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Running and Reading

Buenos Aires is the ultimate reading and running city, but northwest Arkansas (NWA) is a close second. This is a large reason that I love the area so much. These are my favorite activities and great ways to meet people. 

If you look at only the Fayetteville Public Library, they run six adult book clubs each month. There's bound to be a book you like up for discussion, and for me, on my last visit, that was Klara and the Sun. I love Ishiguro but hadn't read this book yet, so it was great to see it on the list. And if none of the six options at that library in a given month at the library are your taste, check out Pearl's book club and events, or head up to the Bentonville Library, Two Friend Books, the Rogers Library, or Brick Lane Books because they all have book clubs too. 

It's not just book clubs and book talks. It's book-ish events. Ozark Beer, which hosts one of the library's book clubs, hosted an NWA Book festival while I was there. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I already had plans to be out of town that weekend. But there are several more similar events upcoming this spring and summer too. And I could wander through the shelves of Dickson Street Books all day long, finding treasures from once beloved authors who I've somehow forgotten about and walking out with seven books for just fifty dollars. With all these book events, it probably comes as no surprise that it's also easy to connect with other writers in NWA, if writing also happens to be your thing.

As for running, I didn't even leave Fayetteville on this visit. When I stayed in Rogers last year, I ran all over NWA. But in Fayetteville, there's a group run out of Ozark Natural Foods on Mondays, Columbus House Brewery on Tuesdays, and Crisis Brewing on Wednesdays. When you want to get off the pavement, you can go run at Centennial Park or Kessler Mountain Regional Park or the Markham Trails, all just minutes from downtown. 

And then there are the races. I'm not exaggerating when I say that there was a race in NWA or very close by in the mountains, even single one of the five weekends I was there. That's a ridiculous number of events. No one needs to run that many races, but if you're new to town and looking to meet people in the running community, you can always volunteer at some of these events.

Honestly, the number of races seemed a bit absurd to me. Turns out that the excess is partly fueled by the University of Arkansas's Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program where students interested in the outdoors and entrepreneurships can work on recreation-related startups. Organizing events, like races, is one of the projects you can complete for this major. Which is so freaking cool! I love this area. 

When I arrived in Fayetteville in March, my initial impression was that I thought I liked Bentonville better. Fayetteville is a college town, after all, and Bentonville felt more adult. But after spending a whole month there are not going up to Bentonville or Rogers at all, I think I might have changed my mind. The community is great and there's always something going on, just a ten minute drive away or less. NWA really is my place.