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A Fun Visit to NW Arkansas

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North West Arkansas is home to Wal-Mart and my mom, who recently turned 89. It was a pleasure to visit her in Arkansas for that special occasion. My mom was thrilled that my daughter joined me on the trip.

In Bentonville, we visited the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. My daughter was fascinated with the two-story spider sculpture at the entrance. I appreciated the models we saw that had productive use of sea shells, answering one of my questions from Florida, “What do we do with the shells?”

AR What to do with shells

One option for shells from the beach and assorted items

  • The museum has a fun collection of American art including some sculptures like the man waiting for his wife and the spider that my daughter liked so much.
  • The Frank Lloyd Wright house was great to see as we have limited opportunities to be in one of his creations. The museum took this house apart in New Jersey and reassembled it in Arkansas.

AR Frank Lloyd wright house

Thank you to Wal-Mart for sponsoring general admission to Crystal Bridges—it was free!

North of Bentonville is the retirement community of Bella Vista. We took a walk to visit the VFW memorial where we have a brick for my grandfather and my dad’s military service. While walking around Lake Bella Vista, we saw a rare site:  a black swan. I was reminded of the book about improbable events. Our improbable event was a 2 mile hike with my 89 year old mom.

We managed a trip to the Walton Art Center, south of Bentonville, near the home of the University of ArkansasFayetteville is a nice place to visit. We enjoyed the pedestrian street traffic on Friday night as several of the U of Arkansas students were wearing realistic Star Wars outfits, including light sabers. Too bad we were not quick enough to get a picture.

Other highlights:

It was cold in North West Arkansas. Next year (for 90) we will plan to go to Disney as my brother lives near Orlando.

Here are my Mom’s tips looking back on 89 years:

  1. Have things to look forward to doing. We went to the symphony. Like many of us when we get older, she does not like driving in the dark. She had tickets for all of us on a bus that a group regularly takes to the symphony. It adds to the social, as well as the cultural, experience. AR Symphony program day 1
  2. Be a blessing to others. Several people told me about the wonderful things my mom had done in their life. It was great to hear and made me proud of my mom. She was not resting; she went out to take care of a friend who is much older and cannot do too much.
  3. Keep moving. We went to Crystal Bridges, and although we did not walk fast, we went through the museum and grounds. We walked her neighborhood several times, seeing an armadillo and several neighbors doing the same thing we were–getting out and being active.
  4. Keep having fun!

AR happy birthday Mom

Peer pressure is alive and well after high school and follows even 89 year olds. When asked about living in the same house for the last 30 years and when she might move to a smaller place, her response was all about her friends—fellow  widows living by themselves and doing well. I am happy to report she is doing well in her large house and she is hiring out for some of the things she can no longer do.

AR Monday day from deck

View from the porch

Trip by the numbers: We went on several walks/hikes with Mom, a total of more than 4 miles. No bike rides, even though we had a few nice days.

AR lake bella visita bikes

Too cool for a bike ride. We like the sculpture!


  1. Chuck Kohl says:

    I think if I lived in a house with that view from the front porch I would never want to move out. I can’t blame your mother for wanting to stay there. Also, the bike sculpture! I love it (although it’s rarely too cold for me to get a ride in) Thanks for the photographs, Glen. Say hello to Kim for me!


  2. Thank you for the comments. My mom does not get out on the bike, and we wanted to spend the time with her.


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