Counting Down the Top 20
By Lana F. Flowers
TFW Contributing Writer
Every city or region has them.
There are the people you must know and the places you must go. From the institutions and official events to the dives and local legends, these things make where we live unique.
Here’s our list for the top 20 NWArkie “Bucket List.” Coming next week, your ideas for the list. Send your submissions and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
20. Call in to Jon Williams’ morning show on 93.3 The Eagle.
Jon broadcasts live from Fayetteville. It is not a recorded show. It is local and here, not syndicated programming from Kansas City or Chicago or Dallas or wherever else.
He even has his own cult … er, group of listeners — the Loyal and Royal Army. Listen 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday on 93.3 FM.
19. Take a flight from Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport or at least know where you are when you land. It’s in Highfill in Benton County but looks like a cow pasture in the middle of nowhere.
Flight crews will often say you have landed in Fayetteville. Your ticket may even say Fayetteville. But Fayetteville is in Washington County — a good 25 miles south.
Some simply may say you have landed in Northwest Arkansas. But, with four major cities — Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale — spread across two counties, that too is confusing.
“I always feel so stupid looking at the departure board because I never know whether to look for Fayetteville, Bentonville, Northwest Arkansas or XNA,” said Gracie Terrell of Fayetteville.
18. Have a drink in at least five restaurants in Benton County — just not all in the same night.
While there are still no liquor stores, Rogers and Bentonville offer plenty of places to get a glass of wine, a swig of beer or a cocktail with your dinner — well deserving of the nickname “The Wettest Dry County in Arkansas.”
(In the not-so-distant past, establishments in that county were required to operate under private club status to serve booze. [Editor: Oops, private club status is still the rule in Benton County. This is my error. Sorry, Lana!]) How much longer before Benton County tires of sending tax dollars into Missouri and Washington County?
17. Buy liquor at Macadoodles on Sunday at the location in Missouri just north of Bella Vista.
Forget to stock up on Saturday? The liquor store with the funny name and the leprechaun mascot offers a solution. Grab a six pack of Shiner Bock or maybe a bottle of Post Familie wine. Head home and wonder why county and city lawmakers don’t change the rules on Sunday when the only outcome can be to encourage folks to drink and drive. Plus needless restrictions on liberty and business are, well, un-American.
16. Visit the home of the official Bluebird of Happiness. Terra Studios in Durham is worth a trip for well more than the glass bluebirds for which it’s internationally known. Beauty and art abound in this must-see place.
15. Get a ticket in Johnson.
The little town wedged between the Mall Avenue area in Fayetteville and Interstate 540 is known for being a speed trap. Johnson has few businesses to generate sales tax revenue, so it seems the small city must rely on other sources of income. Go 25 mph, don’t swerve or even bobble a bit, buckle up and stay off that cell phone.
Shelby Mainzer of Johnson got a ticket in June 2009 for going 9 mph above the speed limit.
“I paid it. I think it was like a hundred and something dollars,” Mainzer said.
14. Eat at Hermann’s Ribhouse along North College Avenue in Fayetteville.
From College Avenue it looks like a broken down old white farmhouse; but inside, you will find some of the best steaks and drinks this side of Morton’s.
13. Visit the ruins of William “Coin” Harvey’s health resort — now mostly under the surface of Beaver Lake — in Monte Ne. If you want a good look at a unique treat, find a time when the lake level is low and gaze at the remnants of one man’s vision of luxury from the early 1900s.
12. Experience the Arts Center of the Ozarks. From its gallery to its classes to its theater season and more, the ACO has brought beauty and entertainment to the city of Springdale for decades. And be sure to say hi to Harry and Kathi Blundell.
11. Attend the Rodeo of the Ozarks over the July Fourth weekend in Springdale. What’s better than broiling in the sun while watching rodeo clowns get gored? Unless you’ve got a clown phobia of some sort. Or a getting gored phobia.
10. Take either Scenic U.S. 71 or the Pig Trail Scenic Byway (Arkansas 23) to Interstate 40 to find out why I-540 means so much to all of us. Tom Stallbaumer, Northwest Arkansas Newspapers publisher, recommends riding the Pig Trail from Eureka Springs to Ozark.
“The best way is on the back of a motorcycle, but if you only have four wheels at your disposal, just roll down the windows and stick your head out whenever possible. You’ll be surprised at the great smells (and some not so great smells), the lush hills and tree-canopied roads. But keep your eyes open for motorcycles as this is a favorite ride for motorcycle enthusiasts from throughout the country.”
9. Know that Springdale is nicknamed “Chickendale” because of the presence of some big poultry companies, such as George’s Inc. and — the biggest of all — Tyson Foods.
That unique and pungent odor permeating Springdale — depending on which way the wind blows — is the smell of money — chicken money. Unfortunately, on days that are particularly warm with still air, it also smells like chicken poo.
8. Attend a concert at the AMP at the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville. Eddie Money has been there. So have the Goo Goo Dolls. And Brett Michaels is coming! WOOT!
7. Attend a show at the Walton Arts Center on Dickson Street in Fayetteville. You cannot miss this. From Broadway delights “Beauty and the Beast” and “Rent” to national performers such as Michael Buble, this performing arts venue adds to the area’s culture.
6. Shop at a Farmers Market.
Laura Whitfield, 26, a waitress at Damgoode Pies in Fayetteville, has lived in the area for about 20 years.
“(The Fayetteville Famers’ Market) been going on for so long, ever since I have lived here. It is sort of a staple and it just keeps growing. I find good produce and other local stuff, like flowers. There is music, and it is a good community-based event,” Whitfield said.
5. Go to a Northwest Arkansas Naturals game at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale and have your photo taken with Strike the Sasquatch — as the announcer says, “He’s big. He’s hairy. He loves mustard.”
4. Spend at least one weekend in Eureka Springs. It’s a little Victorian village of houses with gingerbread flourishes nestled in the hills in Carroll County. It is a bohemian place full of artists, creative types, festivals and live music. It has hotels that purportedly are haunted and small boutiques selling jewelry and clothes.
3. Attend Bikes, Blues & BBQ in Fayetteville. Whether you love it or hate it, this motorcycle festival definitely attracts crowds and, some say, revs up the economy along with the Harleys.
2. Go to a movie at the 112 Drive-In. You get extra credit if you sneak in two friends in the trunk. Just don’t forget to let them out.
1. Attend a University of Arkansas Razorbacks football game — or basketball game or baseball game or track event or gymnastics meet, or … well, you get the idea. To check this one off, you have to wear a red Hog hat and yell “Woo Pig Sooie!”
Once you complete this checklist, you get a gold star and can say “I truly am a Northwest Arkansas resident.”
Now, go shop locally to boost the sales tax revenue after you finish that Facebook chat with Mayor Jordan.