Goat cheese salad with Yukon gold potatoes from James at the Mill, AR

Goat cheese salad with Yukon gold potatoes from James at the Mill, AR. photo by Karen Kuzsel

The last things I expected from a weeklong trip to the Arkansas Ozarks were haute cuisine or elegant, preserved Victorian architecture in a city seemingly populated by a contrasting mix of retro hippies, spiritual wellness gurus and European fashionistas. Nor did I expect to be awed by the largest museum in the country dedicated to American art.
So, you’re probably wondering what I did expect. My husband and I were in AR for a family vacation. Usually when visiting those family members we stay in the Little Rock area. From those repeated trips, I can testify that none of the restaurant meals we’ve eaten would even be considered mediocre by Orlando standards. This time we were meeting family in the mountains, to lodge for four days in a cabin not far from the Buffalo River. To translate that into terms most of you will relate to, we were miles from the nearest cell phone service and a good half-hour drive to a grocery store.
The cabin was loaded with amenities like cookware (no dishwasher), flat screen  (DVD’s,no TV), comfy bedding, plush towels and the requisite dead animal skins and carcasses lining the two-story dark wood walls. The weather was chillier and grayer than hoped for, but not as bad as predicted. (Do weathermen ever get it right?) We soaked in the hot tub, charred s’mores over the outside fire pit, hiked to waterfalls over rocky terrains and steep slick steps, read, played games, and spent quality time with one another.
All that was terrific, but what I want to share is the Arkansas I didn’t know was there.
My husband is a primo travel guide and arrangements-maker. He studiously researches roadways, attractions, weather patterns Read more