This past weekend was our attempt at one last mini-vacation this summer. Yes, I am aware it’s only mid-July but at this point, I start wishing away the heat and humidity of summertime and longing for fall! In looking back over the weekend, I have some observations to share:
- Make sure your cabin in the woods conveniently located near the interstate is not literally ON the interstate. After waffling on a destination we finally decided on Northwest Arkansas. When looking for accommodations, I found a “treehouse” in an RV park right outside of town on Airbnb. When we arrived, we found the RV park was RIGHT on I-49. The treehouses – elevated cabin/houses – were set back from the rest of the park a bit. And the house was really nicely done and relatively new.
2. Go to the tiny swimming pool really late! The small potential Covid carriers (i.e. children) are much less likely to be there. Abby and I attempted to go the first night around 7 – too many people even in an non-pandemic. The next night we waited until around 8:30 and had the whole place to ourselves! I attempted some of my stellar underwater slightly sideways somersaults and realized too late that I am far too prone to nausea for that to be a good idea.
3. Hyenas love tummy rubs! One of our activities for this trip was the Wild Wilderness Drive Through Safari in nearby Gentry. Due to COVID restrictions, we weren’t able to pet the animals as we had on previous visits; however one of the keepers was on his rounds and gave us a lot of information about the animals, including Hank the Hyena.
4. If you are concerned about social distancing during a pandemic, don’t attempt to go to the most popular free museum in Arkansas on a Saturday. We had hoped to make a visit to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, figuring we could mask and social distance from others. After we drove up to Bentonville, we couldn’t even find a parking space so quickly altered our plans.
5. Siloam Springs is really cute! A FB friend of mine from elementary school who is an artist had posted about a mural she was finishing up in Siloam. After our Crystal Bridges plans didn’t pan out and we saw how very crowded downtown Bentonville and Fayetteville were, we drove over to Siloam to find a restaurant with outdoor dining. We settled on at Park Hill Kitchen + Bar where we had a nice outdoor meal (aside from the flies) walked around a bit and found Joanna’s mural – Van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace at Night.
6. The simplest things really are the best. Over the past few years, we have made antique shops and thrift shops a regular stop on both day trips and vacations. I am pretty specific about what I look for and this Shawnee Wishing Well planter was exactly like one I had as a child. My mom tells me that she thinks it came from her grandmother’s home. The one I had broke at some point over the years but I saved the pieces in the attic somewhere. I have mentioned before that birds have become my de facto non holiday decorations during the year so I like to look for what I think are unique looking birds – and I needed a soap dish!
7. Sarah Brackett will find any bookstore within a hundred mile radius. We visited both Once Upon a Time Books locations in Tontitown and Bentonville and Two Best Friends in Bentonville.
8. Lucy the Elderly Wiener Dog is the perfect travel companion. My mom graciously offered to take care of the menagerie while we were gone but we decided at the last minute to take Lucy. She is quiet, small and very portable!
9. You can relax or recreate on a three day vacation but not both! I seriously overestimated the amount of time we would have for activities on this brief trip. I brought several books, games, puzzles, my crochet project….I think I read about a third of one book!
10. When you have a 21 year and 18 year old, family dynamics change. You are not only a family of four with two parents and two children, but also a family of four adults. This applies to not only vacation days but every day. This was a hard trip for us emotionally. Our family has gone through a lot of change in the last few years; Trever and I have each lost parents, we are getting older ourselves, and we are now parents of two college students. The pandemic is not nearly as over as we thought it was a few months ago. But such is life. We had more than one argument but this led to some good conversations. No matter what things happen or how things change, I am really grateful that our family enjoys spending time together and hope for many more trips in the future.
Karri Temple Brackett
July 13, 2021