Sometimes a location takes you by surprise. This is exactly the case with the uber adorable, tiny community, of Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Should you ever find yourself on a road trip in the midwest, I encourage you to detour to this rural enclave. Only a bit over an hour from Tulsa Oklahoma, less from the self proclaimed mountain biking capital of the world, Bentonville, AR. Named one of twenty best small towns in America, by the Smithsonian Institute in 2012, it continues to work it's magic. In fact, the word is clearly getting out, as the population has increased by 47% between in the last decade.
Characterized by the purported healing qualities of Sager Creek, which runs through the historic downtown, where a lovely park with benches are available to while the day away, listening to the low hum of cicadas and laughter of children splashing in the water. Adorable shops are within sight, filling the restored buildings which line the small downtown. Easily walkable even in the high heat and humidity of summer. A horse drawn carriage is even available to take you to and fro.
Perfectly suited for a long weekend escape, anytime of year - The Park House, would be my recommended accommodation. This welcoming community has open arms to all, with spectacular hospitality at this bar / restaurant / hotel. Their menu is more than tasty, offering live music on most Saturday nights, with sleeping arrangements eclectic and comfortable, directly upstairs. Free parking and steps away from shopping, breweries, bakeries, and an extensive trail system for walking and biking.
AND there's more! Just outside of town, a short 10 minute drive away, brings you to Natural Falls State Park, which is actually just across the boarder in Oklahoma. This park has RV camping and has a small parking fee for day trippers, you can easily spend hours here along the extensive trail system and grotto's. Heading the opposite direction, but still a short drive away, you will discover a large swimming and kayaking area, to frolic, along the Illinois River. This park is FREE for all, just bring your own tube, or kayak, picnic, swim trunks and be prepared to have an incredible day. Not only does this lovely oasis take the edge off of summer heat, it is dog friendly, providing fun for the whole family. There is a large parking area as well as changing rooms and toilets, but does tend to fill up quickly, the earlier you arrive the better. Be sure to bring everything you might need, though only a short drive to town through scenic farms, there are no locations nearby to purchase ice, sodas or a sandwich.
This is definitely the year to get off the beaten path and explore locations which may not have ever crossed your mind. Take up new hobbies, restore friendships, be kind to yourself, take the long way. Had you asked me 3 years ago if Arkansas was on my wish list - the answer easily would have been a hard no. BUT I am a complete convert. Siloam Springs is just one small taste of numerous, wonderful locations to swim, hike, bike and eat your way to oblivion, which you can find, all over the middle of our beautiful country. Enjoy your explorations - drop me a line and let me know your favorite spot!
As always, have fun!
Cheers! - Una