The change from summer to fall progresses slowly in Texas, but always inspires travelers to get outdoors more. Cooler weather makes it an ideal time to fast-forward the leaf-peeping opportunities beyond the Lone Star State by taking a road trip to admire fall foliage. I highly recommend heading to Bentonville, Arkansas.
Bentonville is an easy five to six-hour drive from Dallas. And if you detour off the interstate and take the roads less traveled, the drive is beautiful, especially further into the Ozark Mountains.
For me, traveling always includes a visit to a museum, art gallery, or historic site, and Bentonville offers all three.
“The air is crisp. The leaves are changing. And Bentonville is a close and rewarding destination for Dallasites yearning for an injection of fall.”
For art lovers and those who appreciate gorgeous architecture, the main attraction is the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Crystal Bridges takes its name from a nearby natural spring and the bridge construction incorporated in the building, designed by world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie.
Crystal Bridges was founded in 2005 by philanthropist and arts patron Alice Walton, daughter to Walmart founder Sam Walton. Its permanent collection spans five centuries of American masterworks ranging from the Colonial era to the present. Included are iconic works by Norman Rockwell, Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe, and James Turrell.
There’s also lovely grounds and trails to explore, with sculpture to admire throughout, so visitors can take in the abundant fall colors while appreciating an impressive collection of American Art. The museum is free, and timed entrances must be booked in advance online.
For those of you who like a little retail therapy, Bentonville’s Downtown Square has been carefully restored with dozens of shops, boutiques, and restaurants to explore and enjoy. Be sure and visit the Walmart Museum, housed inside the original location of The Walton’s 5&10 Building, complete with an old-fashioned soda fountain.
Part of the lure of a road trip is the opportunity to experience new restaurants, and I can highly recommend two in Bentonville.
First is The Preacher’s Son, open for dinner. Using sustainably sourced ingredients from farmers and ranchers in Northwest Arkansas, this unique restaurant is housed in a former church sanctuary, complete with a grid of 288, 5-inch gold bells in the tower to give the church back its ring.
Another excellent restaurant is The Hive, located inside the 21c Hotel & Museum, which is where I recommend laying your weary head after a busy day in Bentonville.
The Preacher’s Son and The 21c Hotel & Museum are within a block of Downtown Square, and Crystal Bridges is a short 10-minute drive from this same area.
The air is crisp. The leaves are changing. And Bentonville is a close and rewarding destination for Dallasites yearning for an injection of fall.
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