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A swath of grass surrounded by unique shops and restaurants all anchored by individually crafted homes describes the popular section of Conway called The Village at Hendrix. Just off a growing downtown and adjacent to Hendrix College, The Village seamlessly fuses the amenities of modern conveniences and sustainable architecture with the community driven spirit of a time gone by. Whether you are enjoying a meal at one of the restaurants, strolling down the trails of the preserve, or visiting on a resident’s front porch, The Village encourages a relational environment.
When looking to downsize Sarah Frost and her husband found what they were looking for in The Village at Hendrix. I visit with my friend Sarah at ZAZA’s (my favorite restaurant in the Village) and asked what drew her here. “Jack and I are both Hendrix alums and Jack has worked at the college since 1977. It is near and dear to our hearts. We were married at Greene Chapel 42 years ago and Hendrix is a very special place to us. When we first found out about the new community … we knew deep down that this was where we wanted to be.”
Sarah cherishes the relationships with her neighbors. Some she knew before moving but says getting to make new friends has been “absolutely refreshing and invigorating!” And before you think that the Village is just for retired people, “We have all ages and from all around the country…New Hampshire, New York, Florida.”
All of the houses were designed with a front porch. This is a favorite concept of Sarah’s. “I love how in the evenings there are lots of neighbors out walking and sitting and enjoying each other.” The Village hosts a neighborhood book club, Easter egg hunts, tailgate parties, potlucks, and an annual Fourth of July parade.
The Village also hosts events on the green throughout the year. Antique car shows, art walks and the Silver Moon Cinema movie nights, sponsored by the Conway Parks and Rec, add to the list of community-driven activities. My favorite outing on the green is during the summer when the Arkansas Shakespeare Festival performs. The setting is lovely. You can spread a blanket with a picnic basket and enjoying a wondering evening of local theatre under the stars. I’m looking forward to this year’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor.”
The walking trails are part of 18-acres nestled on the backside of the community called the Hendrix Creek Preserve. This area is not just a spot to enjoy the beauty of nature but helps maintain water runoff preventing floods within a 500-acre watershed area. This is just one of the many ways The Village at Hendrix has planned the community with the environment and sustainability in mind.
Even though I am not a resident of The Village, it is still a big part of how I build community. Some of my favorite restaurants in town are there. We love to meet friends for beer and pizza, sushi, ice cream shakes or bistro sandwiches.
The Village at Hendrix is still growing. My friend Sarah definitely has her own wish list. “Of course, a neighborhood grocery store is always on my list of ‘must haves.’ I will never give up the dream of being able to walk to a little neighborhood grocery for staples and for specialty items.” Construction continues and will contain more retail space on the ground floor with apartments on top. Developers continue to focus on the individual details encouraging the community bonds and building a sense of place that has slipped away from our busy fast paced world.
I’ve already said that ZAZA’s is my favorite place. It’s where my community of friends gather. Whether salad, soup, wings, sandwiches or a wood-oven pizza, you’ll enjoy their dedication to food as a craft. They also have an amazing selection of local beer. And don’t forget the gelato.
Panera is a great stop for lunch or anytime you just want a lighter dinner. Everything is always so fresh and their taste combinations divine.
I love the creative spin on traditional Japanese fare that How Do You Roll? offers. FYI try the Fruitella Dessert Cones. Trust me.
Enjoy classic diner food in a very purple retro setting. Pair a basket of fries with one of their designer shakes for a great after school treat.
And more to come!!!
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