We scheduled our drive to Orlando in order to stop at two of our favorite places in Nashville. We had to eat at Burger Up at 2901 12th Avenue South and walk down the street to Las Paletas to get Mexican popsicles.
Burger Up features fresh burgers in a really cool restaurant with lots of reclaimed wood used in the décor. It’s a trendy place with an eclectic group of customers from hip locals to tourists from Kansas. Give it a try when you’re in the area. Chelle gives it her gluten friendly designation.
According to their website, Las Paletas offers “cream” paletas that have the texture of an ice cream bar and “fruit” paletas that have the texture of a traditional ice pop. They use fresh, ripe fruit, vegetables and other ingredients including grains, nuts, flowers and herbs from community gardens.
We took a short trip to Hot Springs, Arkansas, where the kids and Chelle enjoyed some water time, but not the famous naturally thermal spring waters for which the town is named.
The 143° F springs are probably the best known part of Hot Springs, but there is much more history than many know about.
In 1832, President Andrew Jackson basically designated Hot Springs as America’s first national park, when he named it Hot Springs Reservation. When Congress officially established the National Park Service, the area became Hot Springs National Park in 1921.
In addition to the natural beauty of the area, Hot Springs was the home of organized crime from the late 1800s through the mobster golden age of the 1930s. The federal government put a stop to most of this activity in the 1960s. If you are interested in this this aspect of life in Hot Springs, you will want to check out The Gangster Museum of America.
Our visit to Hot Springs was too short. I am hopeful we can return someday.
Little Rock, Arkansas is a wonderful vacation destination. We had a limited amount of time, so we had to pick just a few spots. We ate at a couple of local restaurants, including Big Orange burgers and Izzy's. The food at both places was very good, and they had a variety of gluten free options.
On our first day, we visited the State Capitol and drove by the Arkansas Governor's mansion. We also drove by the historic Central High School, which has ties to Kansas. It was in 1957, that nine African American students were escorted by the National Guard under the order of President Dwight D. Eisenhower into a formerly all-white school following the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education. We visited the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site the next day and found it interesting and informative.
We also visited the old Arkansas Statehouse, which for most Americans is probably most recognized as the site of Governor Bill Clinton's appearance following his election as President of the United States in November 1992. As mentioned in a previous post, we also spent several hours at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum.
After visiting the capital city, we decided to venture to another well-known and historic Arkansas city -- Hot Springs.
Walt Disney World vacations are great, but they don’t always work for the schedule or the budget. Sometimes you want to get away from your home state, but stay within driving distance. Regional driving vacations are a great way to see new things, eat good food and relax.
Our family wanted to spend a few days together before school started, so we decided to check out southwest Missouri and Little Rock, Arkansas in a whirlwind 4 day trip. Our first full day started in Springfield, Missouri.
Springfield is the world headquarters of Bass Pro Shop, and it was a must-see for our family. Even if you do not hunt, fish, boat or camp, this is a phenomenal place to visit. There are numerous displays with mounted animals, live fish and other aquatic creatures, a firearms museum, the National Archery Hall of Fame and a restaurant.
A stop in the Springfield Visitors Center was a good use of time, as the gentleman was well-informed and helped us find some attractions that were not even in Springfield. He did not “home-town” the Springfield attractions. He was not negative about anything, but did give what seemed to be an honest assessment of the strengths and shortcomings of some of the area offerings. With limited time, we very much appreciated his assistance.
Our visit to Springfield was short as we had to move on to the wholesome family fun capital of the region -- Branson!
Not surprisingly, our family likes to travel. We love big trips to Walt Disney World, but we also like to go on shorter regional trips. Last August before school started, we decided to end the summer with a short trip through Springfield, Misouri, Branson, Missouri and Little Rock Arkansas. It was a great time with several highlights along the way. The photo above was taken at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock. The photo was taken in a replica of the West Wing Cabinet Room. I am sitting in the chair position reserved for the president. Over the next few days, I will share some of our memories and thoughts on our trip and hopefully a few tips for your own visit to the region.
The Knapp Family writing about travel and leisure.