A mini-vacation…

With the garden and patio pots needing watered daily, The Hubs starting a new job, and my summer schedule, a MAJOR vacation was out of the question this summer.

And honestly, we like mini-vacations better anyway.   Four days away for us almost becomes too long.    To keep our sanity in tact and to have something to talk  about when others go on about their fabulous holidays, we set out on a road trip.

I have been fascinated by a new art museum in our area (only two hours away) in Bentonville, Arkansas.   Bentonville, yes home to Walmart…doesn’t really come to mind when one is thinking of art museum destinations.   Crystal Bridges left me pleasantly surprised (and in awe).   And Bentonville is just a great little town.

First, we stopped by the Bentonville Farmers Market.  There was some extra sort of celebration going on—something to do with Walmart—so there were a LOT of people on the square.   The farmers market was centered around the town square, definitely a throw back to an earlier time.

The original “Walmart.”

The landscaping downtown was phenomenal. (I am sure the corporate office kicks in a bit.)

There were lots of beautiful produce along with baked goods, jams, and flowers.

Some lovely bouquets.

And I loved this vendor’s display:

I think I could use those pedestals for some lovely cake displays.

Then we were off to Crystal Bridges and an amazing art experience.

Crystal Bridges:   A view of the museum from the upper entry level.

A lone tree at the entrance.

The architecture is unbelievable. This is one ceiling shot of one of the wings.

This museum goes on-and-on.

Each wing is suspended over water.

The entrance is three levels above.

Crystal Bridges is a reflection of Alice Walton’s, the benefactress, tastes.   There are some “famous” works here—a couple of O’Keeffes, some Calders,  a Rockwell, a Warhol, a Lichtenstein.   But mostly, this collection consists of some truly amazing American contemporary art.   You know I am long winded usually, but this place left me speechless.

Then it was off for some refreshments.   We headed back to downtown and started at The Pressroom.   This coffee bar/wine bar was another pleasant surprise.   We had cocktails and microbrews and they specially made a hummus plate for us that wasn’t on the menu.    They were also preparing for a wine dinner later that night.   We asked, but it was by invitation only.  🙁

We decided on Table Mesa for dinner.   (I eavesdrop a bit and at the museum I heard a woman talking about Table Mesa and that she had “the worst hamburger of her life” there.   I, however, had read some pretty outstanding reviews.    After we arrived and I read the menu, I thought, “Who goes to a Latin fusion restaurant and orders a hamburger?”     Serves her right.)

We had an outstanding experience.     We started with the “Cheap Dates”  (Medjoohl dates stuffed with gorgonzola, cream cheese & wrapped in hardwood smoked bacon).   !!!!!!!

The Cheap Date was $7 but well worth every penny.

I have to make these.

The Hubs ordered KiKi’s Beef Burrito (Ground angus beef Tex Mex style with sautéed onions, peppers, guacamole, queso fundido & roasted tomatoes topped with guajillo & poblano sauce) and I had the most delicious Butternut Squash Enchiladas (roasted squash, sauteed spinach, mixed cheeses, poblano & tequila tomatillo sauce).   These were truly wonderful and it reminded me of a dish I had at the now closed Joseph’s Table in Taos.

On our way out of town, we stopped at Kennedy Coffee.

What a great day trip.   We left our house around 8:30 a.m.   We returned about 9:30 p.m.    It was a perfect mini-vacay!    We are already planning to go back this fall when it is cooler and we can hike the Crystal Bridges’ property.

???? I don’t know. It was just atop a building in downtown.

 

Aside:    Thank goodness we got rain Saturday night!   It was only half an inch but anything helps at this point.   We are about 40 miles away from the closest wild fires in Oklahoma but on Saturday afternoon I began to get quite worried as the skies filled with smoke and we saw ash floating through the air.

I snapped this picture at 7:00 p.m. from downtown Tulsa. The picture does not do justice to the sun. It was a deep red as it shown through the smoke from the Oklahoma wild fires.

Miraculously as we sat at dinner, it started to storm—-buckets of rain.   I hope the rain made it to those most affected.

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My Favorite Reads

Eat, Pray, Love
Running with Scissors
SantaLand Diaries
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Angela's Ashes
Naked
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
My Life in France
Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen: How One Girl Risked Her Marriage, Her Job, and Her Sanity to Master the Art of Living
Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise
A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table
Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table
The Liars' Club
Code Name Verity
The Paris Wife
The Shoemaker's Wife
The Secret Book of Frida Kahlo: A Novel
Brother of the More Famous Jack
Burying the Honeysuckle Girls


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