The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

July 1, 2013

Girls day out

Plan a trip to Northwest Arkansas for fun with your friends

— When a friend told me I just had to come with her to Northwest Arkansas for a girls day out, I begrudgingly agreed.

Kid-free time is precious. I had misconceptions about Arkansas. Camping wasn’t in the game plan, so how fun could it be?

As it turns out, Arkansas is the new fun day trip for us folks in Southwest Missouri. Somewhere along the way, Arkansas became hip. I urge you to check it out. I have a two-day trip planned out for you, so there’s really no excuse.

Bentonville

Start your day by gathering your friends and heading down Interstate 49 to Bentonville. Stop at True Treasures along the way. It’s a big, fun shop full of repurposed furniture, antiques and cool crafts made by local artisans.

Head to downtown Bentonville and park near the town square where all the action is. Try not to waste too much time gawking at the pretty flowers in the landscape and the beautiful homes surrounding the square.

Your first destination is Compton Gardens, where you can take your time strolling through the beautiful native plantings. You can spend as much time as you wish there. It’s beautiful, but you may need to take a break at Crepes Paulette, which is usually my main reason for going to Northwest Arkansas. Their crepes are stuffed with gooey, melting amazingness. Part of the charm comes from knowing the guy taking your order is actually French, and the magic all happens inside a food truck. Order an iced coffee and hit the road. Time is a-wasting.

Rogers

Rogers is your next destination. I hope your coffee has kicked in, because you’ll need the energy to get through Pinnacle Hills Promenade. Wear your walking shoes for some serious outdoor shopping. Pinnacle Hills Promenade has every retail store you could want, from Sephora to Dillard’s to Williams-Sonoma. There is truly something for everyone at the promenade.

Hit a couple of shops or hit them all, but definitely leave room in your budget for The Fresh Market.

If you are a self-proclaimed foodie like myself, you will love The Fresh Market. It’s a wonderland of fresh produce, organic everything, bulk coffee, grains and spices, and it has the most amazing antipasto bar I have ever seen. Since you’re on the road, take it easy on the fresh produce. You can get that at home. However, feel free to fill up a container with stuffed and pickled olives and peppers. Their bakery is pretty amazing, too. When I go home with a loaf of rosemary sea salt sourdough and a container of mixed antipasto, I am the happiest girl around. It doesn’t take much.

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