One thing’s for certain: Bentonville is on the rise. In recent years this unassuming small town has been named time and time again as one of North America’s hottest destinations, and an explosion of cultural energy of late has manifested itself right across the board, with shiny new museums, creative dining spots, and boutique shopping outlets opening up en masse. Many visitors still drop in to wallow in the traditional charm and explore the plethora of historical buildings on offer, while others arrive on a retail pilgrimage, drawn to the town by its magnetic reputation as the place where Wal-Mart was born. But, if that’s still not enough, Bentonville is also one of the best-placed jump off points for outdoorsy pursuits in the Ozarks, a place whose backcountry comes laden with lakes and shadowy caves, hiking trails and biking routes, and the trademark forests of the Arkansas hills.
This free-admission art center is one of the newest additions to Bentonville’s cultural lineup. Opened in 2011, the dramatic building is at once striking in its curious fusion of naturally sculpted shapes and unbridled modernism, while the exhibitions indoors form one of the most comprehensive collections of post-colonial art in all of North America. Back outside, visitors are invited to wander the meandering trails and walkways of the 120-acre garden, a place that’s equally alive with art and wildlife.
Slaughter Pen is one of the most comprehensive mountain biking trail systems in all of Arkansas. Stretching over 20 miles through the forested back country of Bentonville, it incorporates a number of well-designed single track sections, free riding park areas and no less than 16 individual Northshore log rides. A truly exhilarating experience for the adrenaline-loving traveler.
This historic mansion on the outskirts of Bentonville dates back to 1875 and was once the home of Confederate Colonel Samuel West Peel. Now, it’s a museum and a place of respite for visitors to the area. Inside, visitors can expect to find authentic period furnishings and decorations, while outside the manicured gardens make for a pleasant place for a stroll.
Tusk & Trotter has been accumulating awards like nobody’s business, and for good reason too. This wholesome and hearty eatery has successfully combined sophisticated dining with family friendly fun, offering a range of upscale pub grub made from local produce and an extensive list of microbrews on tap and bottled, served in their relaxed but refined gastropub. Expect lots of meat, large portions and an all-round neighborhood vibe.
Super-stylish and ultra-modern, the 21c Museum Hotel is an all-in-one boutique accommodation with an ever-present artistic vibe – modern art is everywhere, from the beautiful modern wall art hung up in the guest rooms to the bright, abstract installations ono rotation in the common spaces. Guests should expect chic furnishings and bespoke styles, from beginning to end, and a range of luxury hotel amenities that comes complete with indoor fitness area and a number of corporate meeting rooms.