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Top Five Destinations of Little Rock


Though I have visited just one presidential library, the thought of them excites me. Around the Los Angeles area there are two that I plan to visit, one dedicated to Ronald Reagan in Simi Valley and one to Richard Nixon in Yorba Linda. I think that my excitement regarding presidential libraries can be summed up in one word: details.

When you go to a museum, most any general art/history/science museum, you get a general idea of a lot of things, and some specifics. However, when you go to a presidential library, the material focuses around the life and times of the president in question with a lot of attention given to the time served in office as president. If you want details of a time frame like 1981-1988, then the Reagan library will serve that purpose admlittlerock2irably.

I realized I liked specific history when my latest trip to the library resulted in checking out “December 1941” by Craig Shirley. Shirley compiles newspapers from all over the United States and puts together a scene for each individual day of that historic month. I haven’t started it yet (I’m finishing “The Grifters” by Jim Thompson) but I can’t wait to be put in the middle of the media of the day, kind of like now hearing about the plane crash in San Francisco, the military coup in Egypt and the continued saga of asylum seeking Edward Snowden in recent days. I want to read the differences of coverage from New York to Kansas City to Los Angeles, when communication between coasts wasn’t instantaneous.

Anyway, my point of specifics begins in regards to the first of five things I’d like to explore in the Little Rock area.

Visit the William J. Clinton Presidential Center

I guess it isn’t technically called a library, but the William J. Clinton Presidential Center definitely serves the same purpose and covers the man as well as his time in office. I’m curious to read the permanent exhibits like “The Campaign” and “Timeline” which focus on what happened during his presidency, as well as to see the replica of the Oval Office. I’m also a little curious about how the temporary exhibit of the life of Oscar de la Renta relates to Clinton.

Tour Hot Springs National Park

Looking at the things to do in Hot Springs National Park, the tour of Fordyce Bathhouse leaps out at me, though it looks like that may have to wait until later this autumn as it is going through maintenance. There are also scenic mountain roads mentioned and the 1.7 mile Hot Springs Mountain loop trail sounds like a pleasant way to pass an hour or two.

Float Buffalo National River

While Hot Springs National Park is only an hour away, to get to Buffalo National River, you have to drive at least two hours, but it is well worth the effort. To get a canoe, try Buffalo River Outfitters, which provides canoes for $50 a day + $6 per person shuttle as a day rate. They also provide guided tours if you don’t have confidence in your canoeing.

Go to Historic Arkansas Museum

I had no clue or had forgotten that the Bowie knife was also known as the Arkansas Toothpick. That’s why I look forward to the Historic Arkansas Museum and in particular, the Knife Gallery. How often have you heard the words “Knife Gallery”? I haven’t heard it before today.

Eat breakfast at Ashley’s at the Capital Hotel

Lastly, I love a good breakfast. I think Ashley’s at the Capital Hotel could rival some of the better breakfasts I’ve had. The Razorback is biscuits and gravy, with spicy sausage and there’s also chocolate French toast with bacon. Yes, that’ll do pig. That’ll do.

Any suggestions for things that I missed? Any additional recommendations for the area? Just let me know in the comments.

About Jason McClain

Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."

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