When I was originally compiling my Life List, I spent some time looking over other people's lists to get ideas and inspiration. And among the common items like "Go skydiving" and "Learn a second language" was something that struck me as interesting — Be a tourist in your own town. It came up time and time again, but it was usually on the lists of people who live somewhere fabulous like San Francisco or NYC or Boston.
I didn't add it to my list because I thought it would be too easy. I thought I'd pretty much done what it takes to "tour" NWA so I left it alone. But the last few weeks have changed my thinking about what it means to truly experience your own hometown.
I Googled "Fayetteville Arkansas bucket list" and stumbled across a countdown compiled by The Free Weekly – The Top 40 List of things you must do to be considered a true NWA resident. As I read through it, I was shocked by some of the things I haven't done. But I had several nice, nostalgic moments as I remembered the stories of the items I was able to cross off.
The Fayetteville, Arkansas Bucket List
40. You must have been to at least five small towns that are off the I-540 corridor ? and by ?been to? we do not mean drive through: You must stop and talk to at least three people.
39. Have a Facebook chat with Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan.
38. Hike Devil?s Den State Park.
37. Party on the Patio at Powerhouse Seafood and Grill.
36. Know what business was in a building at least three businesses ago.
35. Share a kiss by the cross on Mount Sequoyah.
34. Have a Bloody Mary at Common Grounds in Fayetteville.
33. See a show at the Rogers Little Theater.
32. Have lived in a Lindsey apartment complex. You get extra credit if the complex had Links or Greens in the name.
31. Buy a piece of art from a local artist.
30. Experience the linear parking lot that I-540 becomes at certain times of the day, like between 6:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to about 7 p.m.
29. Get gas at what is locally known as the Gucci Gas Station, also called the Prada Pick ?n? Tote, in Rogers. Its real name is Pinnacle Station Local Market.
28. Visit a taqueria ? Spanish for taco shop.
27. Go boating on Beaver Lake.
26. Eat at the Monte Ne Chicken Inn.
25. Know at least three celebrities from the area.
24. Go to First Thursday on the town square in Fayetteville.
23. Cross state lines to gamble.
22. Feed the animals, or get slightly nipped by one, at the Wild-Wilderness Drive-Through Safari.
21. Have your photo taken with Dick Trammel at a charity event.
20. Call in to Jon Williams? morning show on 93.3 The Eagle.
19. Take a flight from Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport or at least know where you are when you land.
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.?
17. Buy liquor at Macadoodles on Sunday at the location in Missouri just north of Bella Vista.
16. Visit the home of the official Bluebird of Happiness – Terra Studios.
15. Get a ticket in Johnson.
14. Eat at Herman?s Ribhouse along North College Avenue in Fayetteville.
13. Visit the ruins of William ?Coin? Harvey?s health resort ? now mostly under the surface of Beaver Lake ? in Monte Ne.
12. Experience the Arts Center of the Ozarks.
11. Attend the Rodeo of the Ozarks over the July Fourth weekend in Springdale.
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.
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.
8. Attend a concert at the AMP at the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville.
7. Attend a show at the Walton Arts Center on Dickson Street in Fayetteville.
6. Shop at the Fayetteville Farmers' Market.
5. Go to a Northwest Arkansas Naturals game at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale and have your photo taken with Strike the Sasquatch.
4. Spend at least one weekend in Eureka Springs.
3. Attend Bikes, Blues & BBQ in Fayetteville.
2. Go to a movie at the 112 Drive-In.
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!?
Now that Colt is getting older, we're rediscovering Fayetteville a little. Last weekend, we hiked out to Whitaker Point (not on the list). And this weekend we decided to test our luck by taking the trail around Lake Fayetteville (also not on the list). This was only after we spent the morning at the Fayetteville Farmers' Market (ON THE LIST!). And I can't believe this is true – but I've lived here for 10 years and this past Saturday was my first ever trip to the Farmer's Market!
So here you go – a few tourist photos of our weekend in Fayetteville:
We walked around the Fayetteville square all morning, but if you ask Colt what we saw he will excitedly tell you, "Rocks! And water!"
See that face? That face has sound effects. Sound effects that were in full force for the first mile or so, but disappeared for good once we really got going. The trail is about 5 miles and we walked every last step. Colt walked nearly every one of them with us — only riding on Jeff's shoulders or my back for short stretches throughout the afternoon. We ALL slept hard that night.
We aren't making a mission of it or anything, but I imagine we'll hit a few more of those NWA Bucket List items before the summer is over. Some of them we'll do over and over – because we're good little Hogs.
What's on your hometown tourist list? Anything missing from the NWA Top 40?