I’m straying slightly from my usual themes for this post. I don’t have a lot of opportunity to travel–and I’m not complaining; I’m a big homebody anyway–but I did take a little mini vacation a couple months ago, and I feel like it was worth talking about.
I decided to organize this trip with my husband because, for once, I was feeling sort of stir crazy. I wanted to get out of the house and do something. Maybe absorb some culture while I was at it. And Bentonville was just the ticket. At about a two and a half hour drive, it was far enough away to be interesting, while still being easy to get to.
I booked us for two nights at a Country Inn & Suites, which is the perfect place for anyone who wants to stay somewhere comfortable and clean on a budget (but do a little better than a motel). They even upgraded our room when we got there, which was a lovely little surprise.
This is a picture I snapped in an (incredibly decent) gas station bathroom on our way up. Because of course fashion played a part in this vacation. It is my belief that when you go somewhere different, it is your responsibility to represent the best of where you’re from (as well as your personal best).
Bentonville is a large city by Arkansas’ standards, and there was plenty to do. Our first afternoon there was spent at the Pinnacle Hills Promenade shopping center. As much as I’m into fashion, I am not a big shopper, so this was a pretty rare excursion. We ducked into places like Charlotte Russe, Hot Topic, and Bath & Body Works, buying some Christmas presents here and there, both for ourselves and others.
We also stumbled upon, get this, a macaron boutique.
Alchemy is a macaron and tea shop, and let me just say…wow.
First of all, if you don’t know about macarons, they are these amazingly delicate French sandwich cookies (not to be confused with macaroons, which are an entirely different thing). A good one should be crisp and slightly chewy, with just the right amount of delicious cream in the middle. And the macarons at Alchemy are beyond good.
The place was so pristine, we couldn’t help but go in.
And beautiful macarons aside, I also got some fabulous cinnamon tea (and I don’t even like tea!). Paying this little shop a visit was definitely a highlight.
I’d also like to make a quick mention of where we went to dinner that evening. If you’re somewhat of a carnivore like myself, I would definitely recommend Tusk & Trotter. Original and well-cooked dishes. Great drinks. And everything they serve is locally sourced, so you know you’re money is benefitting the Arkansan economy. It’s a win-win.
We started our day the following morning with a visit to Onyx Coffee Lab. I was particularly excited about this, because I know so many coffee-drinkers who absolutely love the place.
Well…it was fine.
To be fair, I’m not the best judge, because I’m not exactly a coffee connoisseur, but I personally wasn’t all that impressed. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone in comparing it to Round Mountain Coffee, which is essentially my second home. My usual is a mocha latte, so I got a mocha latte at Onyx, and it was just so different that I pretty much hated it.
That afternoon was meant to be the centerpiece of our little vacay. The part where I could absorb the culture that I was after. After Onyx, we headed straight to Crystal Bridges Museum.
I wore my new cold-shoulder sweater (3 times the cut-outs, 3 times the style)…
And proceeded to meander through Crystal Bridges for most of the afternoon, my husband being so kind as to snap a few pictures of me along the way.
Honestly, I could probably do an entire post just on the museum itself. (Should I? Feel free to comment and let me know). It had been way too long since last I visited one, and I truly relished the experience. Art, to me, is such a big part of what it means to be human. I would go so far as to call it the soul of mankind.
And I’m not just talking about paintings and sculptures. There are so many beautiful mediums–writing, for example…
A museum is a place that is solely dedicated to the appreciation of art–something I wish I could see more of in this world–and I feel lucky that I live close enough to have visited this one.
Go to Crystal Bridges if you get the chance. Just bring comfortable shoes and an open mind.
The rest of our day, we stayed in. We got fried chicken and took it back to our room, cuddled up, and watched Netflix on Greg’s iPad. Because vacations are just as much for rest and relaxation as they are for adventuring, am I right?
The lighting didn’t favor me that morning, but I wore a unique, sort of creamy, peachy top with black lace down the front. I feel a bit like I’m channelling Downton Abbey when I wear this one (though I stuck out like a sore thumb when we stopped in at the Bass Pro Shop later on, let me tell you).
The departure is never as fun as the arrival, but all good things must come to an end eventually, and this little excursion was meant to be short and sweet. What a success it was, though.
Overall, Bentonville is the perfect spot for a couple of millennials to take a break without breaking the bank. It goes to show that you don’t have to go to New York or Washington D.C. to enjoy a bit of culture. And if you ever find yourself looking for things to do in NW Arkansas, I hope I’ve given you a few ideas.
Have a beautiful week.