Out and About: Bentonville, Arkansas
I haven’t done a travel post in FOREVER! I really like compiling all my travel memories to a blog post so I can look back at them in the future. It’s such a fun way to relive a great vacation.
Last week, my husband, son, and I drove to Bentonville, Arkansas, the home of Walmart. We weren’t there to visit the Walmart world headquarters though! We were there for the mountain biking.
I guess Walmart has been trying to attract millennials to their company by building things that attract millennials: coffee roasters and shops, microbreweries, sustainable clothing boutiques, and, you guessed it, mountain bike trails. My husband’s two best friends live around the country (one in Indianapolis, one in Denver) so the guys thought it would be fun to split the difference and meet somewhere they could get their mountain bikes dirty. My son and I were just along for the ride!
One of the wives decided to tag along, and we had such a fun time together! We’ve always gotten along well so I was happy to spend more time with her. She’s a really chill traveller, which is great when you’re with a one-year-old. I promised her reality tv, shops and cafes, chardonnay, and sunshine. I think I delivered on my promise!
A few nights of our trip, we were able to sneak away and have some girl time shopping and happy hour-ing. I’m grateful for that! It was nice to relax and laugh with a friend I only see about once a year.
I wanted to share a few recommendations if you’re considering visiting northwest Arkansas anytime soon. We didn’t even go as far as Fayetteville (home of the University of Arkansas), which is supposed to be much more exciting. It seems like this part of the country has more than I had initially thought when my husband said “Let’s go visit Arkansas!” and my response was, “huh? Why?” Even if you’re just driving through, I think it’s worth a nice overnight visit! I was hugely, pleasantly surprised by all northwest Arkansas had to offer.
Our first stop was the townhouse we rented through airbnb. Airbnb has been such a great travel resource for us domestically and internationally. (Check out our airbnb experience in Iceland! It was perfect.) Especially now that we have a little guy, I love having a more comfortable home-like environment with a kitchen and laundry room. We stayed at the Townhouse on B in the Downtown Arts District. This area is full of new, contemporary housing and gorgeous restorations of old Victorians and bungalows. We were within easy walking distance of the town square with shops and restaurants.
All Townhouse Images: Townhouse on B and airbnb
The inside of this townhouse was jaw-droppingly nice! I knew we had sprung for a nicer townhouse close to everything, but this was gorgeous! Huge living spaces, great kitchen, pretty front porch, spacious back patio, gorgeous beds and baths, even white bathrobes! And with five adults and a baby, we couldn’t have been happier with all the extra bedding, sheets, and space.
We were greeted with chocolate chip cookies and freshly ground coffee from a local coffee roaster. Yum! After we set down our belongings, the guys trekked to Bike Rack Brewing to start off the weekend on the right foot. This was a super cute brewery with a big outdoor patio, twinkle lights, and delicious beers. It was also an easy five minute walk from the townhouse.
Image: Bike Rack Brewing
While the guys were mountain biking during the day, my friend and I were pushing around a stroller and checking out downtown Bentonville.
We especially loved Onyx coffee right off the town square. The lavender latte I had was delicious and the vibes were chill and much more urban and upscale than I had expected in Arkansas (sorry, Arkansas! I was wrong!): lots of well-dressed young executives and comfy Bible college students. Seeing cascara lattes next to Bibles really made it feel like home! That’s my usual coffee shop vibe.
My son is unimpressed with Bentonville hipsters…
Another coffee shop we loved in town was Heroes Coffee roasters. It was our morning go-to for delicious coffee and lattes.
Image: Heroes Coffee
About a million times over our trip, my friend and I visited the Walmart Neighborhood Market. This is a new small-concept Walmart grocery store that was totally adorable! It helped that the employees were a heartbeat away from corporate headquarters. They were the VERY BEST Walmart employees I have ever encountered. And the store was spotless! This Neighborhood Market had everything I needed and the selection was great. I loved popping into the air conditioning for baby snacks and supplies and fresh groceries for lunches during our visits.
Most days, we were out back on the patio of the townhouse, chilling, and enjoying the sunshine. My friend would read her book and I was busy making sure my son didn’t eat rocks. He got close to that a few times…
Image: Rollie Pollie
To keep him busy, I used toys from the travel play tray I created for the trip out. We also stopped into Rollie Pollie toy store a few times to pick up some cute toys like this adorable xylophone. This store had so many specialty items and toys to entertain my little guy and feed his imagination. I knew I was in the right place when the first product I spotted was Bavarian Gnome Natural Beeswax Crayons! Totally my cup of tea.
Images: Remedy Road
On one night, the guys took over childcare duties, and we ladies were able to escape for shopping and happy hour. We stumbled on Remedy Road, which is a sustainable and charitable boutique that only carries brands that give back. The clothing, accessories, and goods were Pinterest-worthy and so adorable. Lots of handmade leather handbags and wallets, sustainable fabric clothing, handcrafted wooden jewelry items, and the like. I wanted to buy everything in the store! I ended up with a pair of Spiritual Gangster $90 sweatpants for $20. I was very excited to snag that deal! The girl working the counter was very helpful and enthusiastic about all the amazing products in the store.
Probably our favorite stop was Pressroom for happy hour food and drinks. We sat at a gorgeous marble bar and ordered almost everything from the happy hour menu: roasted beets, smoked salmon dip, cartelized Brussels sprouts, sparkling rose, craft beer, and a delicious oak-y Chardonnay (just like I promised). The food was great, the company was better, and we even shared a lot of dad jokes with the bartender. I wish we had gone there a few more times over our stay!
Image: Guild Winery
The sparkling rose from Willamette Valley I enjoyed had me missing my trip to Oregon a few years ago. I really want to go back! To Pressroom AND Oregon.
Image: Thai Kitchen
We also loved Thai Kitchen where I had maybe the best panang curry in my life. It was so much fun laughing, sharing food, and having lots of girl talk.
On our last night in Arkansas, we decided to pop into Oklahoma to check that state off our list! (I only have 7 states left!) The closest town is Siloam Springs in Arkansas and West Siloam Springs in Oklahoma. We were hoping to grab some dinner and/or ice cream in Oklahoma. Unfortunately, this was the best entertainment we could find in Oklahoma… I might try again in the future before writing off Oklahoma entirely, but it wasn’t encouraging…
Image: 28 Springs
Siloam Springs, Arkansas was a real find though! It was the cutest little tourist town! We found a great restaurant called 28 Springs. The menu was amazing, the service was great, and I was really surprised at how upscale and fashionable the whole place was. Who knew?! I had a delicious salmon with fingerling potatoes and asparagus. I also had some amazing blue corn muffins with raw honey butter. Yum!
After poking around in the town, checking out a bluegrass band in a gazebo, and checking out some beautiful fountains and parks, we found Pure Joy Ice Cream, the CUTEST little ice cream shop. They had lots of fun toppings and creative flavors. I decided to try their chamomile honey ice cream with cacao nib “gravel” on top. So delicious! It was so much fun sitting outside, enjoying the nice weather, and eating tasty ice cream with friends.
I was super impressed with this part of the country and it’s totally worth a visit if you’re in the neighborhood. We had a great time, and look forward to another mountain biking trip with this crew in the future.