Two of our hosts for the week!
Sorry Les – but that was the reaction I received from most people. BUT my response is YES and had a blast! (Minus the stomach bug we all passed around.) It is true, me and the kids (and later Steven) flew into XNA (Zena I have been told by pilot friends) aka Northwest Arkansas for a week of friends, fun, sun, and memories!
Dear friends of ours, ones I met my sophomore year of college at PSU a few years (13 – ahhh!) ago, moved to Fayetteville, AR a few years back. People who don’t have the immediate reaction of why? go immediately to “oh – they must work for Walmart!” BINGO! But really it is a fun, college town, that I had a blast exploring. It was filled with little parks, cool restaurants, interesting people-watching (although not many were there during the summer), and just a vibe that made me feel “young and cool” again!
Some of the places we visited were:
Northweat AR Naturals game at Arvest Park. I’m becoming a big fan of minor league baseball. Our first experience was at at Chattanooga Lookouts game last August. Minor league games attract a smaller, yet more family friendly crowd (in my experience.) Case in point, this night was kids eat free (also for LM that consisted of Doritos dipped in ketchup!) And to make that even sweeter – kids under a certain age (3 maybe?) don’t have to buy tickets – so free meals with no tickets – bonus! A playground in the outfield, lots of shade (still with great views), plenty of entertainment (my favorite was the eyeball race for a local eyecare center), and a Sasquatch & dragon as mascots – I couldn’t have asked for more!
Wilson Park is just a short block away from our friends house. And is one of the coolest parks I’ve ever seen. It has a castle! The kids enjoyed going up to the tower and looking down. Checking out the fish in the little pond. Walking over the bridge. This is such a gem so close to home for them! The park also has a pool, 2 more large playgrounds, ball fields, and lots of trees and space! I was told students come and hang hammocks in between the trees to hang out too – how fun!
Before going to the lake we drove into Bentonville, AR (home to Walmart headquarters) to visit the Bentonville Splash Park in Lawrence Plaza. This is a quality splash park. Huge, flat, some shade, plenty of seating, restrooms, they really got it right here. And as an added bonus a few food trucks set up around there – so for lunch we checked out Crepes Paulette Food Truck and was not disappointed! I had a turkey reuben crepe. LM had a blueberry sweet crepe, and I’ve never seen LL eat so well with her ham and cheese sweet crepe! Great find!
Next we drove up to Beaver Lake to spend the remainder of our trip. They have a decked-out, amazing, beautiful lake home, complete with 5 bedrooms and all the toys you could want! No detail was missed as they have truly made this a home to relax, enjoy, and not worry about anything!
One day we drove the boat out to eat at JJ’s – a floating restaurant. Decent food but the highlight was the ginormous fish that the kids enjoyed feeding! We did have to rush out of there after our LM got sick. Combo of a nasty tummy bug we all were passing around and motion sickness.
A few more highlights from the lake included:
Polaris (ATV) for getting down to the docks:
Pontoon Boat: (I had Little Big Town’s “Pontoon” stuck in my head all week!) That is me and LM being pulled behind the boat on a raft! (Also went with LL too!)
Jetski: (Even LL took a ride on this!)
Floating Island: (Great for little ones, and to top off just floating off the dock – Steven even got to fill this up with a modified leaf-blower!)
So thank you to our dear friends and their parents for having us out for a week of fun, sun, memories, and more! Can’t wait to come back or visit another new place with you again soon!
As a thank you – we sent them BumFloats. Basically diapers for adults to float in the water – hands free. The review was that they worked, just looked funny!