Sometimes I feel like getting out of the city and driving around the countryside.  I get that from my mother.  And my father.  And my husband.

Yesterday was one of those days that I couldn’t sit inside and I’d already walked and it was probably the last day of fall color with the windy & rainy weekend predicted.  All the beautiful leaves will be in piles on the ground in a few days.  So, I took off looking for the hills of color.  I sat a a stop light deciding which way to go and headed east, towards Arkansas, navigating the horrible construction on I-244 to get to Hwy 412, one of the nicest drives anywhere.  At first I thought I’d missed the color, but then I hit the hills and all the colors shining in the glorious sunshine.  Looking at the map, I realized it wasn’t that much further to Bentonville and Crystal Bridges, so I headed that way.  I’d been wanting to do this anyway.

There is something about driving on a beautiful day that clears everything out of your head and floods your brain with fresh thoughts.  That’s easier now that I’m retired and don’t have to push all the work responsibilities aside in order to enjoy what I’m seeing.  Hwy 412 meanders around hills in a leisurely way, even on the turnpike route.

I had seen the pictures of Crystal Bridges, but it still doesn’t prepare you for the first view.  It’s in a neighborhood, a lovely neighborhood built up by the WalMart influence on the community.  It doesn’t have a big entrance and you could miss it if you weren’t looking for it.  You’re in town and in the woods at the same time on this 140 acre gift to the people.  On another note, after doing fundraising for a museum for the past 7 years, it’s a dream to start out with an $800 million endowment.  Admission is free, thanks to WalMart.

I’ll summarize my views quickly with photos, but you can get details at

Coming up to the main entrance, I was stunned by the silver tree, “Yield,” shining in the sun.  Incredibly mesmerizing…

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I was on the top level, so my first view of the museum was looking down and I wasn’t prepared for how beautifully it is situated in the location, down in the valley.  The building itself is a work of art that is appreciated from every angle.




Inside museum

The collection is a fabulous selection of American art from Revolutionary times through today.  I found works by many of my favorites and some new ones that I will be glad to revisit at any time.  You’re sure to love many, many pieces and find your own favorites.  Moran, Norman Rockwell, Mary Cassatt, Calder, Warhol, Gilbert Stuart, Thomas Hart Benton, Bierstadt, John Singer Sargent, George Innes, Rothko, and so many others.





I loved the little reading rooms sprinkled in the galleries with stacks and shelves of books so you could sit down and read more as your curiosity made you want to learn more now!


The restaurant is lovely and bar area is beautiful and a nice place to take a rest.  The museum shop is a gem…spoken by someone who owned a gift shop and worked around a museum shop.


But, I was there to enjoy the fall day and took to the Rock Ledge Trail that wound above the museum and the lawn.  There are six trails for over 3 miles.  I didn’t get as far as I would have like because I was losing daylight to get home, but it is stunning.  I would walk there every day if I lived in the area.  You could do a different trail and see something new all the time.  I can’t wait to see it in the other seasons.  Lovely…




Cardinal in the woods


My favorite thing was the frame on the trail.  Isn’t this a simple, great idea?  I bet a million people have posed in that frame, but I love the scene itself.  You feel like you are a painter…or a real photographer…beautiful!




I didn’t get enough time for all I wanted to do, but I’ll be back many times for sure.  Thank you, Alice Walton!  What an incredible gift you have given for all to enjoy.