Arkansas. It’s actually a state I have never explored before and am so glad I got the chance to finally go because man, it was way more gorgeous than I was expecting.
My dad, step-mom & I have a new tradition going that my parents decided to start a couple years ago and I am the awesome beneficiary of the adventures this brings about. Two Christmas’ ago, they decided to give each of their children & their spouses the gift of their ‘presence’ instead of ‘presents.’ BEST IDEA EVER!!!
Since I’m the only single one of my family, no spouse goes along for the trip which works out in more awesome adventures for me (hahahahahaha….if they keep this up I might just stay single forever). Last summer we got to spend 5 days exploring Juneau, Alaska and this year our trip was to Devil’s Den State Park in Arkansas.
We rented a cabin in Devil’s Den State Park which, while a little outdated & they definitely don’t have the most comfortable beds, is an awesome choice. Especially if you really want to get away and unplug (there’s no cell service or wifi). But being in the cabins also offered us super easy access to all the trails so we spent 4 days hiking & exploring. Our first hike of our trip was Yellow Rock Trail and it did not disappoint! The view from the top of that rock was amazing & definitely my favorite hike.
The other trails also had gorgeous views with rivers and waterfalls (pictures of each below). But they didn’t give me that shock and awe I had when I was standing above all those trees on the rock and didn’t compare to how amazingly peaceful it was.
Little fun fact about me, I’m definitely a little directionally challenged. North, South, East West, those words are mostly meaningless to me. So being out on trails that aren’t super well marked, was interesting. I caused a couple of ½ mile or so detours, but I am just going to chalk that up to being part of the adventure. The only time we didn’t really get turned around was when my dad was leading, but I tried not to let his head get too big from always being right about that. Luckily for me, he only led when I kept running into spider webs every two feet (because spiders are the worst and I scream a lot when I run into their terrifying webs of doom).
Although lots of family togetherness and zero access to the outside world is fun, we still needed to have some connection to civilization so for breakfast and dinners we headed back into Fayetteville to take advantage of all it had to offer.
If you know me at all (or see any of the pics I take), you know how much I love good food & beer. Fayetteville had a lot of options to choose from but we ended up eating the majority of our meals at this adorable Farm-to-Table restaurant called The Farmer’s Table. Seriously, we loved the breakfast here so much the first day that we came back the next day and then for dinner again. It was that good. If you’re ever in the area, this is probably my #1 must place to eat and check out. A plus since they also offer a nice craft beer selection of Arkansas brews.
The trip wouldn’t have been complete without checking out at least one local brewery. I am very lucky in that my parents let me drag them to one on every trip we take (and honestly they usually enjoy it too). This time we headed out to Fossil Cove Brewing. I had tried one of their beers at dinner the night before and couldn’t wait to see what else they had. Since I was super curious about all they had to offer, I chose a flight of 5 and wasn’t disappointed.
My favorites were the stout (go figure ;)) and the blizzle (a black IPA). Both fit the gray, cooler weather that was coming in. The only thing I was disappointed in was the staff. When I check out new places I’m always excited to hear about the beers and a little history on the place. But when I went to order my flight, the guy helping me seemed a bit put out that he had to serve me and more interested in socializing with all the people he knew that were there. I’d get it if the place were packed, but since there were only a few people in there it didn’t make sense to me but I no longer felt comfortable asking for information or staying past my one flight. Kind of a bummer and what I’m sure isn’t a typical experience, but since you can get their can in the store I don’t have to worry about going back ever again. 😉
Overall Arkansas was an amazing adventure & I always love spending this time with my parents, a drastic change from my teenage years that I know they appreciate. I can’t wait to see what they do for Christmas this year (I’ve asked for a trip to Banff to run their marathon next year but we’ll see).