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As seasons change, new opportunities are popping up in every community and region of the state. I’ve recently moved back to Northwest Arkansas and found after six years away that new hidden gems have emerged across the region in which to dine, work and play.
I’ve built a list of new places to visit in just a few months. Bentonville has been named one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, and Fayetteville is a top destination for bikers and outdoor enthusiasts. The region was recently called a Fast Company top metro area for minority business owners. A significant marketing campaign is spreading in Austin, California and across the East Coast to relocate families to Northwest Arkansas. The world is watching and ready to discover the hidden gems of Northwest Arkansas.
To meet up: Hail Fellow Well Met | Johnson
Onyx Coffee Co has expanded its unique coffee service into a retro scene where entrepreneurs, counselors and business partners find a New York-style coffee experience in the growing Johnson Main Street community.
To sip: Momentary District | Bentonville – Tower Bar, Airship Coffee, The Meteor Cafe and Bike Shop
The Momentary is a modern art museum adjacent to the 8th street market. The neighborhood around the museum, a former dairy production plant, is riddled with artistic impact and is growing to encompass a walkable space from home to play. Whether it’s coffee, Champagne, outdoor patios, or an open spot with a window view of the city, this neighborhood covers it all with chic perfection.
To play: Can Do Hardware | Gravette
It’s no longer a secret. The most fantastic spot in NWA is an unassuming hardware store with a hidden old-fashioned candy store with a secret Harry Potter room. Don’t miss the pet shop in the same part of downtown!
To shop: Beautiful Lives Boutique | Bentonville, Fayetteville, Siloam Springs
Using donated clothing to transform the lives of women and children, Beautiful Lives offers boutique-style shopping with second-hand, gently used clothing, shoes and accessories.
To learn: Hunt Family Ozark Highlands Family Nature Center | Springdale
The Hunt Nature Center is a perfect place for families to explore and learn more about Arkansas Game and Fish interests through the marksmanship classes, edible plants experiences, or walking the grounds and experiencing nature through changing seasons and waterfalls.
To freeze: Pedal Pops | Farmington
A new food truck court and hang-out spot at their home office was a perfect summer destination leading into the fall festival season.
To swim: Grinders Ferry | St. Joe
This has to be the biggest little-known secret on the Buffalo River, and I’m probably going to kick myself for sharing it. But the drive-out gravel area is set up for you to pull right up to the water’s edge for a day of floating or swimming. In addition, a small cave and high cliff offer adventure spots for your family to explore further.
To explore culture: Newberry Pacific Trends | Springdale
A cultural boutique offering classic and modern styles through the Marshallese culture. Traditional foods, accessories and dresses are offered in multiple colors and patterns.
To walk: Lake Atalanta | Rogers or Osage Park | Bentonville
Lake Atlanta is a beautiful spot nestled in the eastern part of Rogers along a dammed-up section of Prairie Creek. A fully paved trail circles the lake with boardwalks for fishing or yoga. Osage Park is a new park in Bentonville that connects art trails to Lake Bentonville Park and Thaden Airfield. Both spots are safe places to take children and use the surroundings for ecology and outdoor space interaction with nature and the environment.
To buy a gift: Hill City Popcorn | Fayetteville
While home football game weekends have their store hopping Saturday mornings, holiday gifts and catering are a busy time for this boutique snack shop.
To buy Arkansas Made products: Sleepy Hollow | Gentry
As you pull into this remote gas station, you have found the right place. This natural foods store offers Reuben sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, natural root powders, unique vegan proteins, bird feeders and plants. It’s worth a stop any time you visit the Wooden Spoon or DaySpring Outlet.
New Bites in northwest Arkansas you must try!
What about you – have you discovered a new hidden gem in your backyard? Where are you gathering this fall and winter to connect with folks and prepare for the holidays?
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