It was the middle of January and the thermometer said 60 degrees. Was Mother Nature kidding? The intense sun rays beat down as dazzling as a freshly minted copper penny. Robins made an appearance in the yellowed grass. Despite a recent bout with Crohn’s Disease and the death of his mother, DH wanted to take a ride, a ride some direction besides east or west. So we headed for the Arkansas line which is only about an hour away with the new highways in place.
We left early, Biscuit ensconced in the way back with her seat belt and doggie pad. I did the driving this day which was okay as for once I felt fairly rested. I wasn’t sure why or where we were going. We rolled down the highway reaching Ozark hills quickly. Old cedar trees were the only green we could spot. Fields were fallow and grasses were shades of saffron. Small creeks bubbled along with winter moisture. We often have to take a mini-trip in March, that time before winter ends and spring begins to escape cabin fever. Yet this day was way too early as I am sure more winter looms ahead.
So we reached the square in Bentonville right as things began to open for the day. We had never been to the Walton Museum, a tribute to the founder of Walmart, Sam Walton. He started his business life in the Ben Franklin stores, moving up quickly. Eventually he set out on his own and the rest is history. I think he was a good example of the Greatest Generation. He served his country, felt civic pride, worked hard and was a fair man. On the square his museum has a front like the old Five and Dime stores. My favorite things were the old products. Also there was a 1960 era soda fountain connected to the museum.
From there we edged into Rogers and found the Charming Charlie store. What a riot of color there as some of the spring stuff was out. Heads up as orange and navy are the colors for spring along with a splash of mint green. While I moseyed around the store, DH and Biscuit had a winter walk across the parking areas.
Then we looked up an old eatery we had not frequented for years. In fact, it had closed and relocated in our absence, but we found it. What was once a sweet little tea room decorated in shabby chic on a brick street was now located in a strip mall type affair near a big shopping mall. Ah, okay, it was inside that would be the tea room! However, right off the menu was posted on the wall like McDonald’s and you placed orders at a cash register, were given a number, and then seated yourself at a marble topped table. It got worse. You fetched your own iced tea (although they did brew pots and bring them.), gathered your own table service and sweeteners from a wooden buffet cabinet. McDonald’s influence again?
There was not an ounce of tea room ambiance and the iced tea was a choice between overwhelmingly sweet or a bit bitter, weak brew (but the brewed pot was very good), but I will say the sandwiches were first-rate. I had a Rueben and spring salad. The Crumpet had always been known for their orange rolls and that was one thing that had not changed! They were outstanding. Yeasty sweet bread, shaped like a cinnamon roll, these buns have a subtle but distinct flavor of a slightly sugary orange. Marvelous with tea! We brought two extra home with us.
Despite DH saying I was a bit of a tea snob and I know it was true, we walked out satisfied. With no real shopping needs and no true desire to flea market, we rolled right back home to carry on with January!
Most interesting sight of the day, Look at the size of this dog!