Sunday, July 10, 2016

Taking A Sunday Drive #36

The last few states are the hardest because they are the states we have visited the most and I have the most photos of. Hard because I have to pare down the pictures.

Arkansas was one of the first states we went to on vacation. We couldn't resist those 'free' trips to Bella Vista. All we had to do was attend a two hour sales pitch in exchange for two free nights in one of their condos. Then the time was ours to explore the area, which we did - Rogers, Eureka Springs, etc. Of course the two hour sales pitch was more like three+.

The second time we went, for some reason, Bud decided we should buy a lot there. If I remember right the cheapest 'buy in' lot was around $2,000. It was narrow and backed a steep ravine - hardly conducive to build on. Several years later, once we had decided we wouldn't retire to Arkansas after all, we decided to sell the lot. But could we? Surprisingly, in time, we were able to sell it for more than we had paid.

Years later, returning from a Texas trip, we decided to come home through "The Natural State" with a stop at one of the symbols featured on their state quarter - Crater of Diamonds State Park. This was another attraction I had learned of from my Aunt Leona - the only place in the U.S. where diamonds were found - literally, you could hunt for diamonds there. Which we did, unsuccessfully, but it was fun. It wasn't too long after we were there that someone found a large yellow diamond and though I have never cared much for diamonds, that is one color I would wear!

From Crater of Diamonds we drove through Hot Springs and then followed scenic highway 7 up to Petit Jean State Park which is where the following photos were taken.

Cedar Falls. Cedar Creek runs through the park.

Bud at one of the overlooks with the Arkansas River in background.

One of my 'artistic' shots.

Amazingly blue fungus?

Another of my artistic shots.

From Petit Jean we continued North on 7 through the little town of Pruitt where we crossed the Buffalo River. This section is part of Buffalo National River. I had read about BNR and hoped to someday see it.

There was a place to park with a path leading down to the river. Just the little bit we saw made me understand why it was so special.
Natural beauty at its finest.

We over-nighted in Eureka Springs which will always be one of our favorite places.
The Blue Spring Heritage Center is about eight miles northwest of Eureka Springs and was an interesting stop.
This was a resting/respite stop on the infamous Trail of Tears.

The grounds are beautiful. The gazebo is one of the spots offered as a wedding venue.

I saw this stone barn and farmhouse for the first time coming home from a vacation on Beaver Lake near Rogers when my children were little. At the time I thought, "If I could ever choose a place to live, this would be it."
I never forgot it, so when we happened past it, just across the border into Missouri, on our way home, I had Bud stop so I could take pictures.

It wasn't just the buildings that captivated me, it was also the natural spring and pool nearby. The sign says this pool was also a stop on the Trail of Tears.

Arkansas saw us again on the return portion of our SE trip in 2014. Little Rock this time and the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum. This was as far into the full size replica of the Oval Office as we could go at that time. Now the rules have changed and you are allowed to go into the room.

On each side of the entrance is a unique water feature. Just beyond this one is a former railroad bridge converted into a walking/cycling path over the Arkansas River, part of the Arkansas River Trail which forms a 14-mile loop in the downtown Little Rock area.

Like so many states we visit, there is so much to see and do in Arkansas that one could go back many times. But Arkansas is especially attractive. Like I said, at one time we considered retiring there, but it was just too far away from the grandkids!

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