Hit the Road
Five one-tank road trips to satisfy your wanderlust.
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Distance: 208 miles; 3 hours, 10 minutes
Right along Interstate 49 is the charming township of Carthage, Missouri. Carthage is said to have once been home to the wealthiest citizens in the America thanks to the miles of underground marble quarries that have long since been abandoned. The families left the town with a legacy of architectural marvels that comprise some of the largest historic districts in the state of Missouri.
Crystal bridges museum south lawn, Bentonville | Photo Courtesy of visit bentonville
REASONS TO GO
Named for American painter and muralist Thomas Hart Benton, Bentonville, Arkansas, pays tribute to the legendary artist by infusing art and culture in a myriad of ways. Bentonville is a quiet city, but don’t let its unassuming stature fool you. It is the birthplace and international headquarters of mega-retailer Wal-Mart. During the week, thousands of vendors, suppliers and merchants descend upon the town hoping to woo Wal-Mart. With the influx of new Wal-Mart employees, spin-off companies and vendors setting up shop in town comes world-class restaurants and hotels to explore. Everywhere you turn in Bentonville, you will find beautiful art, architecture, well-preserved greenspace and breathtaking views of the Arkansas Mountains. It’s also a great jumping off point for adventures in the Ozarks and the scenic Northwest Arkansas region.
The Walton Family Foundation (of Wal-Mart fame) founded Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, a world-class art complex, in 2005. Nestled in the woods just north of the city square, the architectural marvel has become a mecca for art enthusiasts. Around the museum are walking and biking trails. The museum houses a permanent collection of American art masterworks, from the colonial era to modern day. Touring collections from national art institutions are also hosted there throughout the year.
The Peel House Mansion Museum and Historic Gardens, which is named for former resident Colonel Samuel West Peel, is a tribute to the late 1800s, complete with authentic antiques and artifacts from the era plus a lush garden of 19th-century plantings. The Bentonville City Square features a Civil War statue, benches, a fountain and gardens surrounded by quaint shops. A main attraction on the square is the Wal-Mart Museum, located in Sam Walton’s Five and Dime store. Traces of its origin are still perceptible right down to the soda fountain.
peel museum, bentonville, arkansas | photo courtesy of visit bentonville
Located in Bentonville’s City Square, Pressroom is home to one of the city’s buzziest executive chefs, Michael Robertshaw. His inventive menu has made regulars of locals and travelers alike. Try the Korean fried chicken (chicken thigh, kimchee, blue crab and scallion cream cheese, crispy wontons and sesame). For “modern Latin with a blend,” head to Table Mesa Bistro and get your fill of anything from tacos and enchiladas to paella, bao or even burgers. A diverse list of house specialties — like Jerusalem grilled cabbage, Mamma Mia Chicken, and inventive burritos — will make your final decision a tough one. Pair your meal with an El Corazón Margarita (passion fruit, blood orange, pomegranate, Patron Silver, Grand Marnier) for the full experience.
The rooms at the 21c Museum Hotel are spacious and furnished with simple yet elegant decor. Throughout the hotel, you’ll see 21st-century art exhibits, including the signature green penguins. The facility is within walking distance of anything you could possibly want to see in town.
SAVE THE DATES
May 2-7: The 2017 Bentonville Film Festival, co-founded by Geena Davis, celebrates diversity on screen. View a variety of films with diverse themes and characters and are written and directed by women and minorities.
May 5-7: The Spanker Creek Farm Spring Festival is the premier arts and crafts fair in Northwest Arkansas. It features exhibitors from all over the country selling handmade goods, plus old-time treats like fresh kettle corn, live music and a beautiful setting at the foot of the Ozark Mountains. The fall festival is Oct. 18-22.