the leaves are changing and then spend the night at the Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge.
— Spend the day walking around Historic Washington State Park in late June and then head over to Nashville to buy peaches.
— Take a boat out onto Grassy Lake in southwest Araknsas at night to look for alligators.
— Walk around the courthouse squares in El Dorado and Magnolia, going into as many of the locally owned shops as possible.
— Eat a turkey sandwich at the original Burge’s in Lewisville.
— Max out your credit card buying things at Mack’s Prairie Wings in Stuttgart.
— Wrangle an invitation to the Sunday night wild game dinner at Gene’s in Brinkley.
— Have a weekday plate lunch at the Pickens Commissary in Desha County during the harvest season and then head south to visit the cotton gin at Winchester.
— Order the buffalo ribs at the Lassis Inn in Little Rock
— Visit the Lower White River Museum at Des Arc on a Friday afternoon and then have a catfish dinner at Dondie’s.
— Spend a summer Saturday morning at the farmers’ market on the square in Fayetteville.
— Visit a sand blow in northeast Arkansas while contemplating the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12.
— Get sunburned while attending Riverfest.
— Go to a Sunday afternoon performance of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra at Robinson Auditorium in Little Rock.
— Eat one of Bobby Garner’s cheeseburgers at the Sno-White Grill in Pine Bluff.
— Buy a stack of books at That Bookstore At Blytheville.
— Watch Sonny Payne do his “King Biscuit Time” radio show on Cherry Street in Helena.
— Drink some water at the Mountain Valley headquarters in Hot Springs.
— Fish for crappie on a south Arkansas oxbow lake during the day and go frog gigging on the same lake that night.
— Watch the cardboard boat races at Greers Ferry Lake and then have dinner at the Red Apple Inn.
— Buy some wine at Altus and then visit the monastery at Subiaco.
— Sit on the east side of Mount Nebo and watch the sun rise over the Arkansas River Valley.
— Watch the Memphis fireworks on the Sunday before Memorial Day from a sandbar on the Arkansas side of the Mississippi River.
— Take a slow walk through Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock.
— Attend a high school basketball game one winter Friday night at Valley Springs.
— Attend a high school football game one fall Friday night at Nashville.
— Eat a turkey leg at the Arkansas State Fair.
— Attend the fall and spring craft fairs at War Eagle.
— Join in singing “Amazing Grace” during a funeral at a country church.
— Fix a casserole for a church potluck.
— Help clean up a rural cemetery.
— Fish for smallmouth bass from a canoe on the Kings River.
— And that true test to be an Arkansan: Buy far more milk and bread than you need when there’s a 20 percent chance of snow flurries.
Let’s hear from you.
What’s on your list?
Take a slow walk at Arkansas Post National Monument.
Eat a Tamale Spread at McClards in Hot Springs and save room for a corned beef sandwich at Oaklawn later in the day.
Definitely think eating at Ashley’s needs to be on here. Great list!
King Biscuit Blues Festival
This stuff is pretty banal and chamber of commercey.
Who has some real out of the way jewels? Rare music & swimming hole tips most appreciated.
Swing dancing Friday Night at the Arlington in Hot Springs.
Cliff Jumping at the Old Quarry in Lake DeGray (be safe!)
Old Military Road at Village Creek State Park in St. Francis/Cross County
Stargazing at Petit Jean State Park.
Standing in the Capitol Rotunda and looking up.
Floating the Caddo.
Fireworks on a rarely used county road on the 4th of July.
Not flipping on the Buffalo.
If you think this is all banal, Claws, I’ll trust you’ve never tried the squirrel brains at Gene’s on a Sunday night — Rex
Find someone with a boat and spend the night anchored out at Goat Island or Boy Scout Island on Greer’s Ferry Lake close to Eden Isle.
Hike from Alison to Blanchard near Mt. View on the Sylamore Creek. Make sure you go when the water is so high, you have to get wet to cross at Alison when you start (for waterfalls on the trail to be full).
Call the Hogs with 75,000 screaming Hog Fans during a close SEC or Arkansas-Texas Game.
Call the Hogs with 51,000 screaming Hog Fans during an LSU game in Little Rock (just as loud as 75,000 in Fayetteville).
See a good, classic musical comedy at Murray’s Dinner Theater.
Attend the UCA Madrigal Dinner around Christmas time…dress up and be announced as a Lord and a Lady.
Go to a bluegrass concert of your choosing.
Go to the capitol during the legislative session. Sit in on a House Rules Committee and see how easy it can be to pass or kill a bill.
Go to a church that is not yours…one that is different enough for you to understand that there are more similarities than differences in spiritual paths.
March, walk, or ride a float in a town parade.
Go snipe hunting in the early summertime.
Float on an air mattress (with sunscreen) on Lake Sylvia until you almost fall asleep.
Try to meet Tim Ernst and/or see one of his photography programs.
Do the Ghost Tour in the Crescent Hotel late at night with someone you love.
Go swimming in a Bauxite pit (if they are still open). If they aren’t open, don’t get caught.
Tour a factory in your hometown that employees a large number of people.
T. Love: These are some of the best ever.
Give us more! — Rex
Rat brains Rex! I’ll leave those to you.
Thanks on Greers quarry jump and will try it. Any directions (location, not how to jump)? Responding with one of the better local swimming holes, Forked Mtn falls in Flatside Wilderness.
I like the idea of adding great swimming holes, Claws.
Come on readers, give us your best (with directions) — Rex
Fall foliage in the Ozark and/or Ouachita Nat’l Forest(s)
Drive past rows and rows of cotton on the plant in October
Pig out at Jones’ BBQ in Marianna.
Ride the Mississippi River Levee Roads
Hey Rex, what about hiking down to the base of Cedar Falls at Petit Jean…make it the weekend of the big car
For q \less traveled\ destination, go camping and crappie fishing at Lake Nimrod, bring your canoe/kyak and float the South Fource from the bridge at Hollis to the low-water bridge at Deberry (Transportation not provided), and check out Wallace Bridge, a one-lane, wood plank old iron bridge…our old bridges are such treasures.
I haven’t dome it yet, but am planning on visiting the Ozark Medieval Fortress. My plan is to visit it once a year and observe the gradual progress. I think it would be a great addition to a Buffalo River trip. If anyone’s been, how was it?
Get a bunch of friends, rent a party barge, load it up with cold adult beverages and junk food, tie an innertube to the side and spend all day on Lake Hamilton.
Rex, the speed of your walk through Mount Holly depends largely on what you encounter along the way.
Drive through Boxley Valley (Ponca Area) during the morning or evening time, and enjoy the large herd of Elk. In the area are 2 swans that are fun to watch too!!
You can’t achieve ‘All-Arkansas’ status without a trip to Mountain View:
–“Pick ‘n Grin” on the court square on a Friday or Saturday night
— make a craft (pottery, lye soap, etc.) at Ozark Folk Center
–attend the Outhouse Races during the Bean Festival in October
–eat a Fat Boy at Tommy’s Pizza
— have a hand-scooped ice cream soda at Wood’s Soda Fountain
Over the past thirty years Clare and I have raised two children, worn out a couple dozen pairs of hiking shoes and outlived a few sets of neighbors in the Quapaw/Prospect Historic District in downtown Hot Springs National Park. The hiking trail at the end of our street has been our fitness regimen and a gateway to year-round adventure. I’ll start there with my own bucket list of things that every Arkansan should do in and around Hot Springs . (No I don’t work for the Advertising & Promotion Commission or Chamber of Commerce.
• See the extraordinary wild irises that bloom only in a small area on the north side of West Mountain for about two weeks in March and April.
• Enjoy the road over West Mountain without any cars when the Parks Service closes the road at the first hint of snow. If there’s accumulation, circle back on the Sunset Trail and see how many critter tracks you can identify.
• Throw your driver into Cedar Glades Creek on #8 at the Wildcat disc golf course on a hot day. Jump in after it.
• Make a few laps around Whittington Park on your bike with a stop for a drink every time you pass the jug fountain.
• Enjoy a cold one and enchilada’s as you listen to the guitar pickers tucked under the bluff up behind Rolando’s.
• Stand along the rail at Oaklawn Jockey Club for the running of the last race of the season. The jockeys line up their mounts as the trumpeter and Dixieland band play Auld Lang Syne before they take two spins around the oval in the 1 & ¾ mile Trails End.
• Enjoy a breakfast in the Backstretch Kitchen at Oaklawn. Try and eavesdrop on the trainer at the next table, or see if the hot walkers will let you in on their penny-ante poker game back in the corner.
• Take a hike on the Lake Ouachita Vista Trail (LOVIT) and wind up at the Hickory Nut Mountain overlook for the panoramic view of Lake Ouachita and the best spot in the state to watch a meteor shower.
• Draw a treasure map that leads your friends to an island on Lake Ouachita where you’ve set up camp. Spend the weekend fishing, sunning skiing and acting like a pirate.
• Put a bottle of wine in your backpack and watch the dusk set in and the lights come on over Bathhouse Row from your perch atop the tufa falls on the Grand Promenade.
• Bass fish on Lake Hamilton with someone who knows what they’re doing. Watch them deftly pull bass out from under boat docks.
• Watch the entire populations of small Arkansas towns ebb and flow at Summit Arena when the state high school basketball championship games are being played.
• Laugh at cops without getting in trouble when they participate in the annual Running of the Tubs down Bathhouse Row.
• Sample the delicacies next door at the Savory Pantry while you wait for your name to be hollered when your table’s ready at The Pancake Shop.
• Let the young-uns wade in Hot Springs Creek as you take a stroll in Greenway Park.
• Tie your boat up with friends in Skinny-dip Cove. It’s more PG than it sounds.
• Walk the tree-lined streets of the Quapaw-Prospect Historic District to their annual picnic.
• See the tunnel to the lake at Hamilton House. Try to believe whatever gangster tale you might hear.
• Make a dowager’s night by taking her for a spin on the dance floor in the Arlington Hotel lobby.
• Make rooster tails out of glass at sunrise (water-skiers know what I mean).
• Start at the Fordyce Bathhouse, hike up to the Tower and down the Dead Chief Trail to a picnic in Gulfa Gorge.
• On the hottest day of summer, boat up to Blakely Dam and jump in (not for the faint of heart, but you’ll feel cool for at least a half hour).
• On the coldest day of winter, soak in the communal pool at the Quapaw Bathhouse.
• Come by the house for a cold glass of spring water. We’ll listen to the owls.
Dig for diamonds in Murfreesboro.
Find Indian artifacts in the White River bottoms.
Get lost in Dickson Street book store for about a week.
Eat something delicious at Greenhouse Grille, Fayetteville and a Derek’s Special at Hugos.
See the Christmas lights on the Fayetteville square and ride a camel while you’re there.
Visit the Daisy air gun museum and the first Walmart.
Must see the Indian Artifacts Museum in Bentonville.
Hike Hawksbill Crag in fall.
Ooh, I thought of more!
Slide down the falls at Tanyard Creek in Bella Vista.
Visit the Bat Man at Devil’s Den and then go back for church in the amphitheater on Sunday morning.
Listen to Trout Fishing in America in a park somewhere.
Go trout fishing near Flippin.
Take a whole bunch of kids camping.
Go find the Gurdon Ghost Light.
Go dancing at the Arlington in Hot Springs.
Catch a snapping turtle, crawdads, catfish, salamander, gold tortoise beetle, Luna moth, armadillo, rabbit, raccoon, coyote, black bear, mountain lion, fox, turkey, twin fawns, bob cat. Catch some of those with a trail cam 🙂
Pick apples at Van Zandts in Springdale in September, pumpkins in Tontitown in October, and blueberries at Blue Heaven in Goshen in June.
White bass fishing at Twin Bridges in Goshen.