I would never have imagined that I would experience my first Mardi Gras in Arkansas. But then again, I’ve been surprised over and over again by Arkansas.
21C Museum Hotel
The first 21C is in in Lexington, Kentucky. And if you get a chance to stay in one, you should! And particularly if you like modern art. From the “fly on the wall” wallpaper to the “fat batman” hanging from the ceiling in the gym, unexpected art lines the wall…inside and out.
Downtown Bentonville is so charming. From the little cafes to the Wal-mart 5 and 10 store, which is now a museum, the town oozes small town charm. I love that you can get an ice cream cone for $1 and in the spring all the shopkeepers say “hi” if you pass them while walking down the sidewalk. And don’t forget to try one of the food trucks Arkansas is known for.
Crystal Bridges Museum of Modern Art
Walking distance from the 21C Museum Hotel is Crystal Bridges. Founded by Alice Walton, the museum boasts some amazing pieces of American art and is beautifully architected to blend in with it’s wooded surroundings. Millions of dollars of art work are housed there and it’s a must see.
I was told while there that the town used to be a hub for drinking and for prostitution back in the Civil War. Not believing the old man who sat down next to me to watch the parade, I did a bit of googling. I think he was pulling my leg. Today Eureka Springs is village set in the Ozarks with cute Victoria houses and a working art community. And we were lucky to visit on Mardi Gras and catch the town parade.
There is also a stunning church along the way to Eureka Springs…Thorncrown Chapel is set in the woods on the top of a hill. Created by architect, E.Fay Jones, it blends with the scenery and reminds me of one of my favorite artists, Louise Nevelson.