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Little Rogers Neighborhood

I often have a general region in mind that I want to go to but not a specific town. I let the exact location be dictated by the availability of a furnished rental that fits all my requirements. And so after I decided I loosely wanted to be in northwest Arkansas, somewhere in Benton or Washington county, I ended up in Rogers in the most charming AirBnB walkable to downtown with running trails right outside my cottage door. Old Town Rogers is probably not somewhere you've ever heard of or thought to go on a weekend getaway, but absolutely loved it. Let me suggest you put it on your list for a a few days, a month, or even longer.

Come for the weekend!

See what's on at the Arkansas Public Theater, then book tickets for Friday night and make an evening  of it with dinner first at Havana Tropical Grill Restaurant, the 120 Tapas Bar, or one of the dozen other great restaurants in walking distance of the old Victory Theater. Afterward, pop over to Club Frisco for a nightcap. Don't worry, it's not a nightclub. It's a welcoming, but very lively, bar.

On Saturday morning, make a hard choice between Onyx Coffee Lab HQ and Iron Horse for your coffee and breakfast. Onyx has a more industrial, modern vibe and Iron Horse has a cozier vibe. They are both fantastic and have plenty of seating. Then drive a mere 20 minutes out to Hobbs State Park Conservation Area and go for a nice hike. There's plenty of parking; you don't have to get there super early. You'll undoubtedly cross paths with a few mountain bikers, but not enough to make it annoying. Come back into town and do some shopping at small, local business like Brick Lane books. And don't forget to stop into the Daisy Airgun Museum, even if you've never seen A Christmas Story. Finally, it's barbecue for dinner. You can try the fancy places downtown, but the only BBQ I had was from Sam's Olde Tyme, just a few minutes drive away. I went there my second night in Rogers, and the food was delicious, the price was good, and the staff were so, so friendly that I never felt like trying a different BBQ place. I just went back there a few times. 

On Sunday, go diner style with breakfast at Lucy's 24 Hour Diner or Wesner's Grill. Then drive just 15 minutes out to Pea Ridge National Military Park to take in the history of the "the most pivotal Civil War battle west of the Mississippi River". Come back into to town, drive down South 8th Street and stop at any of the multiple pupuserias (like I Love Pupusas) for lunch. In addition to this Salvadoran favorite, there is plenty of authentic and delicious Mexican and Guatemalan food around, including at Gaby's Bakery. Follow up lunch with ice cream at Braum's and then burn off that ice cream with an enjoyable walk around the picturesque Lake Atalanta before you have to head back home.

Come for a month!

Besides all of the above, if you're staying for six weeks like I did, here are a few things you might want to know about:

  • Walmart is far and away the most common grocery store. But you should go to Harps Foods instead. They don't that awful self-checkout, but they do have plenty of friendly cashiers and a great selection of everything you need.
  • If you need tires on your vehicle, go to R and R Custom Wheels and Tires. They pulled a nail out of my tire and checked and filled all the other tires with no charge. 
  • Watch Facebook and Eventbrite for fun events, like Adult Scholastic Bookfairs and Art on the Bricks
  • If you're bookish like me, the Rogers Library has interesting events and book clubs as well. Check their calendar
  • The Rail Trail connects you to the Razorback Greenway. You can cycle or run for 50 miles or even further, if you want.
  • When you have more time on the weekends, beautiful parks like Devil's Den and Lake Fort Smith are only slightly over an hour away and there's no traffic on the road at 8am. Take the scenic route down route 71. 
  • The delightful and quirky mountain town of Eureka Springs is less than an hour away.
  • And of course, Bentonville is just fifteen minutes down the road and is its whole own kind of wonderful. And that will be the subject of my next blog post.